Thomas Beatie – The Pregnant Man

by emilycao on March 17, 2014 - 10:35am

A few weeks ago, I posted an article discussing transgendered rights. Many people in the world have been active in the fight for those rights and one person who stood out is Thomas Beatie, also known as “The Pregnant Man”.

Born female in 1974 under the name of Tracy Lehuanani Lagondino, in Oahu, Hawaii, Thomas started undergoing male-hormone therapy in his twenties to transition to a male which allowed him to change legally his birth certificate and driver’s license to say he is a man (1). He was also legally allowed to get married as a man, which he did in 2003 with Nancy. Since Nancy was unable to carry a child, Thomas kept his female reproductive organs in the hopes of carrying his own child (2). He mentions in his book Labor of Love: The Story of One Man’s Extraordinary Pregnancy that “wanting to have a biological child is neither a male nor female desire, but a human desire” (3). When the couple decided to have Thomas pregnant, their friends and family were unsupportive and they also faced discrimination from doctors. One of them stopped treating Thomas because he felt uncomfortable working with “someone like him” (3).The couple finally decided on artificial insemination with sperm from a donor and Thomas became pregnant with triplets. Due to complications, surgical intervention resulted into the loss of all embryos and the right fallopian tube of Thomas (3). The couple tried again and Thomas was pregnant for a second time in late 2007 without any complication (1). Over the years, he gave birth to three children.

Thomas Beatie is most famous for being the first man to become pregnant, but he recently returned under the spotlight for his battle over his divorce. In March 2012, Nancy and he filed for divorce in Phoenix, Arizona. However, Judge Douglas Gerlach issued an order challenging the jurisdiction and validity of their marriage in Hawaii and Thomas’ male identity. Since Thomas gave birth using his reproductive organs, the judge questioned whether the marriage was an invalid same-sex union (2). In fact, same-sex marriage is forbidden in Arizona and same-sex marriages performed in other states is also not recognized (1). On March 28, Judge Gerlach denied request for a divorce and on April 17, an appeal was filed with the Arizona Court of Appeals. A decision is expected in 2014 and the case will further be appealed to the Supreme Court if given a negative answer. This case is the first of its kind and the outcome will be important for transgender people as it will determine whether or not transgender people can get married, stay married and be granted a divorce (2).

Thomas Beatie’s story has been an inspiration for transgender people questioning whether they can or should start a family. He created in 1997 a business, Define Normal, which are a clothing company and a social movement. It supports not only transgender but diversity in general, with the motto that “Different is normal”. He currently works as a public speaker and author and his media appearances and interviews have been inspiring for everyone. He was named for many honors, including “40 Most Influential Men in the World”, “Huffington Post Top 20 Trans Pioneer” and “6 Transgender Role Models You Can’t Ignore” (2). Recently, Thomas gave the opening speech of the 2011 Stockholm Pride festival (4).

 

Sources:

1 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2247780/Pregnant-man-trapped-legal-limbo-awaits-verdict-divorce-judge-legitimacy-Arizona-law-year-marriage-woman.html

2 http://www.definenormal.com/PregnantMan/Home_files/Thomas%20Beatie%20Media%20Kit%20and%20Bio--Spring%202014_1.pdf

3 http://www.advocate.com/news/2008/03/14/labor-love?page=0,2

4 http://www.thelocal.se/20110801/35286#.UT9fVO1eH8s

Comments

The tile of this post is what brought my attention to it, and after reading the post it did not disappoint. It seems that our judicial system is unable to keep up with the ever evolving field of science. Being a biology major from SUNY Brockport I am constantly made aware of the benefits of science on human life, and this case exemplifies this. At the same time it seems that the judicial system is slower to adapt to the shifting ways of our society as seen by Thomas Beatie’s troubles in finding a doctor to aid him in childbirth as well as his struggles with divorce. It is evident that Thomas Beatie has already been an extremely important figure in the gaining of transgendered equality. I am interested to see how this issue evolves over time. Having never before read into the issues that transgendered individuals face this post was very informative. The readability of your post made it that much more enjoyable.

The title of this article was extremely eye catching, I loved it! The title “The Pregnant Man” made me immediately want to read the article – probably because it is impossible. The summary was very attention grabbing and made me want to keep reading. It was interesting to read because it felt like gossip but was also a real and important event in Thomas Beaties life. I thought that the information in the summary was spot on and it definitely made me want to google Thomas Beatie and look into his story more on my own. Although I do not know what it would feel like to be transgendered, I understand how it feels to feel different than everyone else and to not know where you fit in. It is such an amazing story and will go down in history for his accomplishments. It is silly to think that weird or different things cannot happen in today’s day and age.

I remember hearing about this story a few years ago and being arrogant like men can’t get pregnant. I think that is what a lot of people think when they see that title “The Pregnant Man”. It is more about whom you identify as then what biology says and in this case Thomas sees himself as a man and that is all that matters. I really liked the quote “wanting to have a biological child is neither a male nor female desire, but a human desire” because it gives a spotlight to wanting a child and not the argument of is Thomas male or female. Also it is important with the divorce side of things because it goes back to the struggles of legalizing same-sex marriage in all states. The post mentions how Arizona was not granting the divorce because it did not recognize the marriage because they see it as a same sex marriage. I think this shows that your post is tackling many societal issues from transgender, same-sex marriage to divorce.
Thomas Beatie’s story does show how society has changed throughout the years. For one as is stated in the post he has received many honors and has become a public speaker for the transgender community. If society had not changed at all Thomas Beatie would have been given no chance to tell his story at all. I believe it is important to mention that changes that has been made so that they can be built on for more change in the future. There still needs to be huge changes in transgender rights but change is happening at it will be interesting to see the outcome of this case. Overall I think this post took this story and did not just stop at the idea of a pregnant man but followed to the finish and showed the other struggles of living a transgender life in our current society.

