The Unusual Story of a Pregnant, Bearded Man

By Lizzie Buchen | March 21, 2008 5:31 pm

Over the past century, the shackles of gender conformity have been getting looser and looser. More girls are becoming engineers and CEOs; more boys are becoming nurses and stay-at-home dads; a woman is a serious U.S. presidential candidate. And now men can become pregnant.

Thomas Beatie is married to a woman who, due to endometriosis, cannot have children. And while Beatie is legally a man, he was born a female—uterus and all—but self-identifies as male. When he decided to make this feeling official, he had his breasts surgically removed and underwent testosterone therapy but kept the female downstairs equipment.

Two years ago he and his wife, Nancy, decided they were ready for a child, so he stopped taking his bi-weekly testosterone injections. Beatie became pregnant without any exogenous estrogen, progesterone, or fertility drugs, and although his first pregnancy failed, this one’s free of complications. No matter how open and accepting you are, you must admit that the picture of a bearded, pregnant man is shocking, and demonstrates some interesting details about testosterone therapy for transgenders. Most of the changes are permanent (lowered voice range, hair growth on the face and chest, clitoral enlargement, and male pattern baldness), but there are some changes that reverse after the man stops the injections (including cessation of menstruation, increased muscle mass and strength in the upper body, redistribution of body fat from hips to abdomen, and emotional lability).

Unfortunately, Beatie has met with a significant amount of prejudice, which he documents in a great essay in this month’s The Advocate. He writes about one doctor, who, “after a $300 consultation, reluctantly performed my initial checkups. He then required us to see the clinic’s psychologist to see if we were fit to bring a child into this world and consulted with the ethics board of his hospital. A few months and a couple thousand dollars later, he told us that he would no longer treat us, saying he and his staff felt uncomfortable working with ‘someone like me.'”

The couple is expecting a baby girl in July.

  • Becky

    Thomas is going to incredible lengths to have a family. I think it is a beautiful story of love and sacrifice. I wish him and Nancy all the best!

  • Leah Peters

    This is just plain exploitation. Many transmen have had children over the years, why the fascination with this one? I think it’s because of a new public fascination with transgendered/transsexual people. And speaking as someone born transsexual I don’t think it’s healthy. Instead of a headline that says how special this man is, how much he lives his wife that he would do almost anything for her, instead you have an exploitative story about the BEARDED, PREGNANT MAN.

    You had an opportunity to educate, but you blew it.

    You could have explained that female-to-male bottom surgery still sucks and so most guys don’t get it, but you didn’t.

    This would have made a great family story, but you blew it.

    Shame on you and shame on the media in general that continues to sexualize us, objectify us and make us look like freaks. Get over yourselves!!! We’re just ordinary people dealing with an extraordinary problem as best we can.

  • http://discovermagazine.com/ Lizzie Buchen

    Leah, I’m very sorry you perceive the post in this way. I certainly didn’t mean to exploit Thomas or portray him as a freak–I wrote the post because I thought it was a special, heartwarming story about family and love. The title was intended to capture the readers attention so the post could educate them about this situation, and draw attention to it in a positive way, and I’m sorry that did not come across to you.

  • Jacob Campes

    I gotta say, the title IS a little exploitive…but the rest of it isn’t, so I think your warmer attitude did come across. A wonderful story!

  • Jacob Campes

    In other words, I don’t think “you blew it” at all!

  • Jennifer

    I think now-a-days we are bombarded with so much information that it takes something like,
    ‘The Unusual Story of the Pregnant, Bearded Man’ to catch our attention. So I agree that you didn’t ‘blow-it’ with this article. I have a cousin that is transgender and thinking of surgery. From talking with him it seems to be that no matter what you feel passionate about, when it gets personal we all seem to wear our ‘heart on our sleeve’ so to speak. Just trying to say that this IS a heart warning family story because this couple obviously has thought this through and the love for a child is already there, but the uniqueness to the situation can still be part of the story without ‘blowing-it’. I think we all have to get a slightly thicker skin when we want to live outside the so-called ‘norm’ and just delight in the uniquness. Also, realize that there are people out there that support unique life-styles and can still find the stories interesting to read.

  • http://discovermagazine.com Amos Kenigsberg

    Hi, Leah. As Lizzie says, we did put this post up to make people aware of this from a humane and scientific perspective, not from a hostile or exploitative one. I made a subtle change to the post’s title, from “…Story of the Pregnant…” to “…Story of a Pregnant…”, to try to make Beatie sound more like one of the people who finds himself in this admittedly rare spot, rather than a strange outlier.

    This story belongs on our site because it is both medically interesting and personally compelling, and we tried to draw interest to both of these points. We won’t shy away from the notable element, but there’s no negative judgment in our pointing it out.

  • http://downundathundaradio.com.au Kath Juestel

    It takes guts to do what this couple has done, and this is a fortunate child indeed to have parents who wanted a child so much as to put themselves through this. G’don em.

