Another pregnant man story

March 22, 2009

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.

Ruben Noe Coronado and Esperanza Ruiz

14 Responses to “Another pregnant man story”

  1. queenemily Says:

    *pauses mid sex-change surgery for a cuppa*

  2. drakyn Says:

    omg, people with ovaries/uterus can get preggers after fertility treatment?!
    my world; it is shattered.

    Maybe I’m weird, but trans* men getting pregnant isn’t odd to me. But then, I read articles and lj-posts about guys having kids a lot when I was first researching transition/trans-related stuff. ^_^;;


  3. 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.

    Exactly. It’s like writing a story about a poor person who doesn’t steal. Even if you say you’re doing it to show that not all poor people are thieves, the existence of a story like that is based on the assumption that it needs to be proven that not all poor people are thieves.

  4. GallingGalla Says:

    bint:

    YES. THIS.

  5. HallowedJaneBeThyName Says:

    At least trans men having babies are challening the gender binary and societies expectations of it, unlike most trans women?

  6. Helen G Says:

    HallowedJaneBeThyName: Why do cis people always insist that trans women should challenge the gender binary?

    What are you doing to challenge it, may I ask?

    ETA: Assuming, of course, that you actually are a cis woman – it may well be that you’re not.

    In any case, my question remains: What have you ever done to challenge the gender binary?

  7. drakyn Says:

    GO back to your bridge troll.
    Stupid kitty-eating trolls should stay under their bridges.

  8. queenemily Says:

    Ah HallowedJane. I’m so glad that ZOMGgender subversion is so important to you. Me too! LOL!

    That’s how I know that before you asked that question of trans women, who get fucked with constantly because of sex–getting treated as suspicious by institutions like passports, driver’s license, bank for having the “wrong” documents, and treated horrifically by doctors who’re aware of transness etc etc (and none of which challenges the binary system ever, no)–that FIRST you asked every single cis person of your acquaintance that question. You know, all those people walking around PRODUCING the bloody binary.

    I mean it is quite pleasing to learn this, I’ll let the people running various campaigns to have trans rights removed by scaremongering about those evol trans women using the toilet know that actually we don’t challenge the binary at all. I’m sure they’ll TOTALLY buy that and back that fuck off. And then they’ll throw us a “hurrah it’s a girl!” party.

    Also, there’ll be ponies and acrobats and a marching band.

  9. Helen G Says:

    And unicorns. PINK fucking unicorns.

  10. GallingGalla Says:

    hmmmm, hj, s’too bad i can’t wear those binary-reinforcing stiletto heels no more, i’ve nothing to spike your head with.

    o well i’ll just have to flatten it with my doc martens instead…

  11. Lisa Harney Says:

    HallowedJane posted a not-approved (never to be approved) comment on QT that referred to trans women as “the menz.”

    She’s a transphobic troll, nothing more.

  12. Helen G Says:

    Yeah, she left a total of three equally dull and tedious comments here, all within a matter of minutes. Two of those will never see the light of day and she’s now on moderation. She’s made a supportive comment or two over at CA’s place and I’ve a hunch that she may be related to Joni Rotten of the recently launched Great Transgender Swindle blog.

    Whatever, in any event, I agree that on the evidence so far she’s nothing more than an attention-seeking troll. And not even a particularly original or entertaining one. Nat and Lina get a much more loveable form of cluelessness on their blogs :)

  13. Zoe Brain Says:

    INVISIBLE pink unicorns.

    It’s about freedom. Freedom to conform to notions that are standard. Freedom not to conform too.

    Why should anyone conform to someone else’s political beliefs about reinforcing or subverting the “gender binary”? It’s an approximation, good for many, but not for all. Universal conformity is for ants.

    The arrogance shown by the Ultra-Orthodox Patriarchy, and their opposites, is all of a piece. They all claim the right to tell others what to do, and denigrate them if those others don’t buy their particular brand of BS.

  14. harriet Says:

    Zoe, I love you.

    Ok, I’ll calm down now, and just say that YES!


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