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Mr. Mom
March 20, 2008 6:21 AM   Subscribe

Labor of Love : when a married couple wanted to start a family and the wife was unable to conceive or carry because of previous surgeries, her husband, who is transgendered and legally male, stopped taking his testosterone and was inseminated.
posted by FunkyHelix (118 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
What a lovely, touching story. A great way to start the morning. I wish them all the best!!
posted by pearlybob at 6:27 AM on March 20, 2008


Ain't science grand? Here's to the happy couple and their impending daughter. Of course, the kid's gonna have her mind blown once she asks the inevitable "Where did I come from?"
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:31 AM on March 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


That is literally the most amazing thing a man has ever done for his wife. This guy has worked his entire adult life to be accepted by society, his family, his wife, and himself as a man, and gave it all up (at least temporarily) to have a family with his spouse. I've always really respected the courage it takes to get through the trans-journey, but then to go BACK through it again is just...stunning.
When my partner and I were initially pregnant (same sex, both female gendered and sexed), we were afraid we'd meet up with the prejudice they faced from doctors/med offices. We didn't. I'm really sorry to hear that they had such negative experiences.
posted by pomegranate at 6:44 AM on March 20, 2008 [5 favorites]


I admit to being confused by transgenderism. I think most of us who've never had to think about our gender are. I really do make an attempt to understand it, mostly because as a bisexual, I know what it's like to face prejudice and ignorant folks who just don't get it. So as I've researched and read (mostly online) I've come to a rudimentary understanding of what it means for these individuals who are achingly unhappy in their bodies and how they hope to be whole following their transition. It's still an alien concept to me, but I've certainly developed an empathy for people in that situation.

This story blows all of what I thought I knew out of the water. And it's hard to admit that my first reaction is a hearty WTF? After all, I'm a progressive liberal queer feminist! But I'm also a woman who experienced pregnancy and childbirth and I know how powerfully Female I felt during and after those experiences. So it'd hard to reconcile that with my fragile understanding of transgenderism and this man's experience. I was under the impression that a transgendered individual at heart, simply wanted to make the body match the gender and experience life with those two things integrated, as most of us do. The fact that this man is now experiencing pregnancy and can do so while still identifying wholly as a male is just rocking my understanding of things. Especially since he says right up front that he kept his reproductive options open. Which seems to argue against the idea of integrating the physical body with the mental/spiritual gender.

I'm not trying to be combative, or offend anyone. I just don't get this.
posted by Biblio at 6:57 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow that is fairly cool... kinda like that one movie with the Govinator... I wish them the best.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 6:57 AM on March 20, 2008


Fascinating and touching. A quick Google didn't show any additional details of their story; I'd love to learn more in-depth about the process and the medical community's reactions. It seems like Thomas and his wife must absolutely blow people's minds, or just weird them out - it's so neat.
posted by sadiehawkinstein at 6:57 AM on March 20, 2008


It's so sad the kind of bigotry they experienced for trying to do what many people want to do - have a child. From medical "professionals," at that.
posted by agregoli at 7:00 AM on March 20, 2008


Bummer! Only got through the first page, when I click to continue story, I get a service unavailable notice. On the surface though, I am really touched by the gesture. Plus, the picture of a man with a pregnant belly is pretty wild.
posted by msali at 7:02 AM on March 20, 2008


It seems like Thomas and his wife must absolutely blow people's minds, or just weird them out - it's so neat.

See, this is part of what perplexes me about the situation. I thought that the general goal of the transgendered was to transition and live happily as the gender they indentify with. NOT to weird people out or blow people's minds.
posted by Biblio at 7:08 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


The house isn't the occupant.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:09 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Being a heterosexual male, that was born male, is male, and is planning on staying male, I'm feeling a bit like a HD-DVD player while reading this.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 7:10 AM on March 20, 2008 [8 favorites]


Fascinating. And strange - it really messes with any ideas of gender - a woman who became a man is pregnant while identifying as male. It's surprising that doctors treated them so badly, I understand them being a bit weirded out but what about professionalism? And the lack of support from family and friends makes me wonder what was up there. You'd think friends at least would be like-minded and supportive in such a situation.
posted by Mr Bunnsy at 7:13 AM on March 20, 2008


Biblio, who besides you is saying that blowing people's minds was a goal of this couple?
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 7:15 AM on March 20, 2008


Mr. Bunnsy- maybe their family and friends had a hard time wrapping their brains around Thomas's transition in the first place. I think if one of my sons went through transition to be a woman I would probably have to go through some serious mental gymnastics to see him as her instead. Having done so, I would probably be bewildered and confused if my now-daughter came home and said "I've impregnated my girlfriend!" My first response would honestly be "make up your mind!"
posted by Biblio at 7:18 AM on March 20, 2008


I didn't say it was their goal. I was responding to someone else saying it was "neat" that they were blowing people's minds. Which I was pretty sure wasn't their, or any other trans person's goal. Which is why this situation is messing with my understanding of gender, trans or otherwise. It's my problem, not theirs.
posted by Biblio at 7:20 AM on March 20, 2008


I thought that the general goal of the transgendered was to transition and live happily as the gender they indentify with.

I think the upshot is that you can have contradictory goals, you know? I mean, we've all been there: you want to enjoy dinner but you're trying to lose weight; you want a slick job but you want time off to do your own thing too. You compromise when you can — but the impossibility of being "slightly pregnant" is pretty much the proverbial example of a situation where there's no compromising. This guy really did have to choose.

Some people in his position would have chosen passing as top priprity. It looks like he's chosen starting a family, and made passing priority #2. It doesn't mean he doesn't want to pass — it means he wanted something else more, and found he couldn't have both.

(Gah. On preview, I'm really not trying to pile on, and I hope this doesn't turn into that. You mentioned being confused, and you sound sincere in wanting to get un-confused, so I thought the analogy might help.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:36 AM on March 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


No, I get what you're saying. He did have to choose. He just had an option that 99.9 % of men in that situation would never have. He did sort of have an advantage over biological men in that regard! And the article kind of skimps on details of what he might have gone through mentally to make that decision.
posted by Biblio at 8:01 AM on March 20, 2008


I agree - I wish there was more detail/info on this. It's fascinating and deserves and more in-depth look.
posted by agregoli at 8:04 AM on March 20, 2008


Nebulawindphone, very well put. Also, when you feel that desire to have a child and are met with obstacles, medical, social, financial, most people will do whatever it takes to push throught them. Nothing is beyond consideration. I would love to see a follow up a year from now and get his opinion of the birth and newborn phase from his unique perspective.
posted by pearlybob at 8:10 AM on March 20, 2008



I wonder if non-bio-mom will breastfeed. If not, they'll get serious crap from the breast-is-best brigade.

I also wonder what all that hormonal transitioning does to the body. Given the dangers associated with hormone therapies of various kinds, it's potentially risky to go back and forth like that and the risks will be unknown because the situation is unprecedented. The doctors could have been freaked out as much by this risk than by the gender stuff-- after all, if they are prescribing, they are vulnerable to malpractice if the person winds up with cancer and decides to sue.

