Let them know this is not okay.

On April 4th, MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” ran a story about Thomas Beatie, the pregnant transman who recently appeared on Oprah with his wife. Scrupulously avoiding any appearance of reason or maturity, the anchors mocked Beatie and called him “disgusting.”

Fast forward to the 2:00 mark for the incredibly offensive segment.

I don’t have a lot of time for righteous indignation lately, what with the two babies and all, but after viewing this I clicked right over to the Morning Joe website, where there is a comment form that you can fill out and send in. I only wish it worked like one of the Harry Potter Howlers, and my epistle would arrive on the set and unfold itself in a glory of screaming paper, shredding itself with rage when it was finished.

I wrote:

I was completely disgusted not by the story of the pregnant transman (“Mr. Mom”, 4/4/08), but by your ignorant, bigoted, and offensive coverage of that story. I thought I was watching a group of junior high school students as you and your colleagues expressed such sophisticated opinions as “I’m going to be sick,” “we don’t want the facts,” and “I’m closing my eyes.”

As I sit here with my infant daughter in my arms, I am angered and saddened that you chose to heap your abuse upon a loving couple who have decided to have a child together. I am ashamed that I ever respected Mika Brzezinski back when I was growing up in Hartford, CT. Thank you, Ms. Brzezinski and co., for showing me how unworthy of that respect you are.

(There would have been more, but Wren was voicing her own discontent with the total lack of nipple in her mouth. A baby’s gotta eat, yo.)

(via Feministing)


13 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    MonkeyGurrl said,

    I don’t want to FF to the offensive part. MSNBC is not known (by me, at least) to be open-minded, and for crass, ignorant humor on the subject, I listened to the brief bit my radio station did. At least they KNOW they are being obnoxious.

    It can’t be said enough – People are frigging stupid.

  2. 2

    Emily said,

    I don’t watch msnbc, but that is absurd! I watched the Oprah episode the other day when the couple was on, and it is weird to look at this guy and think that he’s pregnant. But ya know – it’s the way they will have thier family. They’re entitled to have a family just like anyone else who wants one. It’s no ones business to tell them they can’t have one just because ‘he’ used to be a ‘she’ and isn’t exactly anymore. For goodness sakes, get over yourselves people!! I can’t stand the narrowmindedness of folks like these. It’s just sad.

  3. 3

    Nora said,

    This is why I can’t watch cable news channels anymore.

  4. 4

    SilliGirl said,

    Y’know, the most important thing here is that nobody should be calling anybody else disgusting. I didn’t watch it but I’m sure the segment was out of line.

    But that said, c’mon, this hoopla is being created by all that “Pregnant Man” crap. What should we expect when it’s presented as some kind of sensation or unusual phenomenon? This couple chose to go on Oprah, and take photos of him with his beard and swelling belly. But it’s not really that impressive that he’s pregnant if he has female reproductive organs. He’s not a “Pregnant Man” in a scientifically miraculous way. What’s different, or interesting, or (sadly) newsworthy about this couple is the gender variance from what is considered standard: the heterosexual union. But the fact that they’re pregnant is really no different from any person with female reproductive organs who gets artificially inseminated to have a baby. Am I totally off-base here?

    I would just like to repeat that regardless of why they chose to tell their story this way, it is completely shitty of anyone to call them disgusting. Two people in love who want to have a family are just that, no matter what genders are involved.

  5. 5

    Pam said,

    The only thing I’d be worried about is the hormonal influence of the androgens that were taken by the dad on the growing fetus. After all, it’s the interaction of the hormones in the womb and genetic information in the fetus itself that essentially makes your average human baby.
    That aside, I’m pro any loving couple having a baby and do not think that anyone should be called disgusting either.

