A transgender man who gave birth to his son is complaining about medical staff constantly calling him “mother” and claims it is “important” to stop automatically associating pregnancy with being a woman.
Bennett Kaspar-Williams, 37, of Los Angeles, first realized he was trans about a decade ago, in 2011, but began transitioning three years later. Six years later, in 2017, he met Malik, his future husband, and they married in 2019.
The couple decided they wanted children and weighed their options, with Bennett ultimately deciding he would feel comfortable trying to conceive and carry a child.
“I always knew there was a chance my body could achieve pregnancy, but it wasn’t something I wanted to do until I learned how to separate my body’s function from any concept of ɢᴇɴᴅᴇʀ,” he explained.
“Once I learned to see my body as a tool and not a collection of ɢᴇɴᴅᴇʀ sᴛᴇʀᴇᴏᴛʏᴘᴇs, I realized that I could be the person I wanted to be and bring a child into the world. “No one can ever really know if it’s possible to have children until they try – being born with a ᴜᴛᴇʀᴜs is no guarantee of ᴄᴏɴᴄᴇᴘᴛɪᴏɴ or pregnancy,” he added.
“That’s why it’s so important to stop defining “womanhood” in terms of “motherhood,” because it’s a false equivalence to say that all women can be mothers, that all mothers carry their children, or that all people who have children are mothers. None of this is universally true,” he stressed.
Bennett found out she was pregnant in March 2020, but his joy soon turned to anxiety due to the ᴘᴀɴᴅᴇᴍɪᴄ.
“We’ve been trying for a while, so we expected the process to take longer than it did,” he said. “It was only a week before we went into ʟᴏᴄᴋᴅᴏᴡɴ in March 2020, so my good mood was very quickly replaced by anxiety around the ᴘᴀɴᴅᴇᴍɪᴄ and how I was going to keep me and my baby safe.”
He gave birth by C-sᴇᴄᴛɪᴏɴ in October 2020, giving birth to a baby boy named Hudson.
But while he was in hospital, Bennett says he was constantly ᴍɪsɢᴇɴᴅᴇʀᴇᴅ, even with a ʙᴇᴀʀᴅ and flat chest.
“The only thing that made me unhappy about my pregnancy was being ᴍɪsɢᴇɴᴅᴇʀᴇᴅ when receiving medical care,” he said.
“The business of pregnancy – and yes, I say business, because the entire health care system in America is focused on selling this concept of ‘motherhood’ – is so intertwined with gender that it was hard to avoid being misunderstood. Even with a ʙᴇᴀʀᴅ, a flat chest and a male ID, they couldn’t stop calling me ‘mom’, ‘mother’ or ‘ma’am,'” he explained.
“That which was causing discomfort – nothing about being pregnant felt “feminine” to me – in fact, I think carrying a child, isolated due to the ᴘᴀɴᴅᴇᴍɪᴄ and going to all the hospitals and appointments alone was the hardest, bravest thing I’ve ever done. Does it ever get easier? Nothing makes me feel more empowered than being able to say I’m a dad who created my own child,” he continued.
Today, he says the best thing about being a dad is watching Hudson share his new discoveries. “When he finds out he can do something new, and he runs to me yelling ‘Daddy!’—that’s my best moment,” notes Bennett.
In addition, he says that it is beautiful to see how free the children are of prejudice. “Children are these amazing beings who don’t see the world with the same bias as adults,” he emphasizes.
“For my son, there is nothing more natural and normal than having a Dada and a Papa [sic], and when he is old enough, he will also learn that his dad was the one who gave birth to him and took care of him so that he could come into the world. Children see love, patience and commitment. My son will no doubt accept that it came from me, as he accepts all the love and beauty around him – with open arms,” he concludes.