Presumably, he thought this all through and was willing to take the risk, just like older moms who take fertility treatments.
posted by Maias at 8:22 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow. This is just so cool. I applaud Thomas and his wife for what they're doing. I could slap the extended family and doctors who responded to them so poorly. It was horrible of his brother to make the monster comment after the ectopic pregnancy.
posted by onhazier at 8:24 AM on March 20, 2008


I don't think he can breastfeed - didn't he have all that breast tissue removed?
posted by agregoli at 8:27 AM on March 20, 2008


[The reproductive endocrinologist] then required us to see the clinic’s psychologist to see if we were fit to bring a child into this world and consulted with the ethics board of his hospital.

This part just makes me want to slap the doc. Does he make all of his "gender appropriate" heterosexual patients with reproductive problems see a shrink to determine if they'll be fit parents?

There are truckloads of seriously messed up people in this world who are parents. This couple does not look like they'll be in that boat.
posted by rtha at 8:27 AM on March 20, 2008


I am totally happy for them. Here's to a happy and healthy birth!
posted by Catblack at 8:32 AM on March 20, 2008


I would take this interpretation with a grain of salt. It is quite possible the physician had the couple's best interest at heart. Is counseling not encouraged when one makes the decision to pursue gender reassignment? In effect, the patient is reversing a serious commitment. Yes, there are asshole docs out there (I work with a few) but the majority are serious, thoughtful individuals.
posted by rotifer at 8:38 AM on March 20, 2008


Call me a party-pooper if you will, but an article that light on details leaves me really skeptical. Has this ever been done before?
posted by aaronetc at 8:42 AM on March 20, 2008


Assuming this is all above board and there is no bullshit or misreporting involved (it's hard to tell sometimes) I can only hope that there are no complications with the pregnancy and that everyone walks away healthy and happy.

But I do have to wonder about the author's clueless co-workers who never realized that he was transgendered.

"So, where's Bob been? I haven't seen him around the office?"

"Oh, he had a kid, been out on maternity leave"

"That's great! I didn't know that Nancy was pregnant"

"She wasn't. He was."

"... Oh, ... wait, ... So uh, that wasn't a beer belly I guess, huh?"
posted by quin at 8:57 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


I commend Biblio for asking the question. For you and others confused by this choice, if you have the time I suggest checking out Dean Spade, an activist who talks about the confusing choices faced by trans folks. Spade had trouble with his own FTM counseling because he no longer wanted to be a woman, but he wasn't ready to adopt the whole "I want to be everything that is male" narrative demanded by the doctors either. Gender itself is a troubling concept -- the closer you look, the more it seems as artificial as race.

I can't find the piece I'm thinking of, which begins "I'll lie my ass off if I have to," but this might get you started:

http://www.makezine.org/mutilate.html

It begins with this quote:
“How do you know you want rhinoplasty, a nose job?” he inquires, fixing me with a penetrating stare.

“Because,” I reply, suddenly unable to raise my eyes above his brown wingtips, “I’ve always felt like a small-nosed woman trapped in a large-nosed body.”

“And how long have you felt this way?” He leans forward, sounding as if he knows the answer and needs only to hear the words.

“Oh, since I was five or six, doctor, practically all my life.”

“Then you have rhino-identity disorder,” the shoetops state flatly. My body sags in relief. “But first,” he goes on, “we want you to get letters from two psychiatrists and live as a small-nosed woman for three years...just to be sure.”
I should add that I myself don't have any experience with gender nonconformance -- I just read Spade's work and thought it was neat.
posted by jhc at 8:58 AM on March 20, 2008


It is quite possible the physician had the couple's best interest at heart.

Yeah, I don't think so:

A few months and a couple thousand dollars later, he told us that he would no longer treat us, saying he and his staff felt uncomfortable working with “someone like me.”
posted by rtha at 8:59 AM on March 20, 2008


Biblio, it might be helpful to question your assumption that there are only two sexes, and that they are mutually exclusive, i.e. a person can't be both a man and a woman at the same time.

Intersexed people (who, at 1 to 2% of the population, are more common than many people think) have morphological characteristics of both sexes; and trans people, even after hormone treatment and surgery, still have physiological characteristics of their birth sex.

Also, plenty of trans people don't identify with a binary model of gender. They may well identify as trans but have no interest in surgery, hormones, or passing as the "opposite" gender.
posted by ottereroticist at 9:08 AM on March 20, 2008


From Sunday's NYT magazine: When Girls Will Be Boys.
posted by rtha at 9:12 AM on March 20, 2008


Good for them. I was very moved by the story and the courage of the father to take on this singular experience. I hope they can find the quality prenatal care that they are entitled to.

Also: I suggest that what this couple is doing is a much better alternative than what others, who have reproductive problems, do to have a child: i.e. creating embryos that they will not use or having health-compromised quadruplets...
posted by InstantSanitizer at 9:13 AM on March 20, 2008


Boy, is THAT kid gonna need therapy...
posted by tadellin at 9:18 AM on March 20, 2008


Maybe, maybe not, tadellin. It's a unique position, to be sure, but I'm positive that not all kids of transgendered people need therapy. The child could actually be proud of their unique heritage.
posted by agregoli at 9:22 AM on March 20, 2008


Biblio - why should gender be so inflexible? It doesn't make sense to me to have one box labeled "Female", another one labeled "Male", and require that people jump from one or the other, ignoring all of the space in-between.

Gender can be fluid. Just like sexuality, it's a continuum, not a light switch, and is probably multi-dimensional too. There are powerfully feminine men and extremely masculine women. Transgendered people move themselves through force of will and hard work and medical technology from one place on that continuum to another, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're going to end up at one end or another in one of those nice neat boxes.

I'm not transgendered, but I did once fall in love with a guy who later discovered she was a girl and after a few years found myself in Thailand helping her through SRS. It seems to me that Thomas is doing what he needs to do to have the family he and his wife want, and just wants to get the help he needs to see this through. I doubt he's doing this to challenge notions of gender and identity; if those notions are broken, it's our responsibility to adjust them to fit the real world, not to abuse Thomas and Nancy for just being what and who they are. It's terrible when we hold other people responsible for not fitting into the mental models we've created for them, rather than dealing with them as human beings.

The daily level of abuse that transgendered people endure on their way from one box to the other, or for not fitting into either box, is something that really stunned me when I saw it. And I'm not innocent of it either - there were times when I was unconsciously horrible to my loved one, not because I was trying to be but because that's the way I'd been conditioned all my life to respond to gender and identity and I just didn't think about it. To answer the question posed in the article, I would say that society isn't even close to being ready to confront notions of gender identity like this, but that real positive change doesn't happen when society is ready, it happens when individuals drag society piece-by-piece, kicking and screaming, into a better world.
posted by hackwolf at 9:29 AM on March 20, 2008 [7 favorites]


On a second reading, the "abuse" comments above weren't directed at you, Biblio, they were meant to apply to society in general. My apologies for coming across as harsh to you personally when I didn't mean to.
posted by hackwolf at 9:31 AM on March 20, 2008


tadellin - you're probably right, but not for the reason you think.

I mean, I'm the product of a traditionally heterosexual relationship, and I needed therapy. In fact, almost everyone I know whose parents are straight and are or were once married to each other has been in therapy.

So yeah, their kid will probably need therapy. Because s/he has parents. That is all.
posted by rtha at 9:32 AM on March 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


Pfft. The guy already has a uterus. Let me know when a guy gets one installed.

