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Pregnant Man: An Unfit Parent?

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He's made international headlines as the "pregnant man." But guest blogger Dani thinks being a dude with a baby is the least of the story.

thomas_beattie.jpg

I'm no prude. I don't care who a person sleeps with or chooses as a partner. I know first-hand how hard it is to find a mate, so I'm pretty much an "if it feels good, do it" kind of gal. So why do I find myself having to look away at the pregnancy pics of Thomas Beattie? My first response to this question is, its just creepy.

But what disturbs me more than the surrealistic image of the goatee and swollen belly combo is not only the pictures themselves, but Beattie's seemingly psychotic need for attention. My concern reaches beyond the biological and psychological flip-flopping of Beattie's gender, to what lies ahead for his unborn child.

In the name of progress for transgenders everywhere, Beattie seems to be driven by unflagging selfishness and exhibitionism. I know I am going to get grief for taking this position, gay activists are going to label me anti-gay, anti-ground breaking progress, anti-transgender. None of this is true. What am I staunchly opposed to is narcissitic parenting. Beattie seems so relentlessly focused on himself, his needs and his happiness, I wonder what is going to happen when he has to care for another human life.

I don't know anything about Beattie's true maternal calling, I only know that being a mother involves getting the attention off yourself once in a while, of thinking about the happiness and well being of someone else. Throwing himself up as a transgender flare for the world, I just don't see time in his day for that.



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17 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous June 26, 2008, 12:10 PM

How about some truth in media *gasp*. This is not a pregnant man! This is a pregnant woman - albeit a confused/gender identity crisis ladden woman.

April June 26, 2008, 12:18 PM

Why does everyone keep referring to her as a “pregnant man”? She is a woman. Yes, she may look like a man, but she still has her reproductive organs (obviously). So biologically, she is a woman.

Sappho June 26, 2008, 2:47 PM

As someone who has been a gay rights activist and who has been romantically involved with more than one transsexual person, I will not give you grief at all for what you’ve said here. I think you’re right and you’ve put your finger on something which was bothering me about this story - the exhibitionism of the Beaties. This isn’t, it seems to me, about advancing any cause except their own (and that, possibly, to the detriment of the greater good for transsexuals). It makes me very unhappy to see them behave this way. The first story in the Advocate was fine. They have, though, played up the media aspects since then and are now planning to write a book. It’s disturbing.

I note, btw, that he may be the first transsexual to have legally been declared his assigned gender to get pregnant, but he’s not the first transman to do so. Patrick Califia did this back in the ’80s and without anything like the fanfare.

Sappho June 26, 2008, 2:49 PM

>>> Why does everyone keep referring to her as a “pregnant man”? >>>

For a couple of reasons:

1) That’s how he identifies;
2) Legally, it is exactly what he is;
3) Because it’s a more sensational headline than “biological woman is pregnant”.

foxymama June 26, 2008, 2:57 PM

Maybe it’s not his fault - that pictures of his pregnant belly are all over the place. The media is perpetuating his situation. Our interest is making his situation more newsworthy and sensational. If Oprah asked me on her show - I’d do it, probably for just about any reason. I’ve had three babies and during each pregnancy enjoyed “showing myself off.” It might not be fair then to call him an exhibitionist. He’s enjoying his body, his child, this time in his life. If you think what he’s doing isn’t the greatest - don’t buy the mags or turn on the tube to watch.

Anonymous June 26, 2008, 3:02 PM

I agree; im currently pregnant and I feel that this “wo-man” should not be out there saying that she is diffrent form all the rest of us. She just looks diffrent that’s all !!!

Wolfgang E. B. June 26, 2008, 6:11 PM

Dani, the transgender community questions this whole thing just as you do. Some suggest that Mr. Beatie’s publicity has set us back in our fight for civil rights. Personally, as a transsexual man myself, I have mixed feelings about it. As someone who never wanted kids, I certainly can’t relate to his situation.

But, from what I understand, Mr. Beatie’s primary reason for going to the press with his story was to exercise some control over the way it would be portrayed. He anticipated (whether accurately or not) that the media would get a hold of it no matter what, so he wanted to break the story before someone else did.

As for his book plans—well, that’s another issue. I wish he wouldn’t do it, but that’s not my decision to make. On the other hand, it could eventually prove beneficial in our nation’s ongoing quest to erode gender stereotypes and acheive greater equality for men and women.

To those who insist on calling Mr. Beatie, “she” and “woman,” there’s a difference between male/female and man/woman. The first refer to biological sex, the second to gender. Biological sex is determined by several factors, including chromosomes, genitalia, endocrine profile, secondary sex characteristics, brain sex, etc. A transsexual is therfore intersexed (a combination of male and female). Regrdless, a person should be addressed according to his or her gender expression. In other words, if he looks like a man and goes by a male name, he’s a man and the correct pronoun is “he.” The fact that some of his anatomy is female is irrelevant to all but his doctors and wife.

T June 26, 2008, 8:32 PM


“I don’t know anything about Beattie’s true maternal calling, I only know that being a mother involves getting the attention off yourself once in a while, of thinking about the happiness and well being of someone else.”

