empty birthing chair

He Became the ‘First Man’ in History to Give Birth — His Life Changed Drastically Afterward

Thomas Beatie, “the pregnant man”, gave birth to a girl in 2008, garnering fame and controversy at the time. He was born a woman in 1974 and later legally switched to a male identity, having sex-reassignment surgery in 2002, including twice-weekly doses of testosterone and chest reconstruction surgery. However, he decided to forgo “bottom surgery” leaving his female reproductive organs because his wife Nancy couldn’t have any children. This led to the headlines years later, announcing the “world’s first pregnant man” on Oprah and other media outlets.

Thomas Beatie’s Story

Beatie was raised in Hawaii as Tracy Lagondino, participating in the girl scouts, modeling, and becoming a finalist in a Miss Hawaii Teen USA pageant. However, in his 20s, he began to dress and identify as a man before legally transitioning. [1]

In 2003, he married Nancy. She was a divorced mother with two children and had undergone a hysterectomy because of her endometriosis. So Thomas became pregnant with donor sperm through artificial insemination. Photos of him with his pregnant belly caused a media sensation. So far, Beatie has borne three children, Susan, Austin, and Jensen, all born between 2008 and 2010. [2] Beatie and Nancy separated in 2012. But in 2016, Beatie married his second wife, Amber Beatie nee Nicholas. They had a child together in 2018, whom Amber carried and gave birth to. 

Advertisement
Thomas Beatie 8 months pregnant
Thomas Beatie 8 months pregnant. Image Credit: Kristian Dowling

While the concept of a transgender man was shocking at the time, it is much less so over a decade later. Beatie, now 48 and a stockbroker in Phoenix, said “When my story came out, there wasn’t a single person in the public eye as a transgender man — most people had never heard of it. This was pre-Chaz Bono, this was pre-Caitlyn Jenner. This was before anyone knew anything. It was a first exposure for a lot of people. And then on top of that, they can give birth! I think exposing the importance of fertility for trans people was a huge eye-opener.”

Advertisement

In 2008, Beatie had written an essay in The Advocate about his first pregnancy. He was looking for advice, or for someone in a similar situation to guide him. Instead, his story spread, leading to media interviews and an autobiography about his experience called Labor of Love. “Everything was a whirlwind,” he said. “But I still don’t regret it.”

Read: Boyfriend Broke Up With His Girlfriend After He Found Out She Was Born Male

Advertisement

I’m proud to be a dad

Today, Beatie lives with his family in Phoenix. Susan, Austin, and Jensen are now tweens and split their time between Beatie and their mother’s house. Together, they love playing checkers, swimming in their pool, and trying out new recipes. Despite now living a quiet life, Beatie is not quite anonymous when the story of his past resurfaced at his workplace. “I don’t see anything wrong with being a pregnant man,” Beatie said. “I was so proud to be a dad, and I’m still proud to be a dad. I’m so proud that I was the one to bring my kids into the world. It’s kind of like a badge.”

However, his story garnered a lot of hate and disrespect when it first made headlines. Back then, there was little understanding about what being transgender meant. The media often misgendered him and called him by his “dead name.” Talk shows used his story as a punchline. They used his story to shock and scandalize their readers at Beatie’s expense. “It was really hard when my story came out,” Beatie said. “People were saying things on TV and in the media that if they came close to saying today, they would be immediately fired. I’m just in shock about how wild, Wild West it was back then.”

Advertisement

Trystan Reese, a trans advocate, was working for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force when Beatie’s story gained publicity. “I remember thinking it was a little early to tell this kind of story publicly,” Reese said. “Culture change is developmental. It takes people time to understand the kindergarten level of transgender issues… this was Ph.D.-level stuff. I was really scared for him.”

Reese added that if Beatie had been more involved with the trans movement and community at that time, they would have discouraged him from publicizing his pregnancy. “It is unconscionable, what happened to him,” he said about the treatment of the media toward Beatie.

Read: Non-Binary Person Says We Should ‘Stop Associating Periods With Womanhood’

Trending Now

PETA calls for women to go on a sex strike against men who eat meat
PETA calls for women to go on a sex strike against men who eat meat
Retailer rolls out ‘coffee balls’ to replace capsules
Retailer rolls out ‘coffee balls’ to replace capsules
Bill Gates released swarm of mosquitos into audience while talking abo...
Bill Gates released swarm of mosquitos into audience while talking abo...
Mike Tyson Reveals He is Suffering from Sciatica
Mike Tyson Reveals He is Suffering from Sciatica
Woman’s own immune system has possibly cured her of HIV
Woman’s own immune system has possibly cured her of HIV
Glow-in-the-dark roads trialled to reduce road toll, protect wildlife
Glow-in-the-dark roads trialled to reduce road toll, protect wildlife
Daily 'breath training' can work as well as medicine to reduce high bl...
Daily 'breath training' can work as well as medicine to reduce high bl...
He's In A Night Club Bathroom Washing His Hands. Now Keep Your Eyes On...
He's In A Night Club Bathroom Washing His Hands. Now Keep Your Eyes On...
J&J tried to block lawsuits from 40,000 cancer patients. A court wants...
J&J tried to block lawsuits from 40,000 cancer patients. A court wants...
Which FORM of Magnesium Should YOU Take?
Which FORM of Magnesium Should YOU Take?
Vertical Greenhouse to Grow 2M Pounds of Produce
Vertical Greenhouse to Grow 2M Pounds of Produce
Guy Grows Peppers Using Radio-Controlled Equipment in His Greenhouse
Guy Grows Peppers Using Radio-Controlled Equipment in His Greenhouse
Advertisement

Technically not “the First” Pregnant Man

Trystan Reese is also a transgender man with a documented prenancy journey from 2017. However, even back in 2008, he was confused by the media’s claims of Beatie being “the first pregnant man” since he knew of dozens of other transgender men who had given birth previously. But for many, Beatie was the first they have heard of. Despite how tumultuous his fame was, he hoped he had broken the ice so future people in his position could have an easier time. “I wanted to make sure that for my family, and for other people, that this was going to be something that’s doable, that our laws would respect it,” said Beatie. “So I did feel an obligation to continue to fight. I wasn’t about to lay down and say, ‘All right, fine, call me a woman.’”

Advertisement
Image Credit: Kristian Dowling

And despite the strides made in public perception, a lot more work is needed in terms of supporting and providing proper medical care for trans people who want to start families. 

Advertisement

“I think a lot of people are still pigeonholed, thinking that if you want to be transgender, you have to completely get rid of all your (reproductive) organs,” Beatie said. “In order to be a true transgender person, you just have to go through with this — and that you shouldn’t want to have kids. There needs to be discussions about fertility, preservation. Being transgender, you shouldn’t have to lose your right of having a family. You’re entitled to be happy and have a family and be respected.”[3]

Advertisement

Keep Reading: Work Sucks, Especially When People Get Your Pronouns Wrong

Advertisement

Sources

  1. “The Pregnant Man Gives Birth.People. July 3, 2008
  2. “Pregnant Man Thomas Beatie May Stop at 3 Kids.ABC News. Dan Childe. October 31, 2011
  3. “He was famous for being ‘the pregnant man.’ Here’s where Thomas Beatie is now.” Today. Rheana Murray. June 30, 2021
Sarah Biren
Freelance Writer
Sarah is a baker, cook, author, and blogger living in Toronto. She believes that food is the best method of healing and a classic way of bringing people together. In her spare time, Sarah does yoga, reads cookbooks, writes stories, and finds ways to make any type of food in her blender.
Advertisement