“Does he make all of his "gender appropriate" heterosexual patients with reproductive problems see a shrink to determine if they'll be fit parents?”

Yeah, I get that. But y’know, it’s a hassle when some clerk asks me for my ID when I present a credit card. People get upset. I figure, they’re looking out for me. So this, well, it’s out of concern for the child. (And probably a bit of covering his own ass.) But it’s not like it’s a typical situation, I mean nine doctors were involved in the matter.
Of course, the actual “I feel uncomfortable working with someone like you” yeah, that’s assholery. Surgeons especially should know, it’s all just pipes.

Gender is a mess. And a confusing one socially. Even folks with solidly placed gender catch that. I exude “macho pig,” I walk like I own the joint, gesture aggressively, people just dare me to say something narrow minded and are generally completely confused when I espouse absolute tolerance. (Wha? Is he being sarcastic? Does he really have a gay friend?)
I think some folks are uncomfortable because they don’t know themselves how to define themselves or what they want.
And are worried about how they will be seen, their reputation in society, and so forth.
I don’t know that gender is an artifice (I’m at one end of an extreme apparently tho) but it certainly does have a social component. “Face” if you will.
It’s gratifying to see people like this who know exactly what they want and are willing to go to great lengths and endure hardships to achieve it. (Given the details at hand, I agree, the info is a little light).
Too many people who are “normal” have kids they don’t want and/or aren’t prepared to make the necessary sacrifices for to begin with.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:53 AM on March 20, 2008


I hear you, Smedley, but the clerk asking for your ID isn't doing it because they think you're mentally unfit to buy those groceries. She's not even doing it to protect you - or the groceries. She's doing it because it's the store's policy to cover its ass.

I think you're right about how it makes people uncomfortable because it challenges what they think they know about themselves and their perception of people. Gender stuff in general just freaks people out, and it's surprising how small an amount of gender noncomformity it takes to bring that out in most folks.

The medical community, though, should really know better.
posted by rtha at 10:09 AM on March 20, 2008


Boy, is THAT kid gonna need therapy...

Why?

A stable couple who long for a child will soon have a child. Loving parents produce, generally, happy and stable children. I mean, none of us is perfect, but I would imagine that this little girl will get a head start in the most important ways: parents who respect and love each other.

What should you say to a couple, the transgendered man of which is doing the heavy lifting of pregnancy?

Mazeltov. That's what you say. Or whatever variation you generally use for good news and good luck.
posted by jokeefe at 10:36 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think it's fantastic and tremendously brave that Thomas is that committed to having a child with Nancy that he would, essentially, undermine all that he has done to establish his identity as male (as opposed to transman) and willingly take on both the cognitive disoonance and the very real risk of violence in order to accomplish this.

I know some men who gave birth to children, but all of them did so before transitioning. Even so, it takes a lot of strength and bravery to walk through the world presenting as male, with a small person you love like no other calling you "Mommy."

The gender binary is bullshit. "Man" and "woman" are just constructs, and there are so many more genders than just those two. ("Male" and female" are sexes, not genders.) If anyone is interested in (easy and accessible, but highly valuable all the same) material to read about some maybe less familiar gender identities and understanding gender, I highly recommend a few books:
Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women and the Rest of Us by Kate Bornstein
S/He by Minnie Bruce Pratt
Butch Is a Noun by S. Bear Bergman
posted by notashroom at 11:04 AM on March 20, 2008


Really interesting. I am left wishing for more details.

Regarding doctors, anyone who frequents biology or physics blogs knows that doctor != scientist, doctor != rational and doctor != tolerant. If one does not conform to the norm, it is very hard to find a doctor with whom to establish a mutual respect relationship. If it is hard for pot smokers, I can only imagine how hard it is for someone in such a rare situation.
posted by Dr. Curare at 11:04 AM on March 20, 2008


such a heartwarming story! it's unfortunate that he had so many problems with physicians (though sadly not surprising). Kudos to them for breaking such a barrier!
posted by alohaliz at 11:04 AM on March 20, 2008


This site describes the science behind impregnating a man (in this case, a man that was born a man and is still a man). Mr. Lee carried the baby to term.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 11:07 AM on March 20, 2008


Snopes is your friend.
posted by agregoli at 11:10 AM on March 20, 2008


Yeah, just found that, agregoli. Should have looked first, posted later. My bad.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 11:11 AM on March 20, 2008


Wait.. so he's going to give birth through his penis?
...does he have a penis?

...what exactly are the anatomical details here?
posted by tehloki at 11:41 AM on March 20, 2008


I was also going to recommend Dean Spade's writings to anyone who is confused about trans people. His stuff brought a certain clarity to me that I had not been able to get from others. His point about rejecting binary gender also might help you, Biblio, with the idea that the goal of transgender people is to become completely the other gender. It is the goal for some, not for others.

Sorry for not linking to anything--I'm on a dial-up.
posted by Mavri at 11:46 AM on March 20, 2008


Wait.. so he's going to give birth through his penis?
...does he have a penis?


I'm guessing he hasn't had bottom surgery, or this whole thing would be pretty impractical.
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:55 AM on March 20, 2008


From the article:

Sterilization is not a requirement for sex reassignment, so I decided to have chest reconstruction and testosterone therapy but kept my reproductive rights.
posted by rtha at 12:05 PM on March 20, 2008


“The medical community, though, should really know better.”

Agreed. I suppose because the idea is foreign to me. I don’t get, were I a doctor, why they’re uncomfortable. Or rather, I get it cerebrally, not viscerally (hence my cheezy clerk metaphor). Personally/socially, sure, but professionally? A professional would keep that to himself. Besides which I mean you dig though people’s innards all day, blood, bile, phlegm, lymph fluid, you’re handling organs, smells foul, plus people can die under your hands, and you’re uncomfortable talking to someone who’s doing a little modification with hormones?
Yeah, my mechanic is uncomfortable working with cars using certain brands of motor oil because of the social stigma.

And yeah, men who are born men can’t have kids without some serious changes. It’s not just the plumbing, it’s some re-engineering too.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:07 PM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


...what exactly are the anatomical details here?

From what I remember from reading this before, in this case he is anatomically female, minus surgery to remove breast tissue. And from what I've read elsewhere, it's common for transmen to remove the breast tissue and take hormones to suppress their body's production of female hormones, but not have surgery to construct male genitals. It's a lot more difficult to go female->male than male->female in terms of sex reassignment surgery. It's easier to remove a penis and build a vagina than it is to do the reverse. And from what I understand, for transmen who do elect to have genital surgery, the results, while better than they used to be, are still less than satisfactory, which is why many of them don't attempt it.

On the flip side, there are also transwomen who also don't have genital surgery. But since their surgical results are much better (some doctors don't notice the difference in routine physicals), I think it's more common for transwomen to have the surgery than transmen.

Someone who knows this issue better than me might chime in on this. I just remember general trends.

Key point: He has a uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes. He's been silencing them for years with hormone therapy, but they're there. Remove the hormone therapy, and apparently they can resume ovulation and menstruation.

I wonder if non-bio-mom will breastfeed.

I don't think she can. Her body wouldn't lactate without going through childbirth. Unless of course there's something I don't know about that medical science has accomplished recently. Which is possible, given all the hormone therapy and stuff being actively developed. But I kinda doubt it.

