Following a miscarriage last year, a trans man and his husband in Portland are anticipating the arrival of their first biological child in July.
Trystan Reese and Biff Chaplow got married in 2013. They're already dads to two children they adopted from Chaplow's sister in 2015 after caring for them for four years. In 2016, Reese got pregnant for the first time, but miscarried at six weeks.
The couple was heartbroken. They originally planned to wait another year before trying to get pregnant again, but because of the complications of going on and off T, they ultimately decided to start trying again immediately.
Six months later, they were starting to worry that they may have missed their only chance when they finally got a positive pregnancy test.
“I have been having a blast being pregnant, Reese said on a recent episode of The Longest Shortest Time podcast. "It’s been really awesome.”
The expectant parents are being very public about their pregnancy in hopes of raising awareness and promoting visibility. In addition to their podcast appearance, they did a a 45-minute, live Q&A on Facebook last month to answer questions about what it's like to be a pregnant trans man.
“I want it to be easier for the next person that comes along that maybe doesn’t have the same resources and support that I have,” Reese explained on the podcast.
Although they're happy to share their story, Reese still says it can still be difficult to be a pregnant trans man in in public. He makes an effort to hide his baby bump while he's out and about.
“I know how to keep myself safe,” he explains. “I’m just trying to blend in on the train and get to work safely every day.”
He also shared that their daughter, Hailey, wants to tell everyone she meets that she has two gay dads, and that one is trans and pregnant. While they appreciate her enthusiasm and pride, they've also had to caution her against telling strangers too much over concerns that not everyone will respond kindly.
In a similarly cautious move, the couple called their doctor's office well ahead of their six-week ultrasound appointment and asked them to make a note in their chart explaining that Reese is transgender in order to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
In the past, Reese says, he's had experiences where he could "feel someone looking at my face and searching for the remnants of womanhood. 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."
Fortunately, their medical providers have been more than accommodating.
"There just hasn't been an ounce of transphobia from anyone I have come in contact with," Reese says. "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."