Transgender Man Publicly Shares His Pregnancy To Help Dismantle Stigma

“I told my doctor, ‘It’s my goal to be the most boring patient you’ve ever seen.' He, of course, laughed because I’m a pregnant man.”

When 34-year-old Trystan Reese first told his partner of seven years Biff Chaplow that he wanted to expand their family by carrying a child of his own, Chaplow wasn't onboard. He worried about how it could negatively affect Reese, a transgender man, and his personal safety. 

"Initially he was pretty hesitant about the idea," Reese told Parents. "In fact, I believe the words he used were 'absolutely not, this is the dumbest idea you've ever had.' Mostly he was worried for my safety — what it would be like for a pregnant man navigating the world, both medically and socially."

After doing some research and meeting with a pregnancy specialist in Portland, Oregon, where the couple lives, Reese and Chaplow agreed they wanted to have their first biological child together. And they wanted Reese to carry it. 

While this would be their first biological child, Reese and Chaplow have two adopted children together — Chaplow's biological niece and nephew. 

Reese, who still has a functioning uterus and ovaries, began hormone therapy almost a decade ago, which helped him develop a beard and a deeper voice. In order to conceive, a pregnancy specialist told Reese he would have to stop taking testosterone. 

The first time Reese started ovulating after going off the hormones, he got pregnant. He miscarried after a few weeks, but the couple eventually decided to try again. "The nurses and doctors let me know that one in four pregnancies end in miscarriages, so this wasn't any reason to be discouraged," Reese told BuzzFeed

He eventually got pregnant again and had a healthy pregnancy under medical supervision. 

"The conception part just happened, the two of us at home, the old-fashioned way. I'm really lucky, the people at Kaiser [Permanente] have worked really hard on their trans competency. I received incredibly respectful, knowledgeable, competent care throughout my entire prenatal process," Reese told Parents. "I told my doctor, 'It's my goal to be the most boring patient you've ever seen.' He, of course, laughed because I'm a pregnant man."

Reese is certainly not the first trans man to get pregnant. However, there is still a stigma against transgender pregnancies which the couple tackled head on by publicly sharing their journey online. In addition to some people still not quite understanding that sex and gender are not the same, some mistakenly think that all transgender people hate their bodies and transition to feel comfortable in their own bodies. While this is true for some transgender people, not all feel this way. 

In a video on the couple's Facebook page, Reese addresses this misconception and explains why he wanted to carry a baby as a transgender man. 

"I never felt like I needed to change my body and I, for sure, do not hate my body," he said in the video. "I'm OK with my body being a trans body. I'm OK being a man who has a uterus and has the capacity and capability of carrying a baby."

This decision to share their story in such a public way was not one they made lightly. 

"What we looked at was the landscape of the trans movement and trans acceptance in our culture today. Would telling our story help move the conversation forward? Do we have the opportunity to broaden and expand what it means to be trans in America today? Will it be too provocative and drive people away from trans acceptance? Are people ready for us?" Reese told BuzzFeed. 

"We thought we had the chance to do some good here. The whole reason I wanted to be more public was because I’m ready for the next trans narrative."

"This idea that to be trans means that we hate our bodies, that we wish we weren't born in the bodies we were given, that we want to be just like non-trans people or the gender we're transitioning to — that's just not true for a lot of us."

On July 14, Reese and Chaplow welcomed their son, Leo Murray Chaplow, to the world. He's a healthy baby — and a reminder that there's no one right way to have a family.

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