Saturday, March 29, 2008

Man Six Months Pregnant---Having his cake and eating it too?

Thomas Beatie, a transgender man of Oregon State, will deliver a daughter in July 2008. Beatie is a printing entrepreneur, a husband of ten years to a woman named Nancy, fully bearded, flat chested....and six months pregnant.

Born Tracy Lagondino, the former gay activist underwent a partial sex change where his breasts were removed, and he was given a course of male hormones. His female reproductive organs were not removed, and luckily so, since Nancy was unable to carry a child after an emergency hysterectomy.

Beatie, legally classified as a man after his sex change inseminated himself with donor sperm after being repeatedly turned away by fertility clinics. In a recent article for The Advocate, Beatie wrote:

“How does it feel to be a pregnant man? Incredible. Despite the fact that my belly is growing with a new life inside me, I am stable and confident being the man that I am. In a technical sense I see myself as my own surrogate, though my gender identity as male is constant. To Nancy, I am her husband carrying our child — I am so lucky to have such a loving, supportive wife. I will be my daughter’s father, and Nancy will be her mother. We will be a family.”

Although Beatie stopped taking the male hormones for his period to resume after eight years without menstruating, I'm curious to see (or read of) the expectant child's biological, emotional, and psychological traits since she would've been carried in a body that is used to heavily processed male hormones. I'm sure that even after stopping the hormones and resuming his period, his body still carries the remnants of the drugs. After all, he still has full facial hair. Will that affect the birth of the couple's daughter?

Also, Beatie underwent a sex change because being a man was what felt natural to him. By legally, and almost completely physically assuming the sex of a male, it's peculiar that the beauty of womanhood would be returned to in a situation where it is seems over all else, convenient. If being a man really felt natural, if the male intuition is something that Tracy Lagondino was born with, then what made her offer to impregnate herself, an act and process that is one of the most natural and organic characteristics of womanhood?

-Wayetu Moore


lex said...

It's great to see this post. I'm excited about the Coup blog being a space inclusive of and allied with the voices and experiences of transgendered people, especially when in so many spaces trans folks are treated as oddities and freaks. I think it is crucial for projects like the Coup the push back on this tendency and create a space that truly challenges gender normativity as part of the project of responding to sexism.
I am also committed (with you) to speaking with love to the trans folks, especially within the black diaspora, who I hope are part of the reading audience of the Coup.
In that spirit, I think we could sharpen our interpretation of this particular instance of trans parenthood. While presenting the stories of trans folks is something that all of us should be doing (not just people who identify as trans), I think it is important to respect underlying vision of the transgendered movement, to fundamentally challenge the gender binary when we are acting as allies. I'm so glad this post is here, and I love the image of trans birth in process, but it seems that the post still very much relies on the existence of two "natural" genders in it's final questions.

So I'd assert that the birth we are talking about here is as natural as any birth in our medicalized, racialized, gendered present moment. Influenced by drugs, threatened by prejudice, and hopefully welcomed and celebrated by as many of us as possible.

much love,

VickiLynne said...

I never grow tired of this story - awesome what a blessing.

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