When the story first broke out about Thomas Beatie, the international newspapers went a little wild with headlines like “He’s Pregnant. You’re Speechless” (New York Times), and “Pregnant Man Gives Birth (PEOPLE). At the time, the public was aghast with questions as the headlines made it seem like some massive scientific breakthrough had occurred allowing men to carry a baby to term. However, the truth about Thomas Beatie is that biologically he was born as a woman with full female anatomy yet identified as a man. What makes his story sensational is that he simultaneously caused a social breakthrough and was the first pregnant man to be legally recognized by the United States government.
His First Marriage and The Spotlight He Chose
Although Thomas Beatie began hormonal treatment to become a man at the age of twenty-three (2002), his story did not come to light until he and Nancy, his wife at the time, chose to conceive back in 2007. Unfortunately, Nancy was infertile and so Thomas Beatie chose to impregnate himself using cryogenically frozen sperm. After the sperm had been implanted, he chose to go public with the pregnancy, appearing on numerous shows and in various magazines. Beatie wanted to draw awareness about gender issues, mainly that anatomy does not necessarily indicate gender, but since his story directly opposed the status-quo, he got a ton of backlash. Unfortunately, the transgender community at the time ostracized him for coming out and telling his story and the media mocked and demeaned him.
In 2012, Nancy and Thomas chose to end their nine-year marriage which ended up in a long and arduous four-year divorce as Beatie’s gender made the process difficult. At the time, the judge overseeing the divorce questioned whether their marriage was even valid and if it was, whether Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriage, prevented the two from ending their union. Eventually, Beatie and Nancy were declared divorced and Beatie received custody of their children.
Where Is Thomas Beatie Now?
Soon after his divorce with Nancy, Thomas Beatie married Amber Nichols. Amber had actually seen his documentary years prior to meeting him and when they did meet, they fell in love. They got married shortly after and she went on to have his child. They went through IVF treatment and used the same sperm donor of his other three children. Over the past decade, Thomas Beatie has had a successful career as a stockbroker but also appears on television shows (Secret Story, 2016) as well as writes and acts. He notes that he does not regret his advocacy or the negative reactions that he received along the way.
Why His High Profile Nature Was a Major Win For The World
Prior to Thomas Beatie being in the spotlight, the majority of transgender men were not visible to the world. By Beatie choosing to allow the world into his private life, he ended up being the first trans man that the mass public had actually met. His profile nature and unique story opened up the discussion surrounding gender identification and the issues we now openly talk about. The long-term benefit of his story is that it raises questions around the context of gender, how traditional ideas can be reshaped, and how misconceptions can be challenged. Beyond this, his story shows us that individuals experience gender and their association to and with a particular gender in a unique way and that gender does not have to be something that is non-fluid or permanent at birth. All in all, Mr. Beatie hopes that his visibility over the past decade paves the way for others to come forward and live their lives in an open, fair, and proud manner.