Boy, is THAT kid gonna need therapy...

Quite possibly. But I don't think it'll be because of the family she's raised in, but rather the assumptions people make about her family and the quality of her upbringing. Which is complete bullshit, given how many straight couples are terrible parents. Just thinking of the hateful shit that the biracial kids I knew went though at a really young age, I do worry how the world will treat this kid. People can be disturbingly intolerant of differences. But the world doesn't necessarily treat any kid well, does it? A loving family to retreat to and support you is the best defense against that, too. And I expect this kid will have that.
posted by Tehanu at 12:10 PM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm curious as to what is meant in the article by "legally male".
posted by dubold at 12:18 PM on March 20, 2008


Also, I highly recommend Southern Comfort, a movie about Robert Eads' battle with cervical cancer and doctors who couldn't get past their attachment to the gender binary to help a man dying of cancer of a part they didn't want him to have. My father was one of Eads' neighbors (in the small-town sense, not the next door sense), and I got a full dose of the ignorant attitude, "It's his own damn fault. He deserves it," etc., as described in the film.
posted by notashroom at 12:22 PM on March 20, 2008


Dubold, that means he has an M indicated on his official papers (birth certificate and state ID, and possibly a passport as well). It means he is legally able to marry and divorce anyone with an F on her official papers. This requires a judge to declare him M according to his state's criteria for doing so.
posted by notashroom at 12:25 PM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's a fascinating and touching story of strength, sacrifice, and love. I hope all works out for them. My fear is that the little one is condemned - already, before birth - to a life of ridicule and deprecation by our world, that can sometimes be so intolerant of the "different".
posted by iamboris at 12:32 PM on March 20, 2008


What notashroom said. It's not something that occurs to most of us I think, but our sex is not only biologically but also legally defined. People who identify as transexual or who are born intersex have to deal with not only the social and biological implications, but also the legal implications as well. Which means, if they recognize a mismatch and choose to transition, it's not only biological and social but also a legal change. I think usually the birth certificate is changed.
posted by Tehanu at 12:33 PM on March 20, 2008


Am I... am I supposed to conduct with my penis?
posted by tehloki at 12:34 PM on March 20, 2008


But y’know, it’s a hassle when some clerk asks me for my ID when I present a credit card. People get upset. I figure, they’re looking out for me. So this, well, it’s out of concern for the child. (And probably a bit of covering his own ass.) But it’s not like it’s a typical situation, I mean nine doctors were involved in the matter. Of course, the actual “I feel uncomfortable working with someone like you” yeah, that’s assholery. Surgeons especially should know, it’s all just pipes.

It's not just a nuisance to be required to consult with psych, though -- it's a tacit inference that you may not be capable of making sound medical decisions. (To add insult to injury, it also contributes to the stigmatization of psychology as some sort of punishment.) A recommendation for counseling could've been a good thing, if framed as "this may be hard on you due to all the investment you have in your male identity -- are you seeing a counselor regularly at this point? If not, you probably should."

I read the "nine doctors" being involved as counting all of the ones who wouldn't see the pregnancy through due to discomfort with the situation?

Medical discrimination against transsexuals is sadly common. Another heartbreaking example can be found in the excellent documentary "Southern Comfort, " which is about Robert Eads, a transman who was turned away by doctors and hospitals for treatment of his ovarian cancer.
posted by desuetude at 12:39 PM on March 20, 2008


Dubold, that means he has an M indicated on his official papers (birth certificate and state ID, and possibly a passport as well).

To add to that, some states require the person in question to have bottom surgery before the anything can be changed on legal documents. This is somewhat controversial, because not every transgendered person wants to go through the full-on surgical package.

/me watches DiscoveryHealth
posted by mudpuppie at 12:44 PM on March 20, 2008


It is possible for a biological woman who has not given birth to breastfeed. It takes several months of hormone/drug therapy and lots of hours of nipple/breast stimulation to trick the breasts into producing milk. It usually isn't enough to feed a child but can be enough to transfer the good immunities and give some of the benefits and bonding of breastfeeding. They also make special devices so that the mom can breastfeed the child and suppliment with formula at the same time. The baby gets full and the breasts are stimulated to produce more milk. Mom's who are preparing for adoption go this route so I don't see why Thomas' wife can't too.
posted by pearlybob at 12:47 PM on March 20, 2008


legally i wonder if you become a male but then willingly stop taking hormones to conceive as a woman if your "heterosexual" marriage would be legal in most states. Since there's no precedent that I'm aware of its a good thing they live in Oregon. As if they lived in Oklahoma I'm sure someone would challenge the legal status of their marriage to be a total dick.

great story. maybe the Obama of the LGBT community can give speech seen by 4 million people on the implications of this topic. yeah, I know...wishful thinking.
posted by wantwit at 12:53 PM on March 20, 2008


It's important to note though, that in the case of adoption, some of the immunity benefits aren't there - the mom isn't genetically related to the child so as I understand it, the milk isn't "tailor-made" to protect the baby.
posted by agregoli at 12:54 PM on March 20, 2008


It takes several months of hormone/drug therapy and lots of hours of nipple/breast stimulation to trick the breasts into producing milk.

Huh. I learn something new everyday.
posted by Tehanu at 12:59 PM on March 20, 2008


God, it's wonderful reading the discussion here after happening across the reddit page and the asshattery there.
posted by needs more cowbell at 1:00 PM on March 20, 2008


God, it's wonderful reading the discussion here after happening across the reddit page and the asshattery there.

No kidding. Threads like this are one of the reasons I like Metafilter. It's way lower on dipshits by volume than most anywhere else. I shudder to think what the FARK thread looks like.
posted by DecemberBoy at 1:05 PM on March 20, 2008


“I read the "nine doctors" being involved as counting all of the ones who wouldn't see the pregnancy through due to discomfort with the situation?”

Well theres:
“A few months and a couple thousand dollars later, he told us that he would no longer treat us, saying he and his staff felt uncomfortable working with “someone like me.”
In total, nine different doctors have been involved. This is why it took over one year to get access to a cryogenic sperm bank to purchase anonymous donor vials...”

But also:
“When I finally got pregnant for the first time, I ended up having an ectopic pregnancy with triplets. It was a life-threatening event that required surgical intervention, resulting in the loss of all embryos and my right fallopian tube.”

So I’m reading it as a bit from column ‘A’ a bit from column ‘B’

Agreed on the actual framing of the counseling suggestion, et.al.
Just weird to see folks who can’t be professionals, especially performing at that level. Personally - well, hell, if you’ve seen my comments you get a good idea of who I am, and I’m fairly sloppy at home too. Just rough and tumble really. Professionally tho, I’m fastidious. I’m nothing like I am personally. So I couldn’t see not treating overian cancer as a professional for anything other than a medical reason. Just sounds alien to me.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:06 PM on March 20, 2008


legally i wonder if you become a male but then willingly stop taking hormones to conceive as a woman if your "heterosexual" marriage would be legal in most states. Since there's no precedent that I'm aware of its a good thing they live in Oregon.

In Oregon (and I believe in all other states), it's the letter on your state ID (i.e. your legal sex) that determines who you can marry. Your hormonal status is of no consequence.
posted by ottereroticist at 1:34 PM on March 20, 2008


Mr Bunnsy queried:
"It's surprising that doctors treated them so badly, I understand them being a bit weirded out but what about professionalism?"

