Thomas Beattie is actually not the first man to get pregnant. Almost a decade ago, a San Francisco transgendered man named Matt Rice got pregnant and had a cute son. Several years after that, I met another pregnant transman in San Francisco. He was telling his story, with his wife, at a feminist open mic. So why is Beattie getting all the credit, and why now?
Columnist Annalee Newitz
Beattie is the first pregnant man most people will ever meet. He’s the guy in People magazine right now looking preggers and hunky, and the guy who was on The Oprah Winfrey Show last week. And it makes sense that he’s the first wonder of tranny obstetrics medical science to hit the spotlight. He’s a nice, small-town Oregon boy, married for five years to a nice, small-town lady, and his full beard and muscles make it quite obvious that he’s a dude. In other words: He’s not a freak from a freaky city like San Francisco. He is, as they say in the mainstream media, relatable.
And he’s playing his poster boy role perfectly. On Oprah, you could tell he was a friendly, shy person (albeit with a black belt in karate). Visibly nervous, obviously proud as hell of his wife and soon-to-be-born daughter, he didn’t try to make a political statement or lecture anybody about gender binaries being stupid. He had a hard time explaining why he had become a man, too. Often when Oprah asked pointed questions he would shrug and say, “It’s hard to explain.” Exactly like a dude to be sort of inarticulate about his own dudeness. So another part of his appeal to the mainstream media is that he fits gender stereotypes.
Plus, he’s the guy every woman wants to marry. Not only is he cute and happy to build things around the house, he’s willing to have your baby for you too. As Beattie’s wife said to Oprah with a grin, “What woman wouldn’t want her husband to get pregnant?”