Would it blow your mind if we told you 2018 will mark 10 years since the world first learned of Thomas Beatie, better known as “The Pregnant Man”? Because 2008 was the year the transgender Beatie made headlines for his unusual, and previously unheard of, pregnancy. It may be hard to remember just how groundbreaking the news about Beatie was at the time. Because in the decade since, there’s been an explosion in awareness of transgender issues and trans rights. Unsurprisingly, then, there have also been several more trans men who have followed in Beatie’s footsteps. These are their stories.
Thomas Beatie is one of America’s most famous transgender figures and activists. Born in 1974, he first identified as trans at age 10, and began his transition at age 23. In 2002, Beatie had gender confirmation “top” surgery (mastectomy) at age 28.
But it would be another five years before Beatie entered the public spotlight. Wanting to have children naturally, Beatie elected at the time of his gender confirmation surgery to keep his internal reproductive organs intact. And, in 2007, he became pregnant.
Headlines about “The Pregnant Man” created a cultural flash point and brought trans issues to the forefront of the public consciousness in a major way. Beatie had three children before undergoing metoidioplasty (“lower” surgery) in 2012.
Ironically, it was taking a further step in his transition that led to transgender man Kayden Coleman’s unexpected pregnancy. “To have a mastectomy you have to be off hormones for six weeks,” Coleman explained. He began having back pain and a sensation he described as feeling “like there was a pillow under my stomach but there was no pillow.” He joked to his boyfriend that he should take a pregnancy test. He did take one. It was positive.
Ten years after he first started living as a man, Coleman gave birth to his baby daughter, Azaelia. He says he plans to tell her about her unusual family dynamic when she turns 5 years old. “I never thought about getting pregnant,” Coleman said. “Because of the male hormones, I didn’t think it was a possibility. It was definitely a surprise.”
Fernando Machado’s pregnancy is unique. No, he isn’t the only transgender man to deliver a baby, nor even the first. But he and his wife, Diane Rodriguez, who is a transgender woman, are the first transgender couple to have a baby.
“Being a mother was never something I thought I would do because I am a transsexual,” Rodriguez said. But although both Machado and Rodriguez had transitioned before they met, neither had gone through with gender confirmation surgery. So they were able to conceive a child naturally. The couple had their first child in June 2016, and plan to have more.
"We know some people will criticise us, but we are blissfully happy and not ashamed," Scott said. “We want to show the world that trans-families can be healthy, loving and nurturing." The couple also are raising two older boys, the sons of Thomas’s late ex-wife.
Trystan Reese is the most recent transgender man to give birth. He and his partner, Biff Chaplow, welcomed their son Leo to the world on July 14, 2017. It’s the couple’s first biological child, although they’ve been raising Chaplow’s niece and nephew since 2011.
"I'm OK with my body being a trans body," Reese said in a video he posted on Facebook. "I'm OK being a man who has a uterus and has the capacity and capability of carrying a baby." Reese and Chaplow are obviously thrilled with their newborn son, and said they “cannot wait to see who he grows up to be.”
Chris Rehs-Dupin and his wife Amy had long planned to have children. But after several failed attempts, including expensive fertility treatments, the Ohio couple changed their tactics. Chris, who was born female, offered to carry their baby himself. “We were fortunate enough to have two uteruses,” Amy said. “So, after a lot of thought and emotion and difficulties we switched to Chris.”
The pregnancy was an emotionally confusing strain on Amy, who always wanted to carry a child, and on Chris, who simply did not identify as female at all. But when their daughter, Hayden, was born, they both new they made the right choice. “I couldn't believe we were parents,” Chris said. “We both cried, holding her in our arms. Finally, our prayers had been answered.”