  • Justin L

    uh oh…looks like y’all got PUNKD!

  • Pingback: story of pregnant man()

  • Dave

    OK. Let’s be honest. Men don’t get pregnant. This is a pregnant bearded woman. The odd part of the story is not that she is pregnant because women get pregnant everyday. The odd thing is that she has a beard, like the circus side shows of days gone by. She is a woman who has chosen to live her life as a man by taking drugs and having some surgery.

    I have seen pictures of the man who has had surgery and tatoos to look like a cat. It doesn’t measn he is a cat. He just chooses to live in this odd way. It is sad that the pregnant woman wasn’t happy in her body. However, the fact that she doesn’t see being prenant as starnge and claims it doesn’t make her feel feminine just adds proof to the faxtct that she is still a woman. She has a woman’s parts (she can get pregnant) and she has a woman’s feelings (she likes being pregant and sees nothing wrong with it). As a man who was born a man, grew up as a man and accepted my manhood, I can tell you that if I got pregnant, I would freak out cuz it just ain’t normal no matter what anyone says.

    My deepest sympathy is for the child. Who will be this child’s mommy. The one who looks like her mom or the one who is her mom. And who will be its daddy the one who looks like its dad but is in fact her mom, or the sperm donor dad who he or she may never meet.

    This is not a heart warming story. This is a sad story of a mixed up world that is full of mixed up people.

    May God have mercy on us all for destroying everything that is beautiful in His creation.

  • mediaexploitation

    How far down the rabbit hole will mankind go is my question? Pretty soon we’ll be seeing pregnant chimps giving birth to human babies.

    I can’t wait to see the media lynching of the doctor who refused to treat the confused Beatie. I am sure he and the staff will be made out to be bigots and “homophobes” instead of concerned, rational human beings.

    Has anyone considered the possible side-effects of a women pumped up on gender bending drugs while carrying a child? Poor bastard.

  • Debbie

    I have to say that I agree with Dave. This is definitely a pregnant bearded woman. I don’t see how that state that allowed her to change her gender from female to male could allow that just because she had her breasts removed and started taking tesestosterone makes her a man. If she really wanted to become a man then she should have had her female organs removed. She knew what she was doing and Knew that she wanted to have childen and figured she could make money exploiting this. I also feel bad for this child. I hope these two women are honest with this child so she knows how she was conceived and maybe she will want to find her father.

    Wake up America, don’t buy her book and don’t give them money because there are many other really good places that money could go.

    I want to make sure you all understand that I have nothing against Gays and Lesbians and if you truly fall in love with someone of the same sex then so be. Those that feel that were born into the wrong body, I guess I can understand that but if you were born a female and you feel that is wrong for you then make the change and and remove all that has made you a woman. What Thomas Beattie has done is wrong.

  • Tony

    Now I am not a religious right wing fanatic. Registered Democrat, Catholic Church lite, New Yorker. OBAMA supporter. But Thomas B is a confused person and I pray her pregnancy is terminated by the will of GOD. SheHe has no clue what shehe is about to do to that poor child. Kids are screwed up enough, what a poor selfish excuse for a (wo)man. Do you not have any compassion for the children??? Live your selfish screwed up life, but dont bring a poor child into the world just because your too self centered to see what is right. Your brother was right, we dont know what kinda monster is in there. Do your self a favor get an ABORTION. I could care less if you wanted to live male, female, both, none, married or living together. Just stop this nonsense.

  • JUDGE NOT LEST YE BE JUDGED

    God did not put ANY special person on this earth to JUDGE these people.GOD did not put us HERE to do HIS job for him. He made US to LOVE all PEOPLE whether we BELIEVE they are wrong or not. In the ULTIMATE end it will be GODS decision to determine whether THEY are right or wrong, and to determine whether YOU are right or wrong for your own personal OPINION!!!! WE CANT CHANGE WHAT WE HAVE NO CONTROL OVER!!!!!!!! YES, I have an opinion on the situation but I beleive that some things are better left unsaid because its not my place to say one way or the other. Just let them be and wish them luck in whatever choices they make as human beings thats all we really can do anyway!!!!! NORMAL??????

  • http://pregnant-man.wedding-review.info/pregnant%20man.html chuk1

    i agree you are totally wright thomas beattie is a god man and he is not going to be the last man to have a baby

    http://pregnant-man.wedding-review.info/pregnant%20man.html

  • Sparkling Medusa

    When I first heard this story I was reminded of the movie “Junior” starring Emma Thompson and Arnold Swartzeneger. It’s about a man carrying a baby to term. Back then I was shocked. Now it is very common as the others commenting on this blog have noted. It is not my place to judge this couple. If they want to have children this way then so be it. That child will be loved regardless of how she was conceived. There are enough children in this world left for dead or starving or suffering. This girl will not be added to that list. She will have two parents that love her dearly and will take great care of her.

  • Description

    Well, he’s obviously gay then.

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