Thursday, July 3, 2008

the pregnant man memoir

Today's Salon article, "What the Pregnant Man Didn't Deliver," sort of tries to give a balanced approach to Thomas Beatie's story, though of course the title itself speaks to the goal of the piece: to pinpoint what Thomas didn't deliver.

I'm proud to announce that Seal has picked up this title. Today's Salon piece and a June 22 New York Times piece, both mentioned that the memoir has been shelved, but not that it's on track for fall publication here at Seal.

The Times presented what I thought was a thoughtful perspective, essentially concluding that gender is complicated, and that the Beaties' story is one that shows there’s plenty of room for the reshaping of traditional ideas about husband and wife, mom and dad, and what constitutes family. The Salon piece, on the other hand, seemed intent on finding trans activists who wanted to condemn Thomas and point out places where he's failed the trans community. For what, I wonder?

Thomas's whole story will be told in his memoir, and it's a fascinating and moving story about family and identity and love, and ultimately about wanting to have a baby with his wife. I think it's true that the notion of family is ever-changing, and that having loving parents, no matter what those parents look like, or how they express their gender, is what matters. Thomas is a trailblazer because he's willing to share his story and he's not shying away from his truth. Why should he have to? He could have done this all in silence, like some trans men before him, but it seems to me that his willingness to be public with his choices can't do anything but help the trans community. Thomas also defines as a man, and he's legally a male, and a husband. If the trans community does in fact want visibility and equal rights then Thomas is doing his part. He's comfortable in his skin, as a man, and proud of his wife and family. He's an honest guy who wanted to have a family and who's opting to tell his story publicly. And who has brought a wanted and loved child into this world. Congratulations Thomas and Nancy!


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