Meet Thomas Beatie, 34, born in Hawaii and currently residing with his wife, Nancy, in Oregon. The happy couple wed in 2002 and as you’ve no doubt heard by now, they are attracting worldwide attention thanks to the tiny little fact that Thomas, not Nancy, is carrying their first child.
In the April 8th issue of The Advocate, the leading GLBT magazine, he wrote an article entitled, Labor of Love: Is society ready for this pregnant husband? , in which he discusses his decision to carry his daughter and the difficulties which he and his wife now face.
During his sex-change surgery, Thomas decided to only have his breasts removed– keeping his reproductive organs intact. Therefore, since Nancy, his wife, lost her womb to a disease, it was up to either Thomas or a stranger surrogate to provide the couple with offspring.
The first few doctors they went to were horribly unsupportive. One nearly insisted that he shave off his facial hair and go to counseling.
After all of that, the first pregnancy nearly cost him his life and did cost him the embryos.
It also revealed the close-mindedness of his family—his brother told Thomas :
“It’s a good thing that happened. Who knows what kind of monster it would have been.”
The second attempt was successful, as the media blitz reveals, and the couple are expecting their daughter this summer.
Thomas and Nancy appeared on Oprah this past week and discussed their story. Thomas responded to the acusations that his choice to carry this baby makes him less of a man, stating,
“I have a very stable male gender identity. I see pregnancy as a process, and it doesn’t define who I am. It’s not a male or female desire to want to have a child…it’s a human desire […] I’m a person, and I have the right to have my own biological child.”
Pregnancy is already highly politicized to the abortion controversy. Pro-Choice vs. Pro-Life is debated in colleges, churches, and courthouses across the country.
Thomas Beaties’ unique case adds an entire new dimension to such discourse.
The Pro-Life camp, often Christians, argues that life begins at conception—leading them to oppose not only abortions but also embryonic stem cell research on the basis that an embryo is a human life.
I wonder how many within this camp truly believe that the fetus inside of Thomas Beattie deserves an equal right to life. Christian literature and evangelists often characterize Transsexuals and Homosexuals as “deviants” and argue that their “urges” can and must be fought against.
Across the way, the Pro-Choice camp argues that a woman should have complete control of her fertility and pregnancy.
I similarly am curious how many fellow liberal-progressives are willing to extend this right to a transsexual man such as Thomas Beatie. The Huffington Post’s story on Thomas’ Oprah interview has attracted many hateful comments. Surprising, given that the HP is a super liberal/progressive online news source, yet perhaps not unexpected. As the fiasco of the Gay Marriage Amendment over the past few years has revealed, even the most progressive people often balk in the face of the GLBT movement.
What do you think? Is Thomas Beatie a delusional lesbian, an awe-inspiring transsexual man, or simply an expectant father in every literal sense of the word?
For a great series of blogs on this issue check out RecoveringStraightGirl.com
Also, YouTube feature Thomas’ ultrasound for Oprah.