Pregnant man is just another day in the life…

Thomas Beatie at 5 months

So I confess to some surprise that a Bend, Oregon transman is pregnant and making headlines this week. But in my mind that has already been genderbent in multiple directions my surprise may have come in some unexpected forms.

Firstly, I was surprised to see the straight-laced and coiffed bust of local Fox anchor Wayne Garcia cheerfully talking about the Bend couple without touching upon gender identity, expression and political tension. Pregnant men as fluff pieces. I love it.

Secondly, I wondered how the effects of male hormone therapy would affect the pregnancy. There is a lot we still don’t know about the long term effects of the therapy on the men themselves, let alone a fetus. His first pregnancy ended in miscarriage. Though this is not unusual in any first pregnancy, I’m sure doctors are closely monitoring his case. But then again many bio women struggle to conceive and use many more medical procedures than Mr. Beatie has. In fact he apparently had very little trouble conceiving. And the reason Beatie conceived instead of his wife was because she could not. An interesting role-reversal to be sure.

Thirdly, as a married man, father-to-be Thomas Beatie is clearly legally male. Judging by his picture he has also had top surgery and testosterone therapy at some point, even if he’s off the stuff at present. And while everyone’s experience is different, it is something special for a transitioned transman to not only be willing to engage in the most ultimately female coded activity, that is, bearing a child, but also be willing to be in the media spotlight.

But Beatie has explained the situation like this: “Wanting to have a biological child is neither a male nor female desire, but a human desire.”

Already we have heard Ethicist Margaret Somerville, founding director of the McGill Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law, say:

…”‘You’ve artificially made yourself a man. You’re not a man, you’re a woman and you’re having a baby and you’re actually having your own baby. Just because you put on a clown suit, doesn’t mean that you don’t still exist underneath.’ ”

She added: “It’s a very touchy thing, this deconstruction of our biological reality and the institutions that have existed across all kinds of societies over thousands and thousands of years to establish stability, respect and certainty. I think we’re just playing with fire.”

But before the backlash, the gender theory debates, and the personal stories start to really heat up — let me just say one thing to the happy couple.

Congratulations. Good luck. And may you be blessed with a beautiful baby in your family.

5 comments to Pregnant man is just another day in the life…

  • hubby45

    Leave it to the Oregonian to post that picture.

  • limpit

    I agree, how can the Oregonian post that picture! Why can’t they post some war photos with dead people or something… (tongue firmly planted in cheek)

  • qpdx

    Hmmm…I’d be happy to respond but I don’t even really understand the conversation here…Why shouldn’t we post a picture with a story?

  • rosekricci

    oh, I would have so LOVED it if my husband had carried at least one of our two children! Who couldn’t love a man willing to make that sort of sacrifice for wife and child.

  • PattiHaack

    It’s a beautiful picture.

    I told my mother about this story a few days back and she says “oh, like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Junior.” After I chortled a little, I said, “yup, something like that.” Mum says, “well, if Arnold can have a baby, then I think it’s okay.”

    Well, all right then. 🙂