It’s great and exciting news to hear that Jake and Hannah are going to be parents. It’s also great news that they are able to be open and share this part of their journey with the world. To help educate others and show that in fact being trans means you’re normal, can have a normal life, and do normal things, that normal people do is so incredibly important.
Yep you guessed it, I’m about to throw a but in here. I stress though that this ‘but’ isn’t to dampen Jake and Hannah’s amazing news in any way, which is absolutely great. Or the fact that they are sharing this news with the world. But…..what I find incredibly frustrating is the way these stories are all too often portrayed in the media incorrectly.
The daily mail says –
“For they are set to be the first parents in Britain who are both transgender.”
This part is not true. They might possibly be the first openly trans couple in Britain to be parents and the first to shout about it but they are certainly not the first trans couple to become parents in Britain.
I have a friend, a trans guy, who a few years ago he and his trans female partner both came off their hormones to conceive their child. Because both were trans and hadn’t had surgery that would make them infertile, they were able to conceive and carry the child themselves. So he carried the child and provided the egg, and she provided the sperm. So what’s even more interesting about my friend and his partner is that no surrogacy parent was needed.
As mentioned this was a few years ago, so the above article is not correct when stating they are the first parents in Britain who are both transgender. I’m sure there will have been more too that I, and the rest of the world, haven’t heard about.
I also read another article shortly after my friend gave birth to his child shouting about the first trans man to carry their own child. But yet again, nope, definitely not the first. I know of even more trans men, post transition, who have done this too, before that article was published.
So why does this keep happening? With repeated incorrect claims of ‘it’s the first time’? Because luckily, and contrary to many peoples beliefs and understanding, the majority of trans people ‘pass’. That means, like my friend and also myself, they are read by others as their chosen gender. So you would never know that person is transgender. My friend is also ‘stealth’ meaning he is not out to those around him, so not many people knew of his pregnancy and it certainly wasn’t in the media. As you can imagine, it’s not something many people would be comfortable sharing, so it goes unnoticed.
Because passing is possible most trans people disappear back into society without a trace. Living ordinary lives, doing the same every day ordinary things that everyone else does. So ‘ordinary’ in fact that no one knows about it.
Of course this is great for the trans person and is what many in our community wish and hope for. They can have their fairy tale ending and live happily ever after. What that’s not so great for is educating the world around us and moving understanding of trans issues forward.
This is where I wish the media would do a better job, not just educating people on the important issues such the wonderful news from Jake and Hannah in the above article, but reporting things accurately, finding out more accurate information and then letting the world know that in fact these things are happening around us without us even realising.
There are far more trans people around us than we realise, and this is a very important thing to understand if trans education is to move forward and enable a fairer, more understanding and accepting world for everyone to live in.
Yes some trans people do not pass, either because they are still too early in their medical journey, or perhaps they do not wish to transition medically (some choose to transition socially and this is enough for them), or for whatever physical reasons maybe they just won’t ever pass fully or 100% of the time, but what most people don’t realise is in fact how many trans people do pass and just blend in 100%. And how would people know this, because of course you never ‘spot’ a trans person who passes.
Here pops up another story that I’m passionate about around hormone blockers, as the use of blockers can prevent the permanent changes that happen at puberty that are the leading reasons for some trans people being unable to pass. However this is for another blog, or book.