I’m trying to reserve judgement on this, but I can’t help but be profoundly disturbed by the story of Thomas Beatie.
Beatie, a 34-year old husband and soon-to-be parent, wasn’t always the man he is today. He was born a woman. After spending most of his life as Tracy, Beatie decided to begin testosterone therapy and to undergo surgical breast removal so that s/he could assume the role of a man.
You’d think that’d be shocking enough. But wait, there’s more.
Soon after legally becoming a man, Beatie married his current wife, Nancy. Due to a previous hysterectomy, Nancy is unable to have children. But the couple wanted to fulfill their dream of having a family together. So together, they decided that Thomas would discontinue his testosterone treatments and conceive a child via artificial insemination.
Uh-huh. You read it right. Beatie, who is legally a man, but still possesses the physical equipment of a woman, will soon become the mother of his own child!
Beatie is scheduled to appear on today’s Oprah Show, where he and his wife will share the details of their story, including the doctors who refused to treat Thomas during the pregnancy and their first failed attempt at having Thomas bear the couple’s child.
What disturbs me about the whole thing is…well, there are several things that disturb me:
1. Not that I’m an Oprah Show watcher, but since when did Oprah start covering stories that would be much more appropriate for Jerry Springer?
2. I’m all for medical and scientific advancements, but this story is just another one of many that makes me question: just because we are technically capable of doing something, does that mean we should?
Here you have a gal who decides that she no longer wants to be a gal. So, gal says to herself, “I’ll just go down to the local doctor’s office and sign up for lifelong injections of male hormones. And while you’re at it doc, go ahead and slice off those ‘mams’ – they’re kinda gettin’ in the way, and they don’t really fit with my new image.” Some time later gal/guy thinks to her/himself: “Oh, wait! I knew there was something I forgot to do before shedding my female self. Lemme put this man thing on pause for a bit and return to my regularly scheduled gender. I’ll just order me up some of that anonymous donor sperm, and during the commercial break for Star Trek, I’ll impregnate myself with it and set the timer for, oh…9 months or so. After that, it’s back to the boys club for me!”
Yeah, that’s just a little too ‘Island of Dr. Moreau’ for me.
3. What is this child going to grow up like? I mean, we all have our issues with Mom and Dad, but can you imagine being this kid and having to process the concept that daddy is really mommy and mommy technically isn’t related to me at all?
4. And the most important question of all: Exactly what bathroom is Mr. Mom using these days?
What a world.
Read Thomas Beatie’s first-person interview in the Advocate (a LGBT webzine)
See the Oprah Show trailer