The mass media’s appetite for sensationalist stories, delivered with the obligatory cissexism, trans-misogyny and barely concealed transphobia, continues on its merry way with this story from the Daily Telegraph (link here):
Man to become first in world to give birth to twins
A man is set to become the first in the world to give birth to twins after becoming pregnant during sex change surgery.
Wait, what? – “[...] becoming pregnant during sex change surgery”? Is that even possible?
Ruben Noe Coronado, 25, from Spain, postponed the process of becoming a man so that he could keep his female reproductive organs and give birth.
He fell pregnant after undergoing fertility treatment when doctors told his girlfriend, the mother of two children from a previous relationship, she couldn’t have any more children.
Oh, okay. So he didn’t actually, y’know, become pregnant “during sex change surgery” at all, then? In fact, he became pregnant after undergoing fertility treatment – not an unlikely outcome, I’d have thought. Still, it’s always reassuring to see the facts reported without resorting to misleading statements.
Mr Coronado, born a woman called Estefania or Stephanie, is due to give birth at the end of September.
Right. And his pre-transition identity is relevant, how, exactly?
He is the first Spanish transsexual to fall pregnant and it is thought he will become the world’s first transsexual father of twins if everything goes to plan.
He will bring the twins up with his partner Esperanza Ruiz, 43. They plan to marry before they become parents.
Gosh, that’s fascinating. So we have one partner in a relationship who’s pregnant, and the couple plan to marry before the birth of their twins. Well worth the column inches to get that important news out there.
Once he becomes a parent he will resume his sex-change surgery [...]
You say that like it’s a bad thing. He should consider himself fortunate – remember the recent cases in Australia (which Queen Emily recently wrote about over at QT – link here), wherein two trans men were refused gender recognition by the authorities because they could still become pregnant? In other words, for their identities to be recognised, the state required them to be physically prevented from ever bearing children.
If anything positive for the wider trans community comes out of Mr Coronado’s high-profile pregnancy, let us hope that it’s a change in attitudes like those of the West Australian government.
[...] and become a father rather than mother.
You told us he’ll be a parent in the first part of that sentence. Why do you feel it necessary to go on to make a gender-based distinction?
He plans to give birth at a hospital in Barcelona after moving to the area from Malaga two months ago with his girlfriend because of family problems.
Mr Coronado, an epileptic who was adopted as a child, said: “It’s like being born with three hands.
“You take advantage of them while you have them and you get rid of one of them when they get in the way.”
Just… what? How is any of this even remotely relevant? Let alone comprehensible?
He said he would not sell his story “now or in the future” [...]
Which is presumably why the Telegraph’s story, um, isn’t. A story. Was it a slow news day or something?
[...] but admitted he was “thinking of selling the picture everyone’s going to want of me looking pregnant.
“If I don’t do it, someone else will and they’ll make a fortune,” he added.
I have to say I’m not entirely comfortable with this. On the one hand, I can kind of understand, I think – if I was pregnant and had the opportunity to raise extra cash by selling my story, I’d be tempted. It would be an easy way to raise much-needed funds towards providing for my children’s future. But as a trans person, it calls attention to me – and, by default, my community – in a way which seems more sensationalist than useful. The story may be heartwarming and arguably provides some sort of insight into the complexities of being a trans parent – but what does it do practically for the wider community? All we learn – and it’s hardly news anyway – is that trans men can potentially have babies. Anything else?
He claimed he had gone public “so people start to see a transsexual pregnancy as normal”.
Why would anyone think it’s not “normal”? Really, this whole story – this non-story – is all about positioning the pregnancy of a trans man as anything but normal, isn’t it? And once you start talking in these terms, you’re not “normalising” trans people at all. You’re simply reinforcing the same old wrong stereotypes about us. The othering, the objectifying, the tacit assumption that our identities – our lives – are somehow less valid than cis people’s, we’ve heard all this a million times before. And it seems to me that going public in this way – although undoubtedly of value to the happy couple in terms of helping to meet their expenses – doesn’t do one single practical thing to help towards dismantling all those wrong-headed, almost superstitious, beliefs about us.