“I am who I am,” that’s the motto that I believe everyone should rule their lives with. After finishing this course, the strongest message that has resonated with me is that no matter your gender, race, or sexuality you are who you are and nobody should let you feel differently. Due to the fact that I am cis gender and thus receive cis privilege one would say that I have the easy life, as I am what I appear to be. In contrast to what people think, I believe because of the fact that I am cis gender and I receive all of these invisible cis privileges I am more likely to recognize the hardships that trans gender individuals have to face.
A famous case of a female to male trans man that has received a lot of media coverage is Thomas Beatie. Beatie’s claim to fame was the pregnant male. Thomas’ wife could not conceive children and luckily he still had his female organs, therefore he became inseminated and bore them three children. This story received a lot of media coverage, deeming this man a freak show, a freak of nature or just completely unnatural. As a cis gender individual I believe that this story should not be regarded as freaky, but viewed as a miracle! People spend their whole adolescence trying to avoid getting pregnant with the use of condoms, birth control and plan B. All of these techniques are avidly used by youth, but these can have adverse affects after prolonged use making women completely infertile. Beatie and his wife, Nancy faced this problem but instead of having to pay tens of thousands of dollars to higher a surrogate or doing donor implantation, Thomas was able to save the day with his female organs. This is a true case that portrays that love prevails over all regardless of your sex or gender and in this case Thomas’s sex that he was born with ended up being useful in their marriage. Thomas truly breaks the sexual script of his gender by bearing children, as he is recognized as the first pregnant man.
Thomas Beatie’s life is back in the public eye as he is now seeking a divorce from his wife, Nancy. Thomas Beatie married Nancy in Hawaii where he was deemed a man without having to show any records of procedures to legally make him a male. Currently, as a resident of America the courts do not recognize Thomas and Nancy’s union of nine years as a legal marriage, therefore will not authorize a divorce. This is not only discrimination against trans people, but against sexuality. Arizona will not allow them to get a divorce because Thomas still has female organs, deeming him a female in the states therefore labeling the couple as lesbians. I believe it is completely unfair that the courts have power over the individuals identity, which is this case is trapping both individuals in an unhappy marriage. Moreover, the court is labeling this couple as lesbians even though both Thomas and Nancy identify as straight.
What is quite interesting is that the first time Thomas was in the media he was presented as the first pregnant male, but now that he is seeking a divorce and they are not authorizing one, they are technically calling him a woman. It is important to question what has changed over the past couples years that has made the media recognize him as a different sex. Was it because the government was not involved so Thomas was allowed to be whatever gender he chose to be? Now that the government is involved is it fair for them to have power over his gender identification and sexuality?
In addition it is important to question whether Thomas’ race effected his treatment when filing for a divorce. Due to the fact that he is half Caucasian and half Filipino he is lower on the cultural hegemony. Thomas’ mixed ethnicity is seen as a minority race in America, therefore one must question if the rulings would be different if he was part of the majority and thus received white privilege.
Overall, I believe that the plethora of media coverage that Thomas has received; being on Oprah, magazines, newspapers and more has truly been beneficial to the trans community as he has made society more aware of the of the normality of trans gender. As stated on Oprah “he does not see himself as both a mother and father. ‘I see myself as a father who gave birth,’ he says. ‘Susan, Austin and Jensen call me ‘Daddy.’ And that is my name. I’m not Thomas anymore — I’m ‘Daddy.’” Thomas is a strong, outspoken man who he is a great representative of the trans community. The treatment Thomas is receiving is completely unfair and I believe he should be authorized a divorce.