I'm not surprised at all by this. I've been to a lot of docs, contrary to my own wishes in this life, and fully 2/3 of them were unprofessional in some egregious fashion. Initially, it shocked me. Now I'm surprised when I meet one who sets aside pre-conceived notions and bigotry to actually apply modern, compassionate medicine.

As to the story itself, it's an interesting testament to the embarrassment of riches offered by modern life and how we can still be left wanting, although I'm sure few others will see it that way.

Good on them for sticking to it and going through with this, I suppose, at least for the societal eye-opening aspects. I'm not 100% on board with the "bio kid at all costs!" perspective, but this is, to say the least, unique.

Definitely agree it's more likely it'll be society's expectations/reactions that send the kid to therapy than her unusual in utero story.
posted by batmonkey at 1:35 PM on March 20, 2008


it's potentially risky to go back and forth like that and the risks will be unknown because the situation is unprecedented.

i don't think it's so unprecedented to go back and forth. there have got to be men out there who have not been "official" in their procurement of testosterone--because of poverty, or failing the psych requirement for transition--and then ran out of money to get any for a time or not gotten it for whatever reason. is that class of men watched by medical professionals? likely not.

My fear is that the little one is condemned - already, before birth - to a life of ridicule and deprecation by our world, that can sometimes be so intolerant of the "different".

once the pregnancy is over, how is this family any different? how would anyone know? there is a mom and a dad, and a little girl. since when does "who has the vagina where you came out of?" come up in the course of normal conversation? unless they live in a terrifically small town and choose to stay there the rest of their lives, i cannot imagine that most people will know or even conceive that this family is any different. therefore, aside from the child learning at some point that "daddy doesn't have a penis" and "most men have penises". "daddy carried me in his tummy because mommy couldn't and now here i am" is a pretty banal story to a child. "mommy and daddy wanted me very much" is the same thing learned by "test tube babies" and "surrogate babies"--are they all doomed to condemnation by others? although there might be a point where they choose to caution the child that "where she came from" is not a story to be shared with certain people, it's not all that different from all the surrogacy stories out there.

i just think that unless there's some intimacy involved, the subject would never come up.
posted by RedEmma at 2:06 PM on March 20, 2008


Reminder: GENDER ISN'T BINARY!

It has never been binary, and it never will be binary - no matter how much our poor, simple and sex-obsessed brains wish it was.

Gender is a spectrum. Open your eyes. Look around you. Question.


Pro-tip: It helps a lot in these things if you move past the nearly automatic, subconscious reaction to constantly catagorize people in terms of whether you'd have sex with them or not.

Which seems to be where most people actually get hung up and weirded out. "Ah, cute girl! Wait, that was a GUY!? OH MY GOD DOES THAT MEAN I'M GAY!? I CAN'T BE GAY OH FUCK OH FUCK OH FUCK SO CONFUSED... Ok, ok easy now, take a breath, you know the easy answer is "I'M NOT GAY, YOU'RE JUST A DISGUSTING FREAK" which places responsibility for my confusing feelings on someone else and lets me keep on tamping those unwanted sexual thoughts deep down inside, nice and deep, deep down inside... hrm, I think I'll buy a new car. Something fast and big... maybe phallic shaped WAIT NO ARGH..."

And so on.

Gender doesn't matter at all unless you're attracted to someone and planning on having sex with them - and really, it should matter even less, there, if it's love.
posted by loquacious at 2:16 PM on March 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


My fear is that the little one is condemned - already, before birth - to a life of ridicule and deprecation by our world, that can sometimes be so intolerant of the "different".

Then fight your fear by doing everything in your power to unseat ridicule and deprecation.

My folks waited three years into their marriage to have me. They were afraid that bringing a mixed-race child into an intolerant and hostile world would do a huge disservice to that child.

Fortunately, they decided that the best way to decrease the intolerance and hostility was not to run away and hide from it, but to confront it, to live life and contribute love, and to raise a child who would have the tools to do the same.

If every parent was so afraid of having their child be despised or mocked or teased for being "different" - and if every one of those parents remembered junior high and high school - the human race would have had a much shorter history.
posted by rtha at 2:27 PM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


We've discussed the breastfeeding thing before. If a man can, surely the nonbearing woman can, as well.
posted by dilettante at 2:39 PM on March 20, 2008


Yes, that's why I said *the non-bio mom* when I mentioned breastfeeding. Mom who is having the child cannot because hir breasts were removed.
posted by Maias at 2:54 PM on March 20, 2008


This story makes me sooo saaad. Because it's people like this who I'm carrying a perfectly healthy reproductive set and big ol baby-droppin' hips for. I wanna be useful, dangit.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:55 PM on March 20, 2008


I'm not 100% on board with the "bio kid at all costs!" perspective

Me neither. Part of the reason I found this article frustratingly brief is that there is no mention of why they didn't just adopt.
posted by desuetude at 3:21 PM on March 20, 2008


Me neither. Part of the reason I found this article frustratingly brief is that there is no mention of why they didn't just adopt.

Would adopting be easier, or harder for such a couple?
posted by loquacious at 3:33 PM on March 20, 2008


why they didn't just adopt.

There could be many reasons.

Adoptive parents have to go through a background check and sign contracts that the information that they provide is the truth. If he says nothing about being transgendered and the information comes out later, then the couple could be accused of trying to deceive the state and rejected. However, if they're upfront about the information, they could face the same discrimination that they faced with the doctors helping in their pregnancy.

There are still a lot of places in the US that a gay couple cannot adopt, and while he is legally male, there are some who will always see a transgendered couple as simply two women or two men. Even if he is legally male, that probably won't stop some administrator from dragging their feet and making any adoption harder and more expensive than it needs to be.
posted by FunkyHelix at 3:39 PM on March 20, 2008


While I myself am massively interested in fostering or adopting, and will not be having bio cihldren, that decision is PERSONAL.

If you start wagging a finger at this couple for choosing to create their own spawn, and not adopt, you may as well wag a finger at anyone who could love a child, and support one, to adopt too.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:44 PM on March 20, 2008


This is beautiful. Bravo for posting this!
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 5:13 PM on March 20, 2008


Biologically gender isn't binary, but it almost is, and socially it's even more so, which is precisely the reason why people undergo transgender surgery etc: to be seen as, by themselves and others, members of the other sex. In a society with a totally fluid view of gender, would the surgery etc still be desired? Alternatively, could such a society ever arise without a tradition of successful transgender surgeries?

My view on it--and I'm more a transhumanist, in this sense--is that the work done by and on behalf of transgender people will lead to much greater understanding of the human body. As time goes by, new transgenders will be more and more indistinguishable from a person born into the relevant biological sex. Same as with any other condition or problem treated with surgery and drugs: if I get some rare form of lung cancer, I might die, or curing me might be hard and leave me with difficulties in life, but at least in my treatment something may be learned that may help the next person who has that happen to them. But this is more an emergent effect, than about decisions any individual makes. We live and love and die; the world moves on.

