Friday, April 4, 2008

I made a point to watch a talk show

Normally I do not watch talk shows. I am not the type to watch talk shows. However I made an exception when I saw an upcoming episode advertised twice the morning of April 1. Being that it was April 1 and I only saw the commercial twice, I was skeptical that it was an April Fool's joke and I wasn't alone.

It wasn’t. The talk show: Oprah. The topic: an interview with the first pregnant man. That’s right, you read it correctly the first pregnant man. Intrigued I set out to watch the show that was set to air a few days later.

Meet Thomas, a happily married 34-year-old man who is 6 months pregnant. As you might have guessed, Thomas was once a woman, Tracy who at one time was named a finalist in the Miss Hawaii Teen USA pageant. Hearing his story was intriguing as he went through life feeling like she was a tomboy at a very young age and thinking something did not feel right. She stopped dating men and tried out her first lesbian relationship. Learning more about transgender, Tracy approached her then girlfriend about the idea who did not support it, which ultimately ended the relationship. Finally in her 20s Tracy started the physical transformation taking testosterone and testosterone injections that lowered her voice and grew facial hair. Thomas also explained how he had his breasts surgically removed and how the doctors pulled the skin to resemble a man’s chest. Tracy soon became Thomas but elected to keep her reproductive organs, as he knew he always wanted to have children. Oprah then asked the question that was on everyone’s minds with respect to the unmentionable regions. Thomas replied that the hormone treatments did alter her clitoris so that it grew into the size of a small penis to the point where he is able to have intercourse. During the show as he was explaining this he did make the joke that size is not supposed to matter.

Once his transformation was complete, Thomas was legally considered a man in the state of Oregon. Soon after, he and Nancy, who was completely aware of the situation, said I do. The decision to start a family came shortly after and they looked into their options. As Nancy was unable to bear children they looked into having Thomas artificially inseminated. A year ago, Thomas was successfully pregnant but complications arose as the embryos starting growing in his fallopian tube instead of his uterus. As his life was in danger, an operation was preformed to remove the embryos that resulted in losing his fallopian tube as well. They tried again and were successful last October.

Throughout his story it was interesting to learn about his views and how at one point, he would do anything to protect his family. Now he is not so eager to enter into confrontations for fear of harming his baby. You start to feel sorry for him when he describes his clothes and how there are no man-ternity clothes (keep in mind that at no point in the show does he complain or ask for anyone’s pity about anything, even over the situation of finding a doctor that will monitor his progress). I am sure that going on the Oprah show and doing a story in People Magazine will result in designers who will jump at the chance to design clothes for him, if they do not fear their reputation will be jeopardized.

What do I think about all this? Well it is definitely an unusual case; however Thomas was once a woman so it is not that far of a stretch. The advancements in technology and science over the years make anything possible. I am not religious nor am I in a position to judge others and I think people have the right to do whatever they want as long as it does not harm others around them. To put it in perspective, I would rather a child be born to loving parents versus parents who are unfit and unable to care for a (unwanted) child even if the method is unconventional. Thomas and his wife comes off as a normal family expecting a healthy and normal child, the only difference is Thomas is the one giving birth. What are your thoughts?

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