His pregnancy was a media sensation in 2008. Today, Beatie lives a relatively quiet life with his wife and children, working as a stockbroker in Phoenix.
Thomas Beatie with his wife, Amber Beatie, whom he met when she was working at the day care his children attended. “She pretended like she didn’t know who I was, but she did,” Beatie said. “Her family was joking that she was going to fall in love with ‘the pregnant man,’ and she did.”
It’s been thirteen years since Thomas Beatie sat down for his first TV interview and told Oprah — and the world — how he could possibly be pregnant, as a man.
Today the concept of a transgender man giving birth is hardly novel, although research, education and awareness are still severely lacking. But society has come a long way, and so has Beatie. In honor of Pride Month, the father of four, now a stockbroker in Phoenix, spoke to TODAY Health about how he thinks the trans community benefited from the media attention his pregnancy garnered, and how he and his family are doing today.
“When my story came out, there wasn’t a single person in the public eye as a transgender man — most people had never heard of it,” Beatie, 47, said. “This was pre-Chaz Bono. This was pre-Caitlyn Jenner. This was before anyone knew anything. It was a first exposure for a lot of people. And then on top of that, they can give birth! I think exposing the importance of fertility for trans people was a huge eye-opener.”
At Home With Thomas And Nancy Beatie
Beatie and his wife at the time, Nancy, pose for a portrait in 2008, when Beatie’s pregnancy made worldwide news. Kristian Dowling / Getty Images
In 2008, after he wrote an essay for The Advocate about his pregnancy — a piece he wrote, he said, because he was desperately seeking advice from anyone who had been in his shoes, and fearful that his daughter would be taken away by authorities — Beatie’s story spread around the world. Photos of Beatie cradling his stomach — a bare, enlarged, pregnant stomach — achieved infamy. Requests for TV and magazine interviews rushed in. He wrote a book about his experience titled “Labor of Love,” became the subject of multiple TV specials and even went on to star in a French reality show.
“Everything was a whirlwind,” he said. “But I still don’t regret it.”
After having his first child, Susan, in 2008, Beatie went on to give birth to two more children with his then-wife, Nancy Beatie. The couple separated in 2012 and, in 2016, Beatie married his second wife, Amber Beatie, nee Nicholas, who worked at the day care his children had attended. They had a baby together in 2018, whom Amber gave birth to.
Thomas Beatie And Family Enjoy Day At Amusement Park
Beatie and his ex-wife with their three children at an amusement park in Sweden in 2011. Today the children are 11, 12 and 13. Christopher Hunt / TB / Getty Images
Today, Beatie and his family live a relatively quiet life in Phoenix, although Beatie occasionally takes on public-speaking jobs or small acting roles (maybe you saw him as an extra in a U-Haul commercial). His older children — now 11, 12 and 13 — split their time between his house and their mom’s house, about ten miles away. When they’re all home, they swim together in their pool, play checkers or test out new recipes.
“We’re on this keto kick right now, so we’re trying to make cool dishes together,” Beatie said. “We’re going to make some healthy ice cream.”
Yet Beatie hasn’t ever been able to fully shake the moniker he earned in 2008, at the time splashed across the covers of tabloids: “the pregnant man.” For a while he thought he’d done just that at the financial center where he works.
“I thought I melted back into society, that I could just walk down the hall and be anonymous,” he said. But soon enough, word got out about his public past. Not that he minds exactly.
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“I don’t see anything wrong with being a pregnant man,” Beatie said. “I was so proud to be a dad, and I’m still proud to be a dad. I’m so proud that I was the one to bring my kids into the world. It’s kind of like a badge.”
Mostly, he marvels at how much the world, while still very much flawed, has changed since his story was in the spotlight. This was a time before most people understood gender identity and what it means to be transgender, let alone etiquette for speaking about someone who was. Beatie was misgendered and deadnamed (when someone uses the name a person was born with, rather than the name they currently identify with) in the media. He was the butt of jokes on late-night talk shows. In one interview with Beatie, Barbara Walters referred to one of his maternity photos as a “disturbing image.”
“It was really hard when my story came out,” Beatie said. “People were saying things on TV and in the media that if they came close to saying today, they would be immediately fired. I’m just in shock about how wild, Wild West it was back then.”
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People were saying things on TV and in the media that if they came close to saying today, they would be immediately fired.
Trystan Reese, a trans advocate in Portland, Oregon, was working for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, specifically focused on trans issues relating to culture change and policy inclusion, at the time when Beatie’s story became public.
“I remember thinking it was a little early to tell this kind of story publicly,” Reese told TODAY. “Culture change is developmental. It takes people time to understand the kindergarten level of transgender issues … this was Ph.D.-level stuff. I was really scared for him.”
Reese said that had Beatie been more involved with the trans equality movement, he and others would have warned him against sharing his story.