Advancing technology seems to me to raise the possibility of more gender binary-ization rather than less, at least among ordinary middle-class folk. Consider the consequences of living in a world where sex transformation can be undergone by an adult to the point of reproductive viability. (Assume it's not "shapeshifter tech", because that does a lot more - cures aging, cancer, obesity and dissatisfaction with one's less-than-beautiful looks, for instance.) Say it's the magic pill from one of Neil Gaiman's short story "Changes" in "Smoke and Mirrors". Or the girdle of masculinity/feminity from 1st-edition AD&D; technically a cursed magical item, but one whose many social uses always seemed obvious to me.

Anyway, what it is doesn't matter; the existence of the gender maguffinizer means that all those now intersexed, who identify with one or the other gender, can now viably choose to fully be members of that gender. This means that nobody will be intersexed (or even infertile) except for those who want to be. If the pill, or device, allows transformation along the gender spectrum--and I see no reason why it couldn't, if the process takes place over time, it could be stopped at any stage--then it becomes a social choice. As a social choice, it takes into account not just one's own desires, but the perceived desires of others. Concern with such things is a defining trait of the Western middle class specifically and humans generally and is exactly why the couple in the article are facing the prejudices they are.

My point is this: give humanity genuine sex-changing, and the middle class will use it first to "fix" the unhappy and embarrassing transgender people, and then to make its gay and lesbian children more masculine or feminine, and then to make Plain Jane more feminine and Dull Don more masculine so they can be more attractive and make more money. Perhaps that's an overly cynical view.

There might be some changes for other reasons: consider a heterosexual couple where the natural-woman is for some reason unable (or perhaps just unwilling, for financial or other reasons) to bear their child; the natural-man might change gender for the purpose. They both might switch. Consider a nation where inheritance law favors male heirs. It may be easier to switch, than to challenge the law. Given a sufficiently magical process, as in Gaiman's story, one could even switch back and forth for a whim, and the middle classes might even pick that habit up, if it becomes fashionable, or if it's really cheap and easy.

At that point, we'd be living in a "gender fluid" society, but ironically, even then individual members will be less likely to be intersexed--except for reasons of fashion--than they are here and now.

But this isn't the case here and now. Our non-fluid view of gender is not solely due to brute stupidity or long habit or fearful conservativism, it's due to the plain fact that switching is, at the very least, a difficult and years-long process. No gender maguffinizer yet exists. The easier the process becomes, the more stupid it becomes to hold a binary view of gender, but the social view will trail the technology, and the technology's very limited.

(Sexuality, on the other hand, is far more obviously fluid; I have much less hesitation in condemning rigid views of sexuality than I do of gender.)

As for the case at hand, I'd be inclined to question the wisdom of doing this, and not much due to the social issues. I don't dispute--much--their right to try, but why the hell would you choose such a course of action, given the easy, healthy, socially unproblematic available alternatives that exist? It's an oddly arrogant act, so much to force one's will over biology; but then, most progress is due to the actions of people odd and arrogant enough to do a thing first.

I have reservations about the biological effects on the developing fetus, if any. We don't know exactly how that whole thing works. The biochemical origins of transgenderism, intersex, homosexuality and other "variations"--whether that's variation within or variation from the normal human sexual spectrum depends more on one's social politics than on scientific knowledge--are still unclear. If proposed as an experiment, this course of action could clarify some of those questions a bit, over the next twenty years, but it would not have a hope of passing ethical approval as such.

But given that they propose to do it anyway ... if I knew these people, I'd suggest they go talk to researchers, rather than practitioners, of gender reassignment, gender biochemistry, etc. If they can tolerate being a research subject, which probably in this case involves keeping diaries, having various blood tests, ultrasounds, and "baring one's soul" to a doctor who isn't initially there to help you as an individual as such (and most people will find that a disturbing attitude; conversely, it will change over time as the doctors become more emotionally invested in this family as people), they might find the logistics of the pregnancy made a bit easier, at least in terms of seeing doctors who know the full story and find it fascinating rather than disturbing. Given their willingness to participate in the article linked (frankly, journalists' interest in you is no kinder than research doctors'), they might find it acceptable. It might even pay.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 5:35 PM on March 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


I have to reiterate what Red Emma said, in response to Tadellin's comment. This child is going to have


a mom


and


a dad.



That's a very conventional, down-home way of growing up for a kid, and I don't see what the problem is.
posted by Dr. Send at 6:04 PM on March 20, 2008


Whoa -- not "wagging a finger at them" for not adopting. I recognize that there could be many personal reasons why they would not adopt.

Despite the difficulty they might face as an adoptive couple, I would see adoption is a rather less drastic solution than becoming pregnant as a man.

When discussing going to extraordinary lengths to conceive a child, adoption is an option that's usually floated, especially if you're going to spend many many $ on complicated and sometimes risky medical procedures.

To sum up: I was surprised that they didn't mention why they didn't adopt. It was a very brief article. I wanted to read more.
posted by desuetude at 6:38 PM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


I suspect that "photo" is a photo-illustration. Amo9ng other things, and six-months pregnant, the, ah, pregnant person isn't going to have the testosterone to grow a beard.
posted by orthogonality at 8:05 PM on March 20, 2008


One final clarifying note I'd like to add to the discussion of gender binaries is that while gender identity/presentation often correlates with reproductive capabilities, they are not the same.
posted by soviet sleepover at 8:16 PM on March 20, 2008


Interesting article, but I wish it was longer. I have a female-to-male (FTM) friend who had a baby years ago. He and his partner at the time decided to have a kid, and for a number of reasons it made the most sense for him to carry the baby. He very much presents as male, and looked more like a guy with a really big beer belly than a "pregnant man", whatever that looks like. His obstetrician was very cool about the whole thing (although I imagine she must have dined out on that story with her ob/gyn colleagues for years). I remember him saying that whatever she said to her staff worked, because he was treated with nothing but total respect and acceptance by everyone in that office throughout his whole pregnancy and delivery.

Congrats to the happy couple!
posted by gingerbeer at 9:37 PM on March 20, 2008


the, ah, pregnant person isn't going to have the testosterone to grow a beard.

Actually, facial hair wouldn't stop growing just because he stopped the testosterone shots anymore than it stops for those transitioning in the other direction who are taking anti-androgens and estrogen.
posted by Pryde at 10:00 PM on March 20, 2008


To sum up: I was surprised that they didn't mention why they didn't adopt. It was a very brief article. I wanted to read more.

Maybe because the adoption process is long and hard and possibly they'd face even more opposition on whether they would provide a "normal" household for the kid?
posted by agregoli at 6:20 AM on March 21, 2008


aaronetc: It has been done before, most famously by Matt Rice and Patrick Califia. For those who want to read more, see see here and here.
posted by betterton at 7:48 AM on March 21, 2008


My point is this: give humanity genuine sex-changing, and the middle class will use it first to "fix" the unhappy and embarrassing transgender people, and then to make its gay and lesbian children more masculine or feminine, and then to make Plain Jane more feminine and Dull Don more masculine so they can be more attractive and make more money. Perhaps that's an overly cynical view.

You're missing the point here, in a fairly complicated way.

First off, you're assuming that phenotypic gender (tits, beard, genitals, hairline, jawline, hormones, all that stuff) is linked to sexual orientation and behavioral gender (roughly, butch vs. femme). You're assuming that the same technology that will let us make a born woman look male would let us make a gay man act straight or a swishy man act butch.

