A transgender Oregon man is overjoyed after giving birth to his first biological child this month.
Trystan Reese, 34, was born a girl — but despite beginning hormone therapy a decade ago, he has kept his ‘original parts’, enabling him to get pregnant.
Now, after experiencing the heartbreak of a miscarriage last year, he and his husband Biff Chaplow have finally welcomed their first biological child into the world, a baby boy named Leo.
The Portland couple shared their elation over the news with several news outlets, with Trystan telling WGN9 he was ‘overjoyed’ and ‘elated’.
‘The moment he was born was just like a pure moment of bliss, like the happiest moment of my life,’ his husband Biff added in an interview with Fox19. ‘Just to see the very beginning of Leo, of his life, was just amazing.’
Leo already has two older siblings, a brother and sister, whom Trystan and Reese adopted after Biff’s sister was found unfit to be their guardian — but when they first got together, it didn’t occur to them they’d have biological children.
‘I thought I was giving up having a family — I didn’t even think of it as an option,’ Trystan told Buzzfeed. ‘I didn’t ever dream of having, or wanting to have, a biological child. One, I didn’t think it would be possible, and two, it took a long time for me to be strong enough in my identity as a man to be able to do that.’
In fact, when Trystan first brought it up with his husband, Biff said no — and took some time to come around to the idea. Now, though, they are thrilled with the decision.
The news of a healthy baby boy was especially joyous considering Trystan has suffered a miscarriage at six weeks last year.
Shortly after, they began trying again under the supervision of doctors, with Trystan stopping giving up his testosterone treatment in order to conceive healthily.
Trystan initially wanted to wait for a year before he and Biff had another go at conceiving, but given the complications of restarting and then stopping the testosterone again led the dads to speed up their plans.
‘I think my body is awesome. I feel like it’s a gift to have been born with the body that I did, and I made the necessary changes so that I could keep living in it, both through hormones and through other body modifications,’ Trystan wrote on Facebook.
It took longer the second time for the couple to conceive, and they even became worried that they had missed their ‘only chance.’
But then, six months into trying, Trystan woke up feeling sick. After Biff took the kids to school, Trystan took a pregnancy test and discovered the good news.
Luckily, this time things were different, though they felt spooked enough by the miscarriage to become obsessed with every little detail in the early days. Trystan began ‘obsessively’ weighing himself and took multiple pregnancy tests in the weeks to come.
When it came time for the six-week ultrasound appointment, the couple called ahead to the OB-GYN’s office to let them know the patient was trans.
‘I would say it’s unique,’ Reese admitted after giving birth. ‘I understand that people are not used to two men having a biological child.’
Trystan felt the advanced warning was a necessary precaution, based on his experience as a transgender individual.
‘I can feel someone looking at my face and searching for the remnants of womanhood, he said on the WNYC podcast the Longest Shortest Time. ‘They kind of squint their eyes a little bit and I can tell they’re trying to take away my beard, they’re trying to de-transition me in their heads.’
However, his fears were happily unfounded, and he says he hasn’t face ‘an ounce of transphobia’ from anyone he’s met.
‘Every person wouldn’t even bat an eye that there was a dude with a beard claiming to be pregnant who is here to get bloodwork done — and I have been trans long enough to know that doesn’t come magically,’ he said.
Though stories like these are incredibly high-profile, Trystan thinks trans men having babies will remain unique.
‘I think trans men having babies will continue to be rare — though it certainly happens and we are nowhere near the first,’ he said. ‘Most trans men don’t have the relationships with their body that would allow them to engage in something that still feels so rooted in femininity. It’s something that their mothers did, their sisters did.
‘I hope that some of that is social, that it isn’t an inherent part of being transgender. I hope more people will get to the place that I’ve gotten to from the support of the people around me. I hope the negative stigma around it lessens. People won’t say, “Well, you’re not really a man then.”‘