Radar Online reports that transgender male Thomas Beatie is ready to give birth any day now, as he’s passed the due-date for his third child. Yes, his due date.
Thomas, born Tracy, had “reassignment surgery in 2002 but kept his female organs in the hope of one day becoming a parent.” He’s legally a man, legally married to his wife, Nancy, and is about to become a Dad… and a Mom… for the third time.
That’s right. Beatie is the father of his children because he functions as such, but technically he’s the biological mother of his children as well. He says he sees himself as his own surrogate.
Beatie isn’t bothered at all about blurring the lines of gender and reproductive norms. “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… my gender identity as male is constant,” Beatie wrote in a 2008 essay for The Advocate, while in the fifth month of his first pregnancy. While Beatie remains confident, no doubt many people question the wisdom of a trangender man carrying a child.
While I’m completely comfortable with the idea of transgender people getting reassignment surgery, it does sort of baffle me that a woman would go to such great lengths to physically become a man, fully transforming her exterior, but not her interior parts. I suppose Beatie has the best of all possible worlds, really. To those who don’t know he’s transgender, he floats through life with the ease of a man, yet retains his ability to bear children, which is to some, the true gift of womanhood.
Beatie says, “Our situation ultimately will ask everyone to embrace the gamut of human possibility and to define for themselves what is normal.” It’s hard to help but wonder how Beatie’s kids will feel as they get older about having been birthed by their Dad. (Not to mention the fact that I keep trying to imagine what labor looks like when you’ve got boy and girl parts…) As odd as the whole thing is, it does remind me of that beautiful song from Hedwig and the Angry Inch, “The Origin of Love.” In it, John Cameron Mitchell describes a time before love, when gender was much more fluid than anything we’ve come to know now, when people were paired back-to-back like “big rolling kegs.” There is something mythical about a pregnant transgendered man, to be sure. He’s beautiful to some, frightening to others. But just as little Nmachi, the white baby born to a black British couple last week, has opened people’s minds about race, so too does Thomas Beatie defy our expectations about gender and reproduction.