Request: Although the screen captures and YouTube videos discussed below are publicly available, please respect the dignity of the family featured in this post.
There ought to be something worth pondering for pretty much everyone in this post–left, center, and right of the political spectrum; gender critics, trans-identified people, parents, “gender specialists,” and anyone else who believes the issue of sterilizing prepubescent trans-identified kids is worth discussing with the nuance it deserves. We desperately need a society-wide conversation about this, something that is strangely lacking at the moment.
I’ll be featuring the Vlog of one young FtM named Sam (YouTube account name “MrSexyrexy8907”), who, like many of his generation, started as a gender-defiant lesbian who decided to medically transition. Note: In this post, I am choosing to refer to FtM Sam with male pronouns at times.
Sam began testosterone at age 20, had a bilateral mastectomy roughly a year later, and says in earlier videos that s/he someday hoped to undergo “bottom surgery” as well, when his budget allowed.
By the end of the Vlog journey, we learn that Sam ended up as a self-identified gay man in a committed relationship. At 24, Sam and his male partner became the proud biological parents of a baby girl.
Sam’s Vlog is comprised of only a few videos–short, by the standards of most YouTube FtM transition sagas. It spans a four-year-time frame, with sporadic uploads of brief videos, and you can watch all 21 of them in a sitting.
As a trans man who has given birth, Sam is definitely not alone. There are many other media stories and Vlogs about happy adult trans men who are biological parents. I had originally planned to include several more of these accounts in this post, but as I wrote, I realized we only need one–one happy family wherein the trans man bore a biological child. In Sam’s case, it is worth emphasizing, this is a trans man who earlier wanted bottom surgery, and who made no made no mention of future fertility.
The mainstream press, always eager to trans-fix us, has of late served up many accounts of blissful FtM biological parents (some of whom appear not to understand that identifying as male is not an effective contraceptive). Because the very physical experience of being pregnant and giving birth results in dysphoria for some of these FtMs, midwives (and others) are being strong-armed by their professional organizations into using “preferred pronouns” and urged to eschew words like “mother” and other female-centered terminology, to ostensibly show respect for the FtMs who become pregnant and give birth but would rather be referred to as “fathers.” As in every other nook and cranny of civilized society, any remaining cobwebs of perceived transphobia are being carefully swept away (despite some pushback from brave holdouts).
What, then, are we to make of the activist-clinician zeal for curtailing the reproductive capacity necessary for conception, pregnancy, and birth in prepubescent kids who profess to be trans?
Sam’s 36-weeks-pregnant video was the first to pop up in my “trans man pregnant” YouTube keyword search. It’s a fascinating tale. Sam tells us he’s in a gay relationship, and he is positively glowing in his happiness about the impending birth of his daughter, due in 30 days.
This was a planned pregnancy. It wasn’t an accident. It’s been rough, dysphoria wise…some times are harder than others. I’m carrying really really low, so that gives me that beer-belly type of appearance.
[7:00] I’m ecstatic to meet her and start this little family… After stopping hormones, my cycles came back. I’d been off hormones for over a year, in which time I met my partner and we decided we wanted a baby….decided I was ok with carrying her and having a child.
Sam says a lot more in the video about the changes he’s been through since his last video, including a successful struggle to quit drinking. As I watched, I found myself liking Sam and wanting to know more about what preceded all this. Clearly, this was a young adult who had been through quite a lot by the age of 24, and was now happily expecting a baby girl.
So I went back four years to the beginning of Sam’s Vlog journey, which began in 2009, at age 20. As with most transition chronicles, Sam’s introductory video was “pre-everything”—no testosterone or surgeries yet. Sam had a girlfriend who he refers to as his “fiancé” whom we see and hear a lot about in these early videos; Sam is wearing an engagement band on his ring finger.
March 2010. Sam has been on “T” for 5 months, and we can see and hear the changes. He’s living in an apartment with his fiancé; he tells us wants to go back to school. He wants bottom surgery but can’t afford it yet. There are several more vids, including the requisite top-surgery post-op (always a staple of FtM Vlogs).
By July 2011, Sam’s been through a lot. He’s gone off T, and he’s just over a year post-op from top surgery. Not only that: he’s been “in and out of rehab” and is just back home after living in halfway houses, with no health insurance. The engagement band has disappeared.
In October, Sam is cautioning other FtMs that they better be sure about medical transition. He’s off T, but he still has hair growing in. “Your hairline will recede and your face will change.”
Sam’s videos are few and far between for a couple of years. We don’t know exactly how s/he got from A to B, but let’s fast forward to the video made soon after his daughter’s birth in 2013.