Isn’t he going to be the father? That requires much less self-sacrifice than being the mother…
(Of course I’m kidding- a little)

Zak June 26, 2008, 11:47 PM

I think this is just sick. And yes I also think someone should take the child from them.

momof9 June 27, 2008, 7:45 AM

I am more concerned about the health of the baby. I am not a doctor but I know that hormones are generally considered bad for a developing fetus and unless that hair on “his” face is fake “he” is still taking his hormones to cause facial hair to grow. “He” said that He took hormones in order to assist “his” bodily changes so he could look/sound more male in an interview but “he” never said “he” had stopped taking them or to be fair that “he” had not stopped taking them. Judging only from appearances “he” is still taking hormones. That would concern me more than his own particular quirks as a self centered parent. I work with children and believe me if we take every child from every home where the parents think more of themselves than of the children I fear we may have to set up a lot more children’s homes. Anybody remember Demi and a similar well published pict.?

GinSnick June 28, 2008, 9:59 AM

They did state that “he” stopped taking hormones about 2 years ago on the Oprah show. My problem is that you can just go to a court of law and get changed from female to male or vice versa even though you don’t go through the actual surgery to change. All this person did was take hormones and remove her breasts … then get the government to state that she is now a he. What is this world coming to? In my opinion, this is still a female having a baby with male features. If this person has accept Jesus as “his” savior, then this person will go to heaven as a “female” and be happy about it. There won’t be any gender confusion.

gamma July 4, 2008, 9:54 AM

This comment is mainly for foxymama. I understand your sympathy for the Beattie’s, I really do and sometimes we all have to think twice about the things we read and see (especially when it comes to the media) but you or we as whole must start looking at the things we put out there now. What the Beattie’s have done has gone beyond self expression. I don’t care about the partners people choose because that is honestly up to them and really none of my business. The fact is that you have chosen this person therefore you will have to deal with the consequences. This Beattie’s situation is honestly and truely a private affair. Thomas who was born a woman has decided to have a child regardless of the hormones she has been taking for the past 10 years. The fact that this woman (and does it not bother anyone that when people really do sex changes, especially if they want to marry and have families, they remove any trace of their previous life. This women decided to keep her womb…I’m sorry but to me it sounds like she’d decided that if the man thing didn’t work she could always go back to being a women) can only be a man through injects is going to be a serious psychological and social difficulty for their daughter who is already born into a very, very public affair. If I was in their situation, I would not write a book, go on Oprah and do the rest of the public things they will be doing because I would know that I would be subjecting my daughter who doesn’t understand yet how the world works to the worst judgements in the world. They are being judge everyday and instead of leading a quiet life and enjoying their choices they are parading this birth as if it was a circus. My point is somethings should just have limits. The world is screwed up as it is, people like the Beatties are adding unnecessary confusion to the basic relationships between the human species.

Wolfgang E. B. July 4, 2008, 5:43 PM

Momof9 wrote, “unless that hair on “his” face is fake “he” is still taking his hormones to cause facial hair to grow.”

Testosterone causes three irreversible changes: Phallic growth, thickening of the vocal cords (which results in a deeper voice), and growth of facial and body hair. Discontinuing the injections will not remove those characteristics. That’s why male-to-female transsexuals have to get laser hair removal and have trouble with voice issues.

Wolfgang E. B. July 4, 2008, 6:14 PM

Gamma wrote, “I’m sorry but to me it sounds like she’d decided that if the man thing didn’t work she could always go back to being a women)”

There are many reasons why some transsexuals choose not to get certain surgeries.

1) Many insurance companies explicitly discriminate against transsexuals with a clause barring coverege for “sex change and related procedures” in their policies, so we have to pay for almost all of our medical expenses out of pocket. Some procedures are simply unaffordable.

2) For transmen who have changed their names, gender, or both on legal ID documents, getting a hysterectomy or oophorectomy covered can be difficult to impossible. Even before the ID change, many insurance companies will deny coverage because they perceive it as being related to sex change. Most doctors, however, do recommend those surgeries within 5 years of beginning testosterone treatment, because those organs shut down and can become cancerous.

3) Some transsexuals wish to retain their reproductive capacity. This was most likely Mr. Beatie’s reason for not undergoing hysterectomy and oophorectomy.

4) There are myriad personal reasons for not getting certain procedures. For example, the currently available genital surgeries for transmen are rather limited and extremely expensive. Of those who can actually afford them, most consider the cons to outweigh the pros. Others simply like having certain body parts and don’t feel that those parts, by themselves, define sex or gender. And that’s true, by any rigorous standard.

chinky July 5, 2008, 8:14 PM

It was an act of love. His/her partner is not capable of conceiving anymore. Think of it that way. I’m sure at one point in your lives you have done an unselfish act for the one you love.

Mr.S July 21, 2008, 6:35 PM

As a transman myself, I can understand why he did this but I don’t think it was right for him to post it all over the news. That’s what gives us transmen a bad name. He should have kept it all to himself. Like someone else had said, he’s not the first transman to give birth. Like he mentioned on Oprah, he is writing a book. I personally believe he went public for this to get recognition for his book. He should have just kept his trap shut and wrote his book.

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