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. 
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.  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.
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.”
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.”
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“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.”
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.
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