Sam shares some very intimate details about his after-birth experience.
All of my weight gain was in my uterus and within a few days it was practically back to normal.
…Oddly enough—I have had a double mastectomy—and the other day one of my nipples was leaking. So that kind of caught me off guard…I don’t seem to be retaining any fluid or milk. [SMILING]. I don’t know if it’s a matter of not 100% everything was removed or hormones and milk ducts…either way, it was a very little bit and not a big deal.
We are thrilled to have her….
There’s a longer video made a month after their baby was born, with lots of still shots and video clips of Sam and his partner, clearly enjoying family life together. We see a pre-birth sonogram, the baby shower, and even the actual moment of their daughter’s birth (Sam jokes it’s the “PG version”), and many pictures of the newborn with her doting parents.
A final video uploaded in April 2014 is a collage of clips chronicling the kind of new-parent life many of us will recognize from our own days with a newborn.
Then that’s it for Sam’s Vlog. Life with a baby and toddler is all-consuming, and judging by Sam’s YouTube playlists nowadays (which seem to consist entirely of videos for young kids), the family might be too busy now to bother with YouTube uploads.
Sam’s story—that of a former lesbian who winds up in a relationship with a man—is not that unusual. Cross-sex hormones have the potential to alter a person’s sexual orientation. Some same-sex attracted women– lesbians—become bisexual or even heterosexual after undergoing testosterone treatment. (Sadly, those trans men face an increased risk of HIV infection.)
For the record, as anyone who reads here regularly knows, I don’t want lesbians to feel they need to medically transition. I do consider it a form of anti-gay conversion therapy. And while my regular readers may also wish Sam had felt she could live her life as the woman she obviously is, without surgeries, without hormones… for me, at least, it’s impossible not to be touched by the obvious love shining between these two parents, and their joy as they start their new family.
At least this young, former lesbian went through puberty and had, at a minimum, one important sexual relationship with another woman before she transitioned. She did not have her fertility denied to her as a tween or teen too young to give informed consent.
Would Sam have said—pre or post transition—that s/he wanted kids at 14, or 16, or 18? Even at 20, trans-identified Sam made no mention of becoming a parent. How many of us parents knew we wanted children of our own while still kids ourselves?
As Sam says, this was a planned pregnancy. Sam and partner– two adults–decided they wanted to create a baby.
Why does anyone—doctor, activist, parent–believe they have the right to proactively take the option to bear children away from future adults like Sam? Simply so that the “trans kid” will “pass” better? Watch Sam’s Vlogs and tell me s/he doesn’t “pass.” S/he passes just fine. Without going through natural puberty, Sam and his partner would not be parents. Whether you think Sam is a mother, or whether you call Sam (as he refers to himself) “Dad,” the fact remains that s/he is now the happy biological parent of a little girl.
Let me ask the parents who contribute here: If (as much as you don’t want this) any of your daughters (or sons) ultimately decide to transition as adults, would you still welcome a grandchild? Should your daughter—who may someday want to be called your “son”—be denied the opportunity to make that choice for herself?
Most 4thWaveNow parents fervently hope our kids won’t decide to use hormones or have surgeries. But we’re not stupid. We know that, once they reach the age of medical majority, they will make their own choices. We just want the activists and clinicians to cease and desist marketing medical transition to impressionable kids.
And here’s a challenge for the MtoF, late-transitioning heterosexual men, so many of whom—like Bruce “Caitlyn” Jenner—first had their own biological children:
Watch Sam’s Vlog and then tell me it’s no big deal to keep lobbying, as you do, for the medical transition of children, which will result in permanent sterilization.
Put another way: If it’s such an awful tragedy for a trans teen to go through the “wrong” puberty, how come you managed to survive yours, and have exercised your basic human right to produce biological children? Without that wrong puberty, you wouldn’t be a parent today.
How can the activists and doctors who are so eager to subject young people to medical intervention–which they know full well will sterilize these kids–know for sure that these trans kids will not grow up to want children of their own someday?
The answer is: they don’t know that.
Let’s put a really fine point on this. What sort of monumental hubris leads a doctor, psychologist, or activist to believe they have the right to proactively take away the human right of an adult to choose to have biological children?
So which is it, activist-clinicians? You really can’t have it both ways.
- you want to celebrate the “pregnant people” and their right to reproduce with dignity; adult trans people who (like most of us) didn’t figure out they wanted kids until early to middle adulthood,
- it’s more important for trans kids to “pass” and avoid the “wrong puberty” than be allowed to choose whether to reproduce when they are adults.