A tra*sg!nder man who has given birth to two children has opened up about his ‘tra-um-atic’ experiences during pregnancy, and has stre-ssed the need for better education on tra*s pregnancy among the medical comm-unity and the greater public.
Kayden Coleman, 34, has a seven-year-old named Azaelia and a 10-month old named Jurnee with his partner, and while he is clearly a proud father, he describes both of his pregnancies as ‘very tu!ultuous.’
Speaking to the Today show, the Houston-based advocate and educator has detailed how he was mi*gend-ered, turned away from care, and even offered an ab!rtion by mi!gui!ed medical professionals.
Kayden began tra*siti-oning from female to male in 2009, but has not had genital construction sur-gery, and has kept his female reproductive organs.
In March of 2013, he had a mastectomy to remove his bre-asts, and had to temporarily stop taking tes!oster*ne.
He was soon shoc*ed to discover he was five months pregnant with his first child, whom he gave birth to in 2014.
Last January, he was again stu-nned to learn that he was pregnant again, expecting a child with his boyfriend, Dominique, 30.
Kayden proudly shows off photos of both of his children on Instagram, but he is still s*ru*k by how particularly diffic!lt both of his pregnancies were.
‘There was a lot of !rauma,’ he said. ‘Most of that came from inside the birthing world, with medical professionals. There was a lot of questioning about my identity, a lot of !isgend*ring. Being told I shouldn’t be in spaces I was seeking care from because they were considered women’s spaces.
‘I was offered an ab!rtion a ridiculous amount of times,’ he added. Since most people ass-umed his stomach was just fat, he also missed out on some of the ‘perks’ of pregnancy, like people making him feel special.
But he admits that it was actually better that they didn’t know the truth. ‘I didn’t have to walk around in fear, wo*ryi!g that people wanted to inf*ict viol-ence on me,’ he said. ‘They thought I had a beer belly.’
But with the wisdom of his own experiences, he is now working to educate people about being tra*s and pregnant, and even hosts workshops on the subject.
‘Being tra*s inclusive involves more than simply knowing the terminology. It’s more than having a few tra*s friends. And it is certainly more than having the mere d*sire to be an ally,’ he said on Instagram. ‘It is work. Constant education. Understanding your privilege.’
‘It’s not about whether or not you quote-unquote agree with us. We don’t care about your acceptance or agreement. We just want equity and safe, inclusive care,’ he added.
That can mean a lot of things, including offering more literature and resources for pregnant tra*s people, using more inclusive language, and offering better protection for tra*s people when they seek medical care.
Today cites a National Tra*sge-nder Discrimination Survey that found that 28 per cent of respondents reported being har***d in medical settings. Two per cent even said they were victims of v*ole-nce in a doctor’s office.
In fact, 22 per cent of tra*sgender and non-binary people have home births instead of hospital births — compared to 1 per cent in the general population — which puts them at greater r!sk.
Postnatal care is important, too. Kayden said he suffered from postpartum dep-ress-ion and ‘very real su***l thoughts’ after the birth of his first child.
‘When I found out I was pregnant again, the first thing I thought to myself was, I don’t want to have another situation like that,’ he said on Instagram.
Still, pregnancy hasn’t been all bad: ‘I do enjoy parts of being pregnant like the fact it makes my beard thicker.’ Kayden previously opened up about his decision to tr!nsiti*n.
‘Even growing up as a girl I hat-ed my chest, I never wanted to wear a bra and I knew that even if I didn’t tr*nsit-ion I would have had a reduction,’ he said.
‘But I never had bottom su**ery because it’s expensive, there are often a lot of complications with it and it can numb things se*ua**y,’ he added.
‘I’ve never been sc-ar-ed of bac-klash because at the end of the day until these people are paying my bills or putting food on my table their opinions are just that.’
‘I knew I wanted to tra*sition in 2007 but at that time there weren’t very many resources and a female to male tra-nsi-tion wasn’t very common,’ he continued.
‘If you went on Google and searched for te*toste**e you would get some sketchy website based in India and it was ha*d to find binders for your chest.
‘I identified as a lesbian at the time, and my girlfriend was not okay with me tra!siti*ning and tried to talk me out of it, so it wasn’t until 2009 that I started the process.
‘I had to stop taking test-ost**one six weeks pr*** to the surgery and a month after I had it, I conceived my first child,’ he recalled. ‘I thought I was just gaining weight but actually I was growing a baby.’
He continued: ‘When Azaelia was born, there were a lot of people who said they felt sorry for her and that she would grow up and be confused.
‘They said that she should be taken away and called me a mo!ster. But it’s important for people to understand that we have full auton-omy over our bodies and we should do with it as we please.
‘We don’t really have any i!su** when we’re out with Azaelia,’ he added. ‘People just see two men and a baby because it’s not outwardly apparent that I carried her in my womb.
‘I think a lot of people just think that we had s** with a woman or adopted her and when she says she has to dads nobody questions her because we have taught her to be proud of who she is and where she came from.
‘But there’s been a lot of objection to my pregnancies in terms of the medical side of things. I’ve been told I don’t belong in certain places because I’m not a woman and I’ve been offered an ab!rt-ion more times than any woman would have been offered by medical staff.
‘When I had Azaelia, I had to switch my health insurance back from male but female and had to deal with them calling me Mrs. Coleman when I was in the waiting room.
‘I think it’s important that people understand that there are a plethora of tr*ns-identiti!s we are not all one and the same. Just because I went from female to male doesn’t mean I have a desire to date women or be hyper masc-uline or even be cis-gender.
‘I don’t have to ha** my body or object parts of it to be considered a real man,’ he said.
‘I’m lucky enough to have a working ut-erus and reproductive system that allows me to carry a child and create life so why should I have to reject that part of me just because I’m tra*s?’