by Hannah Bleau (Red Dawn) June 21, 2016
I know. It sounds like a riddle, doesn’t it?
That’s just the beginning. Brace yourselves. There are so many layers of crazy to this story.
Meet Trevor MacDonald, 31. She’s (yes, I’m referring to her as “she,” as that’s her biological gender) a transgender man who transitioned in her early 20s, taking testosterone, changing her legal name and having chest surgery. It was awesome. Her body finally matched her identity. All was well, until she realized she and her gay partner wanted to have kids. They thought about adoption, but determined that the odds would be stacked against because of their very, um, *unique* situation. And then a lightbulb went off.
MacDonald never had a hysterectomy. She’s actually a woman. And her gay partner is a dude. So they could actually have kids like a normal straight couple, because the biology works.
Don’t ask me how long it took them to look down and figure that one out.
So MacDonald stopped taking testosterone so she could conceive, and she did. They timed the pregnancy during the winter, so she could wear big jackets and not look like a totally pregnant dude. It was delightful, because her facial hair and deep voice didn’t fade away.
“Throughout the pregnancy, I was able to continue presenting as male,” she said.
But as people around them realized she was pregnant with a child, they started calling her a “mother,” which is a HUGE no.
“There were people who immediately began calling me ‘mom’ and ‘she,’” MacDonald said. “One person told him simply: ‘If you’re giving birth, you’re a mother.’”
That’s so inconsiderate and offensive, calling a pregnant woman a mother. The nerve of some people, I’m telling ya. Being pregnant shouldn’t be a gendered thing! Neither should
breastfeeding chestfeeding– which she did, by the way…sort of. The surgery didn’t affect her ability to do that.
“I was worried that breastfeeding might feel gendered to me – I thought, am I going to be able to do that, or am I going to experience a lot of gender dysphoria?” she said.
HELL-FREAKING-O. Is she seriously concerned she’ll experience gender dysphoria? Is she completely unaware that’s she’s been experiencing that for years? She’s afraid she’s going to feel like her biological gender? That’s a legitimate concern? Honey, that’s not gender dysphoria. That’s normal.
That aside, she loved “chestfeeding.” In fact, it got her thinking. How many transgender men even think about the possibility of chestfeeding their children down the road?
He soon found himself inundated with questions from around the world; from transgender people eager to start their own family to healthcare workers keen on providing better care for transgender people. Wary of generalising too much from his own experience, MacDonald began working with a research team to design and produce a series of research papers, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, that aim to draw parallels among the experiences of pregnancy, birth and infant feeding of 22 transgender men from around the world.
The groundbreaking research has already revealed some interesting findings, he says. Of the nine men in the study who had had chest surgery prior to becoming pregnant, not one had raised the possibility of breastfeeding with their surgeons beforehand. “There is this assumption that goes along with the ‘born in the wrong body’ narrative, that if you are a trans guy you would want a hysterectomy and never use your body to carry a pregnancy,” says MacDonald.
Long story short, she believes they should start thinking about that. Just because you want to be a man doesn’t mean you don’t want to be a chestfeeding father. Duh. Isn’t that obvious?
Craving a family is completely normal, but it truly breaks my heart to see society praising these individuals– people who are clearly confused and suffering from serious mental issues– for their valiant attempts at normalcy.
I’m just gonna leave this here.
And before you get offended…