PHOENIX — A transgender man who made worldwide headlines after he married and gave birth to three children will appeal an Arizona judge’s ruling denying him a divorce from his wife of 10 years, his attorneys said on Tuesday.
Thomas Beatie, 39, was born a woman but began living as a man in his 20s, initiating hormone treatments, undergoing breast-removal surgery and legally changing his name, though he kept his female reproductive organs.
He married his wife, Nancy, in Hawaii in 2003, a year after his double mastectomy, and went on to bear three children, conceived through artificial insemination and donor sperm and Beatie’s own eggs.
He drew worldwide media attention, and stoked public debate about the boundaries of gender identity, when he went public with his first pregnancy during a 2008 guest appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show, in which the thinly bearded Beatie was shown undergoing an ultrasound examination.
The birth of his first child, a girl, at an Oregon hospital in July 2008, was announced by People magazine, and Beatie became widely known as “the pregnant man.” His second and third children followed in 2009 and 2010.
Now an Arizona resident, Beatie filed for divorce last year, seeking dissolution of his marriage and hoping to wed his new girlfriend.
Last Friday, Maricopa County Family Court Judge Douglas Gerlach ruled that Beatie had failed in his divorce petition to prove that he was a man when wed in 2003, and thus was unable to show that he and his wife were a heterosexual couple.
Because same-sex marriages are not recognized as valid in Arizona, Gerlach held that he could not grant Beatie a divorce.
The judge on Friday approved a property and custody settlement for the couple, but Beatie said he was pressing ahead for a full-fledged divorce.
“This is not an easy fight, but it’s the right fight,” Beatie said at a press conference in Phoenix, accompanied by his attorneys and his girlfriend.
I’m standing (up) for my identity and my ability to have biological children. It doesn’t make me any less of a man … I’m a man, I’m a husband and a father,” he added. (Reuters)