Despite Hurdles, Trans Dads Celebrate Pregnancy
If you passed Owen Miller on the street, at first, nothing might stand out.
“I'm fortunate. I'm a smaller guy, a smaller build, and I'm carrying all in the front. It actually looks like I have a beer belly," he says, laughing. “We're coming out of winter, too, so I get away with wearing big sweaters and heavy clothes."
Beneath that big sweater, Owen, a transgender man, is seven months pregnant with his first child, a baby girl that he and his husband, Blue Montana, are eager to welcome into their lives.
Owen, 31, first met Blue, who is also transgender, 12 years ago on social media. The two dated on and off, until Owen moved out West. They settled in Las Vegas and married just over a year ago.
The two men always dreamed of kids, but identifying as trans — female to male — they never expected their journey to fatherhood to look like this.
“If you had talked to me a year ago, I never would have thought pregnancy was something I wanted to do or was possible," Owen says.
Like most LGBT people, they assumed that adoption would be their surest path to fatherhood.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think it would be able to happen like