Thomas Beatie was the first trans man who made his pregnancy public in 2008 . An image of him naked at five months into his pregnancy appeared in the magazine Advocate alongside an article he wrote about the challenges and discriminations he has faced while trying to conceive a baby as a trans man. When his news became widely known, public responses included online comments that claimed really a “woman having a baby,” not a man. His body became the locus of conversations about the anatomy and journey of a transgender body, medical technologies, and transphobia.
Read the Advocate article here: https://www.advocate.com/news/2008/03/26/labor-love
Through your own research, read more about Thomas Beatie, media coverage, and public reaction.
Then, address the following questions in your essay about Beatie and our societal assumptions about bodies and identity:
1. What do you think of the online comments that Beatie was a woman, and not a man, having a baby? How do the comments reflect the notion of a “man” as a category of gender that is unstable and intersectional? How does the “real” body discourse affect how people view his body? Why is there such an investment in the “real” discourse narrative (i.e. “real” body, “real” man, “real” beauty, etc.)?
2. How does his pregnant body shape how he experiences his gender, as an intersectional category, differently? What are the intersecting categories that are at work here? How does his trans identity intersect with and complicate his gender and sexuality?
3. What do the readers’ responses to his story reveal about our society’s assumption of this relationship between bodies and identities?
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