I am Who I am

“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.




4 thoughts on “I am Who I am

  1. Thank you for choosing to do your blog post on this! I found it exceptionally intriguing when it was discussed in class and reading this really expanded my knowledge on the subject. I find it extremely interesting that the courts are not allowing this couple to end their marriage. Also, you pointed out how initially the media referred to Thomas as a man, and now they are referring to him as a female. Gender is something that the individual identifies with, and although we need to claim it on government issued identification and documents etc. it is not something that should be manipulated by a higher power to better fit a situation best.
    In addition, I’d like to discuss the photo you added at the end of your post. Notice how the word “man” and his name (not considered cross gender) “Thomas” are a different colour than the rest of the text. It is as if despite the stance the couple is making, which would have been directed by the photographer (with the woman cradling her husbands pregnant stomach – not one you see everyday), the cover is still discriminating against the couple.

  2. That’s really interesting, I did not even notice that. I think you could also look at it from a stand point that the magazine is supporting the fact that he is a man. By highlighting “man” and “Thomas” they are drawing a strong correlation to show the public that he is a man, not a trans man, just a man. In addition, the fact that they only wrote “The Story of One Man’s Extraordinary Pregnancy” portrays that it is not important what sex he is born with, he identifies with a male gender now and that is all that is important. I am sure inside the magazine it specifies that he is a trans man, but the most important thing generally makes the cover page therefore I think the magazine is actually supporting him.

  3. Thomas Beattie’s case was extremely influential in the realm of transgender individuals. I believe since this case was first introduced, his situation is a lot more accepted. An article posted on September 3rd, 2012 stated that Thomas has a new girlfriend now and is prepared to conceive for a fourth time if his lover cannot do so. Thomas is now accepted in society as a male. In this article, they refer to Thomas as a male by using male pronouns. For example, “Thomas is battling with the courts to get divorced from his wife Nancy.” I think it is great how this transformation of acceptance has occurred within society. It is common for society to disregard cases like this because people believe transgenders are not “real people.” For instance, in my blog post this month I spoke about Chaz Bono, where Ablow kept on referring to Bono as a female. I am very pleased to see how times may be changing for the better and now people are becoming more accepting of people other than cissexual beings. The privileges associated with beings cissexual are endless, however perhaps with cases like this being introduced, transgender will encompass the same amount of privileges as cissexuals do today. One could hope at least!

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