Scoring brief press attention in newspaper media over the weekend (yay that they covered it, boo that it was essentially a “look at how odd this is!” story) is the fact that Thomas Beatie is the world’s first pregnant man.
Thomas is a transman, and was born as Tracey. Due to issues with the way men process hormones, it’s likely that this is the only way that a man will ever be pregnant. I have no idea how familiar people reading here will be with transgender issues, so please, take some time to read up, if you need to. The short and simple of it is that transgenderism, broadly speaking, refers to individuals who do not conform to the gender they’ve been assigned by society or their body.
Thomas’ partner is infertile, and he’s had great difficulty getting support in having a child, with many refusals from local doctors. It’s hard for me to feel confident that those refusals were on medical grounds, and not just prejudice.
Thomas’ physical situation- of having his breasts removed but having no “bottom surgery” to construct an artificial penis is relatively common among transmen, as I understand it. There’s some disagreement as to whether surgical options are adequate or not. Having that background knowledge, my reaction was probably a bit more subdued than other people’s1– it went something like “oh, I suppose it was almost a matter of time…”
Thomas is also somewhat atypical in his view of his gender- typically transmen definitely feel that they have been “trapped in the wrong body”, and tend to identify quite strictly as men. (Although they don’t tend to be hypermasculine in the same way that transwoman tend to be hyperfeminine) Thomas actually has a quite fluid view of his gender and sexuality that you’d almost have to label as genderqueer if you wanted to label it at all.
If you have some time I suggest you go through the videos, they’re quite interesting, regardless of how you feel about the issue.
1Note the cherry-picking there to try to disgust their viewers. Taking that sort of thing out of context is not very responsible reporting, but it’s not like they’re the only ones who do this sort of news…
Update: I’m informed this was on the TV news just before I posted it. Don’t worry, I’m coming back to this one- particularly the backlash from the transgender community, I just wanted to get it out there quickly.