  6. 6

    dp said,

    nope silligirl, not with you. he’s living as and passes for a man, so technically, the heterosexual vs homosexual union distinction doesn’t apply here. it’s not just that he has female organs – to go through sexual reassignment surgery but continue living with female genitalia means that he’s in some sort of scientific and gender no man’s land. i think that’s the thing that’s got everyone in a tizzy. plus, it takes more than just female reproductive organs to get pregnant and stay pregnant (ask any one of the millions of women who want to get pregnant but can’t do so naturally), so it’s somewhat remarkable that it’s actually working for him so far, despite all of the crazy hormone shifts that must be going on in his body. personally, i think it’s cool, i don’t judge him or his wife for their choice, and i also think it’s totally wrong for people to look on at them with disgust. i also haven’t watched the link and only know vague details about what’s involved in sexual reassignment surgery. i just think it’s more of a newsworthy achievement than you’re giving it credit for.

  7. 7

    dp said,

    errr. i re-read sg’s post and think i misunderstood it the first time. my bad! scratch out my first sentence, where i respond to hetero vs. homo stuff, since that’s not what you meant. but everything else still stands – he’s sort of a man, so it’s pretty darn cool to me that he’s pregnant.

  8. 8

    uccellina said,

    SG – I think you’re totally right, and that it shouldn’t be so shocking or sensational, but I disagree with the implicit suggestion that the couple is responsible for the sensationalism that is taking place. In the Advocate piece, Beatie details some of the discrimination they have dealt with throughout this pregnancy, including rejection by doctors, mockery by office staff, and his own brother’s callous and coldhearted response to Beatie’s loss of his first (ectopic) pregnancy. The response to such discrimination shouldn’t be quiet – it should be loud and public, and enable people, as Beatie says, “to embrace the gamut of human possibility and to define for themselves what is normal.” I think that Beatie and his wife are quite brave to take their experience into the public sphere, in an effort to tell their own story before it is told for them by others.

    Pam – Beatie stopped taking his testosterone injections nearly two years before getting pregnant. I think his endocrine system is functionally female for the duration. Honestly, I wish my reproductive system worked that well!

  9. 9

    SilliGirl said,

    dp, I was under the impression he was transgender (and has NOT had sexual reassignment surgery), which is why I said I don’t think it’s scientifically impressive. The fact that some women have trouble getting pregnant does not make it a big deal (again, scientifically speaking) when someone with working female reproductive organs does.

    Uccie, I agree that they are brave for telling their story, and obviously they have no control over what people do with it, but they clearly did a photo shoot and released the picture of him that I mentioned above, and I suspect that they had at least some say as to how they were portrayed by Oprah. Blasting “Pregnant Man” all over the media is slightly misleading, and clearly meant to be sensationalist. So I guess I do think they are partially responsible, although perhaps it was unavoidable. I don’t know. I just know when I first saw the headline, I thought, “huh, has someone really gotten a man pregnant?” And when I realized what the details were, my reaction was, “big deal.” (Well, and good for them and all that, I mean, I’m not NOT happy for them, but to me it feels like hearing about any pregnant stranger…I like babies, but really, people get pregnant every day.)

  10. 10

    dp said,

    i definitely read that he’d had some surgery, which is why it was remarkable to me that he was actually able to carry a baby. i know he didn’t go through a complete transformation – hence, the continued presence of his female genitalia – but thought that he was somewhere along the spectrum between being a man and a woman, though socially and legally representing himself as a man. so really, it’s kind of cool to me that you can look like a man and sort of BE a man and still have a female system that works that well. and really, you’re the main one who talks about the “miracle of life” and how cool it is when everything comes together to make a baby, and now you’re making it seem like birth is something to yawn at? i’m confused, girl! ๐Ÿ™‚ personally, i think pregnancy is always exciting, even from a scientific standpoint, and *especially* bc lots of women with working systems can’t seem to make it happen.

  11. 11

    uccellina said,

    No time to type, but: my understanding is that Beatie had top surgery (double mastectomy), but not bottom – genital – surgery. The bottom surgery for female to male transsexuals is still not very refined, and a lot of FTMs forgo it for that reason.

  12. 12

    SilliGirl said,

    Re: miracle of life versus my yawn. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I think both. I think it’s miraculous and amazing and wonderful when it happens to me or somebody I know, but in the general scope of life I don’t think it’s newsworthy.

  13. 13

    Melanie said,

    I completely agree with you. I was more than annoyed by the juvenile nature of what passed as news with regard to the story. I am amazed that anyone was amazed by this.

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