3/27/08

Mr. Mom, Exploring Gender Through Pregnancy.

I'm sure some of you have heard by now, either via the Advocate or by your local newscast, that the United States is home to its first pregnant male (full article here). No, we're not talking an Arnold movie come to life, or cloning reaching new heights. This is the story of a female-to-male transsexual, post hormones and top surgery, legally male and legally married to his wife, who decided to have a child. Incidentally, his wife had had a hysterectomy some years ago, so they decided that he would be their own surrogate.



I won't delve in to the details of their decision to have a child or their experiences throughout the entire process. The Advocate and the author of the article above, written by the father-to-be himself, do a great job of that. I can't even say much about the discrimination they experienced, as I've witness plenty of discrimination towards trans people simply walking the street. Frankly, while I wish the world would expand their minds a little, or at least try to accept the things they don't understand instead of fearing them, I know that's quite idealistic. There will always be someone who voices their opinion through hatred.

My immediate thoughts on this article were from the point of view of someone who dates those that dance with gender. Butch, androgynous, genderqueer, and trans, I've dated them all. I've had to explain why, even though I had a boyfriend, I still identified as a lesbian. I've had to explain why, even though she looked like a boy, my girlfriend had no desire to be a boy. I've had to explain that my partner had shunned gender altogether, and identified as neither male nor female. I have gone from having a girlfriend to having a boyfriend and back again in a single relationship. I love to explore the nuances and fluidity of gender, even considering for a moment back in college whether or not I was, in fact, a feminine FTM.

In more intimate matters, I've become quite familiar with walking that narrow and ill-defined path that is sex with a trans individual. Some prefer certain terminology when it comes to their bodies. Some only liked to be touched in certain places, or certain ways. Some don't like to be touched at all. Some have body hatred, some embrace their parts, some just want to ignore the issue altogether. I've become somewhat adept at broaching these matters without actually bringing them up. I've acquired quite a bit of finesse about easing the blow when I accidentally cross some physical boundary, and I've been told I exude a quite comforting air that puts those body fears at ease.

But, I ask myself, what would I do in this situation? Would I be able to look at my husband of ten years, seeing his belly swollen with child, and not question it? Would I be able to hold his hand in the delivery room and still see him as my husband? I've always been a supporter of destroying gender lines, and I've rarely struggled with my partner's gender identity. But would this be the thing that I just wouldn't be able to understand? Did this man's partner struggle with her husband's gender after he started to show?

I've found myself, in recent years, wishing the trans community was more open to various gender expressions. However, upon reading this article, I've started to think that perhaps I'm the one that's not as open to such things as I thought. Sure, I've dated people all along the gender spectrum, but there are still more ways to explore and express gender out there. Even when you think you're completely open and accepting, there will always be someone out there that challenges your perceptions. It is at that moment that you decide whether to give up and set your limits, or to expand your mind just a little bit more. For each of the latter, the world is becoming a bigger, and better place.


Chemistry.com

3 comments:

chickflick said...

Very interesting and insightful.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Softly Dreaming said...

This was a great perspective! Seriously. No matter what the semantics are in this case, the views are very insightful.

I added a link to this post on my blog http://www.sotlydreaming.com/blog and it should be up later today.

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