Gender switch is all or nothing

Kelly Copeland

Last week Oprah Winfrey rubbed a pregnant man’s belly.

Believe it or not, Thomas Beatie of Bend, is five months along and expecting a girl.

Beatie, a transgender male, made his debut on Winfrey’s show
April 1, and gained her support for the controversial male pregnancy. On the show, he said his wife Nancy is unable to conceive because she underwent a hysterectomy. For the couple to have a child, they used in vitro fertilization.

Born a woman, Beatie decided to become a man nearly 10 years ago. As part of the transition, he underwent testosterone treatments and had his breasts removed. However, when the option of
removing his female reproductive organs arrived, Beatie decided against it because he wanted to have children someday.

When I first heard about this case in The Oregonian last week, I had a difficult time accepting it. I consider myself an open-minded individual. I am pro-choice, and I support gay marriage. But this is one place I have to draw the line.

If you read the opinion I wrote in the Feb. 22 issue of the Review, you will remember I supported a Colorado school district for allowing a second grade boy to dress like a girl and be called by a girl’s name. I support transgender people and do not have a problem with their choice.

I disagree with Beatie’s pregnancy. I understand some individuals are born a certain sex but feel like the opposite sex. But, I also think that when a woman makes the decision to become a man, the right to be a woman should be given up entirely.

I understand Beatie’s wife is unable to have children herself, but that does not give Beatie the right to have children instead. God gave women the gift to bear children, not men. I also understand Beatie and his wife wanted to have a biological child, a desire present in both men and women. But it is odd that although Beatie does not identify as a woman, he still felt the desire to give birth to a child. That is different than just wanting children.

Besides, the child the couple is having is only biologically Beatie’s and not his wife’s. True, your child does not have to be related to you by blood to be “your child,” but if the couple wanted a child, a surrogate mother or adoption would have also been an acceptable option.

Deciding you want to become the opposite sex is a serious matter and is not to be taken lightly. No individual should make such a life-altering change if he or she is not completely sure. While I do not doubt Beatie’s feelings, I think he should have thought about the implications of his actions.

A story in the New York Daily Times online edition has received many comments about Beatie’s pregnancy, both in favor and against it. One individual, calling herself, “think-about-it,” agrees it is a woman’s job to bear children, not a man’s. Beatie is recognized by the state as a man, not a woman.

When the couple appeared on Oprah’s show last week, they emphasized that they want their unborn daughter to live a normal life. But if they truly want this child to live a normal life, they should not have announced the pregnancy on national television.

Their daughter is already going to grow up being known as “the girl whose dad gave birth to her,” and going public with such a pregnancy will never allow her life to be considered anything close to normal.

Despite my reservations, I have no doubt Beatie’s unborn daughter will experience just as much love and affection equal to if her mother gave birth to her.


2 Comments on Gender switch is all or nothing

  1. I agree with you.

    Oh, but I did think that he underwent artificial insemination (er, um, turkey baster) rather than invetro (test tube, egg retrieval, sperm injection into egg, medical procedure). I thought his wife explained on Oprah how she personally did the artificial insemination for him.

  2. I agree, But I think of it as if she still a women not a man.

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