First off, the title of this article was what attracted me to this post. I had taken a gender relations course last spring of 2013 and this was a topic. Specifically, Thomas Beatie was the main point. We did not discuss as much the divorce, as we did the acceptance and difficulties of the gender change and him becoming the first pregnant man. I liked this post because it gave key points that related to the history of Thomas Beatie, without writing too much. I also enjoyed how it flowed so smoothly and transitioned from one point to another in order. It kept me intrigued in the topic. I also enjoyed learning of the difficulties that he and Nancy are facing moving forward with the divorce. This was new and interesting information to me, which makes me glad I opened this article.
I do not believe that he should have a problem facing this divorce. It is not same-sex marriage, due to his gender change. Thomas is a man, Nancy is a woman, thus making it a 'just' marriage/divorce in Arizona. His license, birth certificate and all other paperwork state that he is a man, thus, he should not have a problem. I hope that he and Nancy successfully file for divorce and can move on peacefully, as I am sure they hope for also.

I was originally drawn to this post because I read and responded to your other post-titled “Transgender People’s Problem with Doctors”. I liked that you continued with the same issue – transgendered people and their interaction with the medical field. Currently, I am studying public health and I am hoping to go into nursing with a specialization in mental health. I find this case very interesting because it so unique to the field of nursing, sociology, and the realm of public health. I found it surprising to read that Thomas faced discrimination from doctors. I think it is very interesting how the doctors are actively participating in discrimination against the transgendered population. Despite the discrimination and negativity Thomas faced it is uplifting to see that he has turned his negative experiences into an inspiration for others by becoming a public speaker and starting his own clothing line. This is great information and I would like to see you take this further by examining if his work is actually changing societies perceptions on the transgendered population.

This post is extremely interesting because it is an issue that does not gain as much attention as it really should. The social issue of Thomas being “Different”, I personally think, scares people. People are terrified of the unknown and when they hear that he did conceive a child, it baffles people. For years minorities of several different groups tried to gain rights, and it seemed that it took many decades before reaching equality of the white middle class male. Even though true equality has not been reached and still today there are minorities of color and even women trying to gain the same rights and advantages of the middle class white man, there has been progress. The transgendered group is just the next community that we have to address for gaining civil rights.
My experiences from my schooling and the courses that have taken have shown me that we have already made some progress because there are some states that allow same-sex marriages. Although it is very few states that allow it, it is more than we could say 25 years ago. I have taken a whole Sociology of Gender class that has talked about how as a society, we start categorizing by sex and gender when our babies are still in the womb. U.S by nature is a very dichotomous society; it’s either this or that. If we want to gain rights for transgender we need to shy away from the “either/or” language and shift to a “and” language.
Your post was very well detailed and I am very interested in how fast the legislature will catch up to the new laws of same-sex marriages. It’s a shame that even though the LGBT community has gained the same-sex marriage, they have to fight one more hurdle of getting a divorce as well.

Just by reading the title of this article, my attention was immediately drawn to it. This is a very interesting article and topic, and once I started reading it I couldn’t stop until it was over. Thomas Beatie is presented to be a strong person who didn’t give up on what he believed in. It must have been really hard to have to deal with discrimination just because he is different than everyone else. He had a major impact on society and their views on transgender people by his public speaking and clothing line. He earned many amazing titles and is looked up to as a role model. I think this case has helped change society’s view on transgender rights, but change needs to actually happen so that people feel more comfortable with the rights that they deserve as human beings. I am interested to see how the trial ends up going and I hope that Thomas and Nancy can move on in their lives and be happy.

This is a very interesting and great thing to talk about. This type of topic could be very touchy though considering all the attention that gays and trans-genders are receiving recently. Not to mention all the debate about gay marriages. Although I grew up in religious family where being gay is supposed to be wrong, I believe that gays and trans-genders should have all the same rights as heterosexuals. Being gay is not a choice, I believe you are born that way.
I am religious but my views on this have also been shaped by the way that I was raised. I have a gay uncle, and I have a few gay friends. My boyfriend’s sister is a lesbian who actually recently married her girlfriend and he also has a gay cousin. Just because they cannot physically make a baby together, does that make it not right for them to be together? If they love each other they should be able to be together without being questioned. Most same sex relationships are actually more stable than heterosexual relationships because they understand each other better. My mother has always taught me to treat everyone as equals, treat them as you would want to be treated. That is the golden rule that I follow in my life.

Growing up I remember hearing about "the pregnant man" its interesting to see where his life is now. Its also sad that he and his wife are getting a divorce. The judicial system and governments need to keep up with the changing times. Eventually people will look back at these issues and wont be able to believe that same sex marriage was illegal in some states. I think because this is the first case it is such a huge issue. Hopefully everything works out in the best interest for the couple and children.

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