When daddy is also the mommy

So, here’s Ellen goodman’s take on it. Does anybodt have an aspirin?


ONE OF THE expressions my grandmother uttered with feeling and frequency was “One man should have one baby.” I never knew if this was a wish or a curse, but I’m pretty sure she never imagined Thomas Beatie.

For those of you who do not watch “Oprah” or read tabloids, Beatie is “The World’s First Pregnant Man.” While the title of “first” is in dispute, Beatie is certainly the most public transgender poster parent to have a baby bump plastered across the media. And now - pass the cigars - he has delivered the baby.

Unlike Oprah, I will spare you many of the medical details. Let us just say that Thomas was born Tracy and socialized enough into a traditional female role to be a finalist in the Miss Hawaii Teen USA contest. Then, a decade ago she had what we used to call a sex change operation but what some now call sexual realignment surgery. She had her body realigned to fit her self-image.

At this point, she changed pronouns and so will I. Sometime after the surgery, Thomas married Nancy in Oregon, a state that would have banned Tracy from wedding Nancy, but never mind. Nancy, who had two grown children, no longer had a uterus but wanted to be a mother again. Thomas, who had retained a uterus and ovaries, wanted to be a father.

Here is where the story becomes less of a freak show - Bearded Man Gives Birth! - and more like an inevitable next step of medicine on the march, or on the makeover if you prefer.

It is only recently that we began to look at the human body as a template to be altered as we please. I’m not comparing sexual reassignment surgery to liposuction, but if Thomas removed his breasts to fit the male model, how many women enlarge them to fit the female model? For that matter, it’s only recently that we could reach into the pillbox and pull out male and female hormones.

Add to that the expanding gamut of reproductive technologies. Over Beatie’s 34-year lifespan we have subdivided the word “mother” into its many parts. We now have genetic, gestational, and birth mothers, as well as the mothers who actually raise children. We have egg donors and surrogates. Grandmothers have carried their own grandchildren. Sisters have delivered their own nieces.

Indeed, on the list of reproductive technologies, the Beatie baby-making project was as basic as a turkey baster. The sperm came from an anonymous donor. They used artificial insemination and natural childbirth. But from a social point of view, Thomas and Nancy are going to have an awful lot more 'splaining to do to their child.

“In a technical sense, I see myself as my own surrogate,” said Beatie. But in a technical sense, he is not a surrogate. He’s the genetic mother and the gestational mother. He told Oprah that he has “a right to a biological child.” But what he actually has is a uterus and ovaries.

So, in the same technical sense, this baby has two mommies, the birth mother and the social mother. The baby also has two daddies, the sperm donor and the social dad. In a technical sense, Thomas is both birth mother and social father.

There’s no way to opt out of the medical march even if we wanted to. But what made Beatie tabloid fodder is that in a he/she world of opposite pronouns and sexes, he represents the trans in gender, the mind-spinning possibility that gender is not either/or but both/and.

In the end, the most bizarre part of the story may be the Beaties’ retro insistence on their titles. “He will be the father and I will be the mother,” said Nancy. Having twisted all the biological roles, having bent all our biological images of what it means to be a father or mother, they seem to have asserted old social roles. Let us hope he changes diapers.

Call Thomas a man with a uterus or a woman with a - never mind. But Sigmund Freud notwithstanding, this is another way in which anatomy is no longer destiny.

As for the baby? It’s A Girl! At least for the moment.

First of all, I’ll praise God when Oprah is thrust into Hell.
This ghastly story leaves me speechless for a multitude of reasons. It’s a mad world.
To Hermaphroditic fans… you’ll never succeed… that’s clear for those with eyes to see.

I should hope not! Wouldn’t it be more charitable to pray for her conversion?

This ghastly story leaves me speechless for a multitude of reasons. It’s a mad world.

That I can agree with.


Please, please reconsider those words. The eternal destruction of another is never anything that we should rejoice in, even when it is necessary and fitting.

Oprah is beloved of God as much as you and I are. Do you think God will rejoice if Oprah ends up in hell? Or if you or I do?

I hold no brief for her. I think she has done enormous damage to the culture of life. But I would sooner pray and hope that she is saved, rather than wait to pop a cork should she fall short.



You were quicker on the draw than I.


While I am no fan of Ms. Winfrey, I have no clue why you credit here with “enormous damage” to culture. She does seem a very spiritual person and has certainly surrounded herself with people who are highly regarded in being compassionate and loving people. I wonder why you think she is so far unsaved? Perhaps another thread, sorry if I’m off topic.

