Non-Conforming Gender Identity

754 Words4 Pages
Cases of non-conforming gender identities have long elicited shock, befuddlement, and horror among those accustomed to a more normative gender structure. Non-conforming gender identities are readily apparent in cases involving transgender individuals as well as in atypical maternal and paternal roles which combat typical assumptions about the relationship between physical anatomy, gender constructs, and reproduction. But, although rare, there are cases where children are born within a non-traditional context, often creating repulsion amongst outside observers. Both the 1606 Spanish news pamphlet, “Portrait of a Monster,” and the contemporary case of Thomas Beatie reveal this complicated relationship between gender and reproduction. The fictional…show more content…
Although occurring 400 years later, the case of Thomas Beatie draws many parallels to the early 17th century Spanish tale. Beatie, born a woman, underwent transgender surgery to legally become a man and he also entered into a heterosexual marriage with a woman. Since his wife was unable to have a child though, Beatie, who did not have his female reproductive system surgically removed, decided to artificially inseminate himself. Thus, both tales show a conflict with traditional gender identities by showcasing pregnant men. While the ultimate message of the news pamphlet and Beatie differ quite drastically, the representations and responses to both cases were strikingly similar despite their time…show more content…
The child born of the Spanish man was described as a diabolical creature, fierce monster, and demonic figure that was yanked from the bowels of a man and immediately went about wreaking terror on the living world. Comparably, Beatie’s own brother felt that Thomas’ child would have been a monster and many doctors refused to assist Beatie with the medical procedures believing that helping to bring about a child in such a context would violate their moral, ethical and religious codes (Beatie, 2008). The public reaction to both stories was also similar. The pregnant man in Granada “shocked the world,” especially because the tale didn’t occur far off mystical lands of the New World or the Orient, but directly in what was thought of as civilized Europe. Beatie’s pregnancy, occurring within the context of an otherwise normal small town Oregon couple was also seen as particularly upsetting to the general American populace. In this regard, Beatie has been treated as some sort of carnival freak rather than an individual embodying shifting ideologies related to sexuality and gender in America. Thus, these stories indicate that despite major differences in message, location, and time, societal views towards the relationship between gender and pregnancy have remained relatively static, treating childbirth outside of a traditional realm as shocking and treasonous to the social

More about Non-Conforming Gender Identity

Open Document