Feature

Pregnant men: Harbinger of the apocalypse?

“Congratulations are in order,” said Rod Liddle in the London Sunday Times. Thomas Beatie, a transgender Oregon man, is having a baby. Beatie, who was born a woman, underwent a partial sex change some years ago. He grew a beard, changed his name from Tracy to Thomas, and married a woman. But it is Beatie—not his wife—who is now pregnant. Despite treatment with male hormones, Beatie kept his female reproductive organs, and conceived through artificial insemination. Beatie’s news—underscored by an appearance on Oprah in which the expectant, bearded father showed off his swelling belly—earned him the outrage of conservative talk-show hosts and the mockery of tabloid headline writers and TV pundits. “Disgusting,” said Joe Scarborough on MSNBC. “I really feel I’m going to be sick.”

Unfortunately, these are typical reactions to my situation, said Thomas Beatie himself in The Advocate. Doctors have refused to take me as a patient and have advised that my wife and I get psychological counseling. “Receptionists have laughed at us,” and my own brother has suggested our child will be “a monster.” I know my condition is confusing and challenging for our society, but I wish people would just open themselves to “the gamut of human possibility.” If we do, said Jessica Cantelon in Townhall.com, what’s next? This “freak show’’ is what comes of our society’s embrace of the “gender-neutral society” peddled to us by feminists and gay-liberation theorists. Traditional notions of “male” and “female,” we were told, were mere “social constructs” left over from our repressive past. So here we now are, living in a world in which women are sent into battle and men get pregnant. Thomas Beatie is our reward for “sacrificing basic human nature on the altar of political correctness.”

It’s not as apocalyptic as all that, said Patrick Barkham in the London Guardian. This isn’t even the first time this has happened. A female-
to-male transsexual named Matt Rice gave birth to a baby boy in 1999; so far, both father and son are doing well, and the world has not come to an end. When you think about it, said Robert Haaland in The Advocate, all the Beaties did was take advantage of “the reproductive choices that were available to them.” In that sense, how are they so different from thousands of infertile couples who might not have been able to have children a generation ago but now can, thanks to advances in medical science? The Beaties love each other and simply want a family. Surely “most Americans can understand that.”

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