Thomas Beatie, a transgender man of
Oregon, gets pregnant by artificial insemination. He has decided to carry
his child as he has said, "Wanting to have a biological child is neither a
male nor female desire, but a human desire." (File
March 31 (Xinhuanet) -- April 1 -- April Fool's Day -- is the date of a
scheduled news conference by American Thomas Beatie, the woman who became a man
who became pregnant. Over the years Beatie has had various surgeries and
hormone therapies, but retained his ovaries and uterus.
Gender reassignment surgery has been around for
decades, but what's drawn international interest (and headlines like "He's
Having Their Baby") is his claim, published in the gay rights magazine The
Advocate, that he is five months pregnant. Beatie and his wife Nancy are
expecting their first child on July 3, though they have given few other details.
The inescapable biological fact is that men cannot
become pregnant. A few males in the animal kingdom do in a sense become pregnant
(such as seahorses, which carry eggs in their pouch once they are deposited
there by a female, then fertilize them and carry them to term).
Humans are another matter entirely; if Beatie has
retained his babymaking equipment, then he is in fact still biologically a
woman, not a man.
This is not the first time that a man has claimed to
have been pregnant. Several years ago, a man named Lee Mingwei was touted on the
website MalePregnancy.com as the first man to actually become pregnant. Visitors
to the site can peruse Lee's pregnancy journal, see video archives of the
progress of his pregnancy, and even watch a short documentary film on male
pregnancy. The site addresses skeptics by stating that suspicions of a hoax are
wrong: "Yes, Mr. Lee is really pregnant.¡±
Curiously, the website has been up since 1999,
and Lee is apparently still pregnant! Either the poor man has been in labor
for nearly a decade (talk about a rough delivery!), or the story is a fake. Of
course, Mr. Lee doesn't exist; the Web site is a hoax created as performance art
by an artist named Virgil Wong.
Is Beatie's pregnancy also a hoax? It seems likely,
though many news media (including Good Morning America and ABC News) have taken
the story seriously, interviewing doctors, surgeons, and psychologists about the
dangers of a transgendered birth, both to Beatie and the unborn child. The story
may be a publicity stunt by The Advocate, or a hoax in the style of veteran
media prankster Alan Abel.