From what we know now, I don't see any reason to make that assumption. There are some fabulously queeny gay transmen out there, and some quite butch lesbian transwomen. If testosterone shots twice a month can't make a guy into John Wayne, it's hard to imagine that better surgical technique could.

More generally, you're assuming that society would turn every guy into John Wayne if it could. But I don't think that's the case either. We might try it — but I'm betting we'd discover pretty quickly that it wasn't the right thing to do, that we needed a wide range of behavioral types around to function well.

Finally, you're at least hinting that every guy would turn himself into John Wayne if he could. I don't see that as true either. Even now, with the fairly limited technology we've got, some people alter their bodies with the explicit goal of looking more androgynous — with better, safer surgery, I'm sure that if anything there would be more people gravitating towards the center of the spectrum. And beyond that, there are plenty of 'ordinary' men and women — not super-macho, not super-femme — who are happy with the way they look. If every woman, in your imagined transhumanist future, would be turning herself into a silicone-enhanced super-ladylike sex kitten, how do you explain all the women now who are happier without even makeup on?
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:05 AM on March 21, 2008 [3 favorites]


Maybe because the adoption process is long and hard and possibly they'd face even more opposition on whether they would provide a "normal" household for the kid?

Did you even read my comment? Maybe this, maybe that, we can speculate all day. I wish that the (fascinating) article itself was more in-depth about this and several other issues.
posted by desuetude at 8:35 AM on March 21, 2008


Sorry to be late to the party! I knew I had read about someone who had done this before but it took me a little google-searching to find it.

The author Patrick Califia and his (I believe former) partner Matt Rice are both female-to-male transgender people. Pat wrote a short piece about the process through which he started transitioning hormonally while at the same time his partner, who had already been on testosterone but had to stop because of side effects, was artificially inseminated and carried their child.

That said, I wish the couple in question all the best. Their kid will be just fine. Honestly, people, what constitutes a difficult childhood to you? Gay/trans parents? Please. I don't know anything about these people other than they are willing to go through a lot of struggle to have a baby, but I can extrapolate from all the queer parents I know (ie. queer couples who have had children, not children of parents who came out as gay while they were in a straight marriage) are especially doting and obsessed with being good parents because of all the societal expectations put upon them. Plus, the urban pacific northwest is generally a pretty accepting place (which is why I, too, am shocked by their difficulties with the medical establishment).
posted by Tesseractive at 8:54 AM on March 21, 2008


aeschenkarnos, it seems to me that you are conflating sex and gender in your comment. It's an easy thing to do, but inaccurate. Sex is largely binary. 98% +/- of people are born with standard-issue genitalia and reproductive equipment which allows them to accurately be described as male or female.

Gender is commonly linked with sex, but it's a cultural thing, not biological. It's not binary and never has been, despite the western cultural enforcement of belief in and adherence to a gender binary paradigm, just as sexuality isn't determined by either sex or gender, despite social sanctions promoting traditional notions of heterosexuality. There have always been those who loved, were sexually attracted to, and/or were emotionally attracted to those of their own gender or unsanctioned gender identities ("gender outlaws," in Kate Bornstein's term) and there have always been those who have chafed at or been unable to live by the gender rules -- the proscribed roles -- assigned them on the basis of their birth sex.

Sometimes these gender outlaws identify with their birth sex, sometimes not, and that identity may be simple or complex. Sometimes they're well-known as a group (eunuchs, castrati, and many Native American healers/spiritual guides, for example). Sometimes they're well known as individuals (Amelia Earhart, Virginia Woolf, David Bowie, Ru Paul, Lord Cornwallis, Calamity Jane, for example).

They've always been among us, and just because science is moving toward more effective and less detectable sex reassignment surgical and hormonal options does not mean that the gender binary is growing more pronounced, only that those who most fully identify with a standard-issue biological sex other than their assigned-at-birth sex (transsexuals) will be better able to fully transition. It means no such thing for masculine women, feminine men, genderqueers, and transgendered folk.

Wikipedia isn't an authoritative source on anything but itself, but on the whole, it contains a lot of good information on the subject of gender studies, mostly linked on their list of transgender-related topics, if you're interested in more information.
posted by notashroom at 9:02 AM on March 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


Dunno where I stand on the binary nature of all this. I’m certainly at one of the poles. And I’m sure some folks are happy with how they are, wherever they might sit as well.

Seems to me the hang up is (as loquacious said) where it matters. And indeed, it doesn’t matter unless you’re attracted to someone and looking to have sex, and of course, love conquers all.

Some folks are though, really hung up about where they are and what they want to be or what they percieve to be ideal.
Attraction for me occurs on a fundimental level. Oh, I appreciate the outward curves and all. But even then, ok, some guy has an athletic body.
I can admire that without having any sexual attraction much as I can admire the curves of a sports car or some such.
Y’know, my dick would be hard from riding the bus in the morning when I was a kid. Doesn’t mean I’m sexually attracted to buses.
But some folks though get really freaked out about it.
Hell, fear must cause about 99% of the world’s problems in the first place.

There’s perception and there’s self-perception. And a lot of folks really rely on that external feedback for their self-worth.
That right there is where stuff seems to go awry in the first place.

Oh, I’m not saying it’s not actually real, as in real pressure. I fought my way all through grade school, high school, the military, all that, pretty much because I’m not into conforming. So, it’s real pain. I can relate.

But at some point either you ante up and do what you truly need to or fold and try to be the person you think others think you should be and be miserable the rest of your life.
(I’ve got scars, but I recommend the former).

These folks took those hits plus more. Admirable. Because whatever the case may be on the nature of gender, folks are always going to want you to live your life their way - whatever you do or to whatever degree.
You either do it your way or theirs. Everything else is negotiation.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:20 PM on March 21, 2008


Good for them, I wish them all the best.
posted by Daddy-O at 4:32 PM on March 21, 2008


Transparent, the movie, should any one want more information on other FTMs as parents.
posted by gingerbeer at 6:24 PM on March 21, 2008


1. Whoah. This is a mind-bender. Fairly certain that photo's in the dictionary next to "cognitive dissonance".

2. This story bothers me, in the same way that infertile couples who load up on fertility drugs and have nonuplets bother me. There's an underlying paradigm here that privileges the individual in the extreme. i.e. an assumption that what matters most (or solely) is the desire of an individual (or couple) to reproduce, by any means necessary. But there are other considerations that seem relevant and significant to the situation that I wish the article had addressed:

a) What are the medical risks (if any), to the mother or the child, of the reversal of hormone therapy?

b) How did the possibility of adoption enter into their thinking, their dialogue, and their decisions?

Is this brave? Is this heartwarming? Maybe. But I don't have enough to go on. Maybe it's just narcissism.
posted by flotson at 8:34 PM on March 21, 2008


The Drudge Report is running this story right now with the headline "OREGON MAN CLAIMS HE'S PREGNANT..."
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 2:43 PM on March 25, 2008


Claims he's pregnant? Why didn't they do some real reporting and find out for sure? Wouldn't be that difficult.
posted by agregoli at 6:20 AM on March 26, 2008


FOX12 headline Drudge links to: "Oregon Man Says He's Pregnant. Transgendered Man Writes In 'The Advocate'"

Drudge: "Oregon 'Man' Claims He's Pregnant."
posted by Tehanu at 7:39 AM on March 26, 2008


Claims he's pregnant? Why didn't they do some real reporting and find out for sure? Wouldn't be that difficult.

