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The Brave New World Of Gender Nonconformity: Pregnant Men

Illustration for article titled The Brave New World Of Gender Nonconformity: Pregnant Men

The concept of gender in mainstream culture is becoming less conservative by the day. Of course it's not like being at Smith, but when Benny Ninja can vogue his little butt off on a graffiti-ed stage with a bunch of drag queens during prime time and no one bats an eyelash, you know things have come pretty far since Leave it to Beaver. One of the last truly gendered events is pregnancy — unless you're Thomas Beatie. Thomas is a man, and he's knocked up. Well more specifically, Thomas is biologically a woman, but he decided to go through gender reassignment. Getting down to the nuts (heh) and bolts of it, Thomas took testosterone and had his breasts removed, but he kept the vagina. His partner, Nancy, is unable to bear children, and because the pair really wanted a biological baby, Thomas went off his bi-monthly testosterone injections and after a few harrowing attempts, is now expecting a baby girl in July.

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But this joyous occasion did not come without a price. In a personal essay in the Advocate, Thomas writes about all of the prejudice he faced when trying to find adequate medical care. One doctor, "after a $300 consultation, reluctantly performed my initial checkups. He then required us to see the clinic's psychologist to see if we were fit to bring a child into this world and consulted with the ethics board of his hospital. A few months and a couple thousand dollars later, he told us that he would no longer treat us, saying he and his staff felt uncomfortable working with 'someone like me.'" Even Thomas's own brother was unkind, telling Thomas after his first pregnancy turned out ectopic, "It's a good thing that happened. Who knows what kind of monster it would have been."

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Thomas isn't the only transmale facing difficulties. In last Sunday's New York Times Magazine, there was a story about the opposition transmen are facing at women's colleges. The piece profiled Rey, a college freshman who started his university career at Barnard, only to transfer to Columbia because of the number of issues he faced. According to writer Alissa Quart, Rey is not alone in his alienation: "Many trans students feel themselves to be excluded or isolated at women's schools and at coed colleges. Some talk of being razzed or insulted by fellow students." But Quart also discusses the question of how colleges meant for women are supposed to serve people who no longer identify as women in the first place.

Will society ever be able to accommodate all the facets of the gender spectrum? Or will cases like Thomas's and Rey's always be a struggle for acceptance and personal freedom?

Labor Of Love [The Advocate]

When Girls Will Be Boys [New York Times]

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DISCUSSION

uplifturself-old
uplifturself

I would like to correct some statements made before on the thread. She is not a He!

She was born not unlike any female, except in the mind. No disrespect, but saying that a man who was a woman is having a baby, is not unlike a lesbian couple having a child the same way. I just really had to let that be known... because this is almost a joke to me. It kind of shows the instability of our culture.

You have a normal, pretty, girl.

She is learning and integrating herself with society, and really for the first time becoming happy acting like a male. Now, some people need religion, some need science, and others need the opposite of what they have. In this case it troubled me that the title really read: "Man becomes pregnant".

I beg to differ, this is simply a female having a child, and the female happens to have, not a dissorder, but a chemical imbalence that she manifested from her mind into physical realy. But, while not being able to rid herself of her gender she still had to option of having a child.

We are being critical hum-bugs to say, "are they going to tell the little girl her momma still loves her but her dad gave birth to her".

Breast feeding possibilities have been eliminated, as with all other normalities. I hope the next months are not filled with negativity towards this event. I do not agree with the circumstances, but why doesn't the world spend their time on something substantial such as why the entire just got feet of snow and it is un-ushualy warm during periods (waves) of the summer.

There is a lot going on in this world and millions of people are excited/ angry over something like this. PLEASE PEOPLE!!! The media uses stuff like this to distract the public from REALITY.... THERE IS A PRESIDENTIAL RACE GOING ON AND TENS OF MILLIONS OF AMERICANS ADDICTED TO METH. WAKE UP AND STOP WORRYING ABOUT THIS B.S !

Seriously, this GIRL can have a baby or not and the most it will ever do is make some people angry and critical of another way that they do not understand.

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