Pregnant transman Thomas Beatie speaks on Oprah

Thomas Beattie pregnant manThomas Beatie, the pregnant man from Bend, OR, spoke on the Oprah Winfrey show yesterday. Following the initial article about the transgender pregnancy in The Advocate, Beattie and his wife didn’t do any interviews with local or national media — and now we know why. They formed an agreement with Oprah and People Magazine to control the message themselves.

Didn’t get a chance to see the show yesterday? Go to Oprah’s website for more information about the interview and for some short clips. Click here for photos and a clip from the show on Huffington Post. Beatie came across very genuine and very compelling in his interview with Oprah, who remarked a couple times on his seeming nervousness. Initially, I felt a little put off by the family’s approach to telling their story in such a celebrity-inducing fashion by going on Oprah and doing a spread on People Magazine. It seems commercial and as though they’re making money off of their story.

Oprah asked Beatie about why he chose to come forward in such a public way, and I have to respect his answer. He said that he and his wife wanted to tell their story first, rather than let other interests portray their experience for them. Going on Oprah isn’t something that appeals to me, but I can see how she brings such a personal and meaningful message to the world. I’m still a little curious about the People article, which is due for release on April 4. Mr. Beatie’s central statement on Oprah was this, “I feel it’s not a male or female desire to have a child. It’s a human need. I’m a person and I have the right to have a biological child.”

Right on.


April 5, 2008 at 2:40 am 27 comments

A transgender pregnancy

I’m going to keep following this story: a Bend transgendered man is pregnant. He and his wife are happy to conceive and detail their experience in a story published recently by the venerable Advocate.

KATU news here in Portland questions the story, supposing that it may be a hoax.

What’s going on there? I suspect that KATU is just trying to play to more than one common public response to this new situation.

Let’s assume that this isn’t the first ‘male pregnancy‘ and move on to the issue at hand: should transmen who are biologically able to conceive be able to have children?

I really can’t help but think that yes, they should. I don’t have a problem with anyone having babies as long as there is no substantial health risk involved. In the situation of Thomas Beattie, our pregnant man, it seems as though his pregnancy is safe, since he has been off testosterone for a lengthy period of time.

The ability to conceive, under one’s own chosen circumstances, seems fundamental to human agency. Our biological bodies are the very basis of our belonging to ourselves; it’s what we own. Therefore, it would seem that as a human being, conceiving another human being would be a given. Naturally, we know this boundary to be within the female – men can’t give birth. But what happens when the boundary between men and women is so completely blurred that men can have children?

This also puts into question the location of woman: can you give birth yet not be a woman?

I really don’t know. I’m concerned first of all for the agency of the unborn, and second for the absolute agency of the individual to acertain the circumstances of conception and birth. If anything, I think that this just further indicates how gender identity is a performance and is completely malleable – we decide our degree of maleness or femaleness. But, with some rare exceptions, our physical bodies carry a strong mark of particular reproductive capacity, delineating two very specific functions (I refer here to the role of sperm and ovum).

I can’t help but think that people born women have it a little easier than people born men to do the switch and yet still conceive.

What do you think?

March 28, 2008 at 4:41 am 29 comments

Why a blog on transgender issues?

All things transgender are on my mind.  When I do searches on transgender issues I don’t come up with a lot, so I’ve decided to create a center for transgender issues here on this blog. 

So many things are going on with sexuality and gender right now.  Here in America the awareness of transsexuality and transgender is increasing because of film, documentary, stories, and news about people who call themselves trans, transexual, transgender, genderless, etc.  My curiousity and interest in the struggle for acceptance of people who don’t fit into the heterosexual m/f norms is greater than ever – perhaps yours is too.

Pinning down “transgender” into a definition is impossible – it’s a word that’s used in different contexts for different reasons.  There are so many words and ways of describing gender.  It’s fluid, a spectrum, not “final” or undifferentiated and true.  I’ll try not to offend anyone or to come off as insensitive as I try to use terms in an effort to describe the issues around gender.  My intentions are good – please educate me and help me learn.

Look for news, controversial issues, interviews, reviews, and personal meditations on all things trans. 

October 19, 2006 at 1:24 am 2 comments

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