Why, so that he can publish the SHOCKING REVELATION of the birth-gender of the pregnant individual. Ergmphmph.
posted by desuetude at 7:40 AM on March 26, 2008


Also claims and 'man' play on the usual perception in the media that transgendered people and their behavior are freakish and untrustworthy. He says he's a man, and pregnant! It makes the story seem more strange and shocking rather than just unusual. Tabloid tactics.
posted by Tehanu at 8:20 AM on March 26, 2008


More from the katu.com site (ABC affiliate):

KATU News took a trip to Bend to see if we could find out whether the story is true or not.

Beatie and his wife, who live in an upscale neighborhood and own a business, were nowhere to be found. Neighbors said they have not seen them for days and one person said a TV crew, possibly from a tabloid, had been following their every move.

posted by peep at 9:37 AM on March 26, 2008


Argh. That story is terrible journalism, peep. Their angle without any real information is that it's all a hoax, and their concluding remark plants the idea that the couple is playing an elaborate con to profit from a deal with a tabloid.

The hilarious part is their transparent attempt to contrast KATU's efforts and standards to a tabloid's. The obviously morally superior and infinitely more trustworthy KATU News has been ON THE SCENE... or at least the neighborhood, to bring you the REAL STORY... or at least all the information they could gather from ACTUAL INTERVIEWS... with the neighbors and random passerby who wanted to be on tv.
posted by Tehanu at 10:07 AM on March 26, 2008


Orange-painted-red-like-an-apple is full of orange juice. Film at 11.

Look, I'm not trying to be some sort of crypto-fascist sex focused lunatic whatever, but gender is binary. No hatred or condescencion or anything negative is directed at anybody out their trying to live their life. It just is.

It's XX or XY. If you have anything else, you've slipped a bit and the data's a bit garbled. No problem, we can work on that stuff.
posted by codswallop at 10:53 PM on March 26, 2008


...or XXY or XYY or you're an idiot who doesn't know the difference between sex and gender.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:26 PM on March 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


codswallop: It's XX or XY. If you have anything else, you've slipped a bit and the data's a bit garbled. No problem, we can work on that stuff.

Wow, I didn't know we could remove chromosomes now. SCIENCE! Is there anything it can't do?
posted by peep at 8:08 AM on March 27, 2008


Orange-painted-red-like-an-apple is full of orange juice. Film at 11.

What you've described is drag. Orange-painted-red-like-an-apple would be a woman dressing as a man, playing a part. That happens. But she doesn't identify as male. She's got a male persona on stage, but when the show's over, and she takes off the outfit, she's still a woman. FTM would be more accurately described as an orange that realizes it's really an apple and decides to appear and live as one. The orange becomes an apple in way that's much more involved than a coat of paint.

It's XX or XY. If you have anything else, you've slipped a bit and the data's a bit garbled. No problem, we can work on that stuff.

Yes, let's work on that. For starters, what your chromosomes determine is biological sex, not gender. Gender is more complicated. Some societies have more than 2 categories of gender. And even biological sex, while mostly binary, is not entirely so. There are people who are born intersex. They're estimated to be about 1% of the general population. There are also people whose chromosomes don't match their morphology due to hormonal issues.

XY usually, but not always, means someone's sex is male. There are significant edge cases, but that's the general trend. What it means for someone's gender to be male is based on more than biology. It's cultural, social, and legal, too.
posted by Tehanu at 8:27 AM on March 27, 2008


Look, I'm not trying to be some sort of crypto-fascist sex focused lunatic whatever, but gender is binary. No hatred or condescencion or anything negative is directed at anybody out their trying to live their life. It just is.

Setting aside the issue of transsexuals for the moment, and even setting aside definitions of gender vs. sex, it's a little pat to characterize gender as binary in someone with, say, 5-alpha-reductase deficiency.
posted by desuetude at 9:25 AM on March 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


hir

Sorry, that's not a word.
posted by oaf at 12:17 PM on March 28, 2008


Dude. He's going to be on Oprah. Oprah. Thursday the 3rd. Her site is laden with pop-ups so here's the shitty copy from the print version:

First TV Interview: The Pregnant Man (TV-14)

A happily married couple, living in a normal neighborhood in America, is expecting their first child. But there's a big twist…the husband is the one who's pregnant! How is this possible? Thomas and his wife are here in their first television interview! The couple reveals the details of their pasts, their relationship and their incredible pregnancy. Then, watch as our cameras capture the ultrasound and get an inside look at the couple's plans for the nursery. An Oprah Show and People Magazine exclusive.

posted by peep at 10:22 PM on March 31, 2008


BBC News.
posted by Tehanu at 3:09 PM on April 4, 2008


The BBC article is okay, but did you see earlier "Newsbeat"link on the sidebar? Man claims he is 'pregnant'. Ick.
posted by desuetude at 9:32 AM on April 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


No, I didn't see that. It sounds like they based that on the KATU story.
posted by Tehanu at 10:57 PM on April 5, 2008


FOX Red Eye Hosts Trash Pregnant Trans Man Thomas Beatie
"As well as 'the little Ewok she's gonna crap out.'

Greg Gutfeld and the folks at Red Eye make MSNBC's Morning Joe hosts look like saints. Such nice people.

One of them suggests 'it' (meaning Thomas Beatie) should kill itself. Maybe they should just put Beatie in an empty lot and stone 'it' to death."
Fox video clip.
posted by ericb at 5:33 PM on April 10, 2008


How is Ewok an insult? Ewoks are a deceptively cute race of teddy bears with unstoppable tree trunk technology. Now a Gungan, that would be insulting.

In all seriousness, I find that my outlook on life and the world in general is much improved by avoiding U.S. talk shows and "news" at all costs. It's seriously a very fucked up lens for learning about the world, with such a high tolerance for this kind of open intolerance without any real discussion. I could get all outraged, which such comments call for, but then again the site for this show appears on a page where someone's claiming to channel Anna Nicole Smith and that you can tell if a woman wants a one night stand by her eyes. Hey, and something about porn camp. It's typical bullshit from FOXNEWS and it's surrounded by similar stuff. No one on the program knows anything about the specifics or transgender issues, and they're mostly just sitting around taking cheap potshots based on an Oprah clip. It's beyond stupid.
posted by Tehanu at 6:46 PM on April 10, 2008


And by "news" I mean tv news shows.
posted by Tehanu at 6:48 PM on April 10, 2008


Greg Gutfeld and the folks at Red Eye make MSNBC's Morning Joe hosts look like saints. Such nice people.
posted by ericb at 5:33 PM on April 10 [+] [!]

Well, the guy was editor-in-chief of Maxim and Stuff. I have to say, my expectations aren't too high for his behavior.

Having said that, yeah, he basically doesn't add anything to the common good. If I never hear anything from him again, that'd be ok with me. And good luck to the happy couple.

Boy, is THAT kid gonna need therapy...
posted by tadellin at 9:18 AM on March 20

I wonder if people ever said that about me. Because I sure as hell did.
posted by Nabubrush at 7:04 PM on April 10, 2008


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