Color me disgusted. If this ‘man’ is transgendered, but still has its reproductive organs, then it is still a woman pretending to be a man.

I agree with this


For a start as to why I credit her with enormous damage to the culture, please see this Wikipedia article, particularly the section titled, “Media Counterculture.”


As to why I think she is so far unsaved: I don’t know the status of her soul. I know the status of my own in far more detail than I know the status of hers, and I pray for myself. I was executing no judgment of her… quite the opposite, I was asking another forum member to reconsider his severe judgment of her.


Maybe i misunderstand transgender surgery…but what makes a woman an actual man after the srugery? All the organs are fake organs, correct? Even if they rmove female organs and add false male organs, they are just covering up the fact that the person is still a woman, just looks a little bit like a man. Am I missing simetihng here? Can a person actually, fully, change genders (medically)?

A woman with a short haircut and dressed in men’s clothes is still a what? - A WOMAN. DUH.

No. They can take on the “appearance” of being a particular genre, but in the scheme of things, no medical procedure or drug therapy can change a man into a woman and vice versa.

You’re not missing anything…you’ve got it right on! :thumbsup:

I’m just puzzled that people make a big deal of this “man” having a child, cause as far as i can tell, this is just a woman who dresses like a man, so thats nothing special…

I wasn’t trying to say men can become women and vice versa, i was just posing the question…

It’s more than that as she has had her body mutilated meaning she can’t naturally conceive and filled her body full of male hormones which may harm the baby.

I see, you prefer homosexuals to remain closeted and quiet. She and other media talk show people have been open to discussing this issue publically. Okay. If you want to grant her the distinction of creating so much effect on the world be my guest. I frankly had never thought of that, since the media in general, both news, and entertainment has been in the forefront of accepting people as they are, racially and sexually. But of course, we love the homosexual do we not? Just hate their confounded need for physical closeness like other human beings.

Frankly I stopped watching her years ago, mostly because of her elitism and tendency to monopolize great guests with her own opinions instead of letting experts give theirs. You must assume that the average person has little personal control over what they think if you think she is responsible for making America homosexually welcoming. I tend not to give her so much credit, though I would admit its hard to watch book sales sky rocket just because she finds a book interesting.

Still I must say I have always found her to be a spiritually enlightened person and she had a year wherein she had some of the most respected spiritual guides in the world on her show. She seems deeply and honestly related to God. That she envisions him differently than deeply orthodox Catholics is obvious, but then that is also true of most mainline protestants. While I find Catholicism works best for me, I don’t tend to impose my tenets on those who seem genuinely faithful to God but hold to others.

This person has a uterus and carried a baby. Calling her a man is ridiculous.

I agree with this too. I listened to a woman call in to a morning radio talk show, and the woman was an advocate for trans gender persons, and she actually felt that this harmed the trans gender community. She said that, in her opinion, since the Thomas retained his uterus and ovaries, then he isn’t really a man, just a really butch lesbian, and I agree with her assertion. She also felt that it would harm the trans gendered community because it implied that trans gendered individuals, because trans gendered individuals must make a commitment to live as a member of the other gender, and yet this man seems to straddle the line, being neither male or female. She’s probably right.

I used to wear a short haircut and male clothing. I knew I wasn’t a male on that account.
Taking male hormones doesn’t turn a woman into a man. Feeling like a man doesn’t do it either. Gender is the psychological/social perception of biological sex. One person in a thousand has some intersex traits at birth, or is genetically one sex and looks like the other. Such people need to find out what their genes say. If the genes are ambiguous, they need to choose what they are. The rest of us are what we looked like at birth. That doesn’t mean a woman has to be stylish, love to shop, like babies and want a husband, nor that a man must be athletic, crude, and want a wife. But the baby’s birth mom isn’t a man named Thomas and never will be.

Her comment puts a finger on the divide in the Trans community. Some firmly believe that the two sexes are immutable and that a person has to pick a side and conform to social expectations of being male or female - these people would reject the transgender label, preferring transsexual. But others see the sexes/genders as being on a spectrum and believe each individual should adopt what works best for themselves - these people embrace the transgender label.

I think Thomas Beatie would be considered transgender rather than transsexual.

There’s just no pleasing some… ahem… people.

Such a debate concering “trans-” communities makes me happy! I hope all the different trans-groups keep debating themselves right off the political map. Less perverts for us to have to contend with in trying to save the sinking ship that is America. Once the passing fad of LBGT (when will “Cat Man” be represented?) is gone, we can start treating these poor peoples’ psychological disorders in earnest.

Until then… you can’t help those that don’t want help, especially Oprah.

God Bless,

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.