The life of Thomas Beatie has been so positively impactful that I had to mention it, especially knowing that generation Z most probably does not remember. I would also assume that many people aren’t familiar with Thomas Beatie, as when he became famous, social media wasn't as mainstream as it is today.
In 2008 Thomas Beatie became known as the world’s first pregnant man. Beatie is a transgender man born a woman on a spiritual level who became impregnated by a sperm donor in 2007. When the story came out all News channels around the world talked about this nonstop for a good few weeks.
Thomas Beatie before the Surgery
Thomas Trace Beatie was born in 1974. He was assigned female at birth, that is why his name is also Trace. From a young age, Beatie didn’t feel comfortable with his sexuality. Transgender at the time was a very taboo term, especially when no transgender people were publicly speaking. This was mainly because social media wasn’t yet mainstream.
As Beatie reached his teenage years, he started realizing that being a woman didn’t feel right. That is why in 2002 Thomas had sex-reassignment surgery and legally changed his gender from female to male. Beatie mentioned he wanted to do this for a long time, but due to fear of what others around would think, he delayed the procedure for a long time.
This surgery was a bit more special as Beatie decided to keep his female reproductive organs as he always wanted to bear a child as his wife at the time Nancy wasn’t able to. With a testosterone level still low allowing a pregnancy to occur, all that was left to do is find a sperm donor suitable for the couple.
The 9 months of pregnancy are described as hell by Beatie, as was expected. Apart from the minor health issues most pregnant women encounter, he had a good 9 months. Initially, due to the surgery he had, the doctors that he was working with planned that he would have a C section as it seemed more appropriate.
However, his baby had different plans and decided to come out 3 days earlier than the planned C section. Therefore Beatie gave birth in June 2008 naturally, making it quite the whole ride of a pregnancy for the first man being pregnant in history. As far as historical records go there seems to not be the mention of a man giving birth and I am pretty sure they didn't have the medical capabilities to do sex-reassignment surgeries.
In 2009 he once again got pregnant and ended up giving birth to another two healthy children. After that, he decided to get a hysterectomy as he wants to stop at three children.
The First Public Transgender movement
It does take a whole book to describe the sort of emotions Beatie was going through, that is why he published a book the same year he gave birth for the first time entitled “Labour of Love: The Story of One Man’s Extraordinary Pregnancy”. In the book, he describes the journey from when he got the surgery up to his first pregnancy.
His family was not ok with the surgery he undertook in 2002, nor with the pregnancy, he wanted to go through. One of the biggest social challenges he faced was people not knowing how to address him. Although legally, he is a man now, many called him a woman not because he once identified as one, but because only women can be pregnant.
From a legal perspective, it was a huge fight as the law says that only women can get maternity leave and maternity pay as they are the only ones that can get pregnant. With Beatie being a pregnant man, this created a huge loophole in the system, but due to social pressures with a big audience from the media, things had to be changed. This lead to the first implementations of laws for the transgender community within the working environment and human resource management.
This was a huge step for transgender people as Beatie was the first transgender person to publicly speak about something that was considered soo taboo back then. This great story had a huge positive impact on the transgender community, as Beatie encouraged many people to come out of the closet and just walk proud of who they are.
Beatie’s example of how “he didn’t feel right as a woman” was a great example to make the rest of the world understand why people are getting sex-reassignment surgeries. Today, he is fighting for the LGBTQ movement by giving out public speeches and encouraging those from the community to present themselves to the world in a way that they feel comfortable.