You may have heard of him: His name is Thomas Beatie.
And he is pregnant.
Born a female, Beatie underwent sexual reassignment surgery and hormonal therapy to legally become a male, but left his female genitalia intact. Last year, he and his wife Nancy (a biological female who had a hysterectomy years before) decided they wanted a child. Now, the bearded Beatie is pregnant with a baby girl and is due in July.
“How does it feel to be a pregnant man? Incredible,” wrote Beatie in his first-person article “Labor of Love.”
“Despite the fact my belly is growing with a new life inside me, I am stable and confident being the man that I am. I will be my daughter’s father, and Nancy will be her mother. We will be a family,” he wrote.
Ugh . this scenario is disturbing in so many ways. Where to even begin?
For the record, I truly sympathize for anyone who is or has struggled to define their gender or sexuality. Finding one’s place in this society of confusing ideals and expectations is difficult enough as it is.
That said, Beatie made the decision long ago to legally become a male. Isn’t it obvious to people that becoming a male means sacrificing the biological advantages of being female, and vice versa? It should be.
The fact is by becoming a male, Beatie and his wife have been afforded more than 1,100 federal rights and received considerable benefits only available to traditional couples and not to same-sex marriages, domestic partnerships or civil unions.
But now, Beatie wants to reap the benefits of womanhood by bearing a child. By jumping back and forth between genders, Beatie is essentially exploiting the characteristics of both genders that best serve him.
But my loathing for Beatie’s decision goes much deeper than mere legalities.
What health risks do being born to a transgender man pose to a baby? Sure, Beatie is receiving medical assistance with his pregnancy, but finding reliable help under his circumstances is difficult even according to him.
Beatie underwent bimonthly testosterone injections that helped him grow a beard and prevented him from having a menstrual cycle for more than eight years. He claims his body regulated itself four months after stopping the treatment, but Beatie and his wife were unable to find a doctor to inseminate him. What did they do instead? They did it on their own at home using cryogenic sperm purchased from a sperm bank.
Is a body that has been caught in a hormonal tug-of-war for the last decade really an ideal catalyst to bear a child? Doctors speculate it will work out fine, but no one really knows for sure.
As Beatie asserted to Oprah Winfrey last April, “I have a right to have a child.”
Sheesh, I have the right to overdose on heroine, but does that make it a healthy decision?
Beatie is so self-absorbed with his own desires that he fails to see the moral implications they will have on others around him, most importantly his baby. How anyone could bring a child into this world under such bizarre circumstances is just plain sick. Why force a child to inherit the overwhelming burden of being born to a transgender man? Why hand down your identity crisis to your offspring, knowing it will subject them to such a high level of ridicule and prejudice? Like I said, life is already hard enough.
My utter disgust toward Beatie’s decision wouldn’t be so vehement if not for the fact that he could simply adopt. If Beatie feels he can provide such a nurturing environment in which to raise a child, why not give it to one of the millions of orphans who desperately need the environment?
Bear in mind that I am not criticizing Beatie from a religious perspective, but rather from a humanitarian one.
Sadly, however, I think nothing will prevent Beatie from going through with his pregnancy, since he proudly maintains, “Our situation ultimately will ask everyone to embrace the gamut of human possibility and to define for themselves what is normal.”
Some possibilities aren’t meant to be realized.
Patrick Barbieri is a journalism junior and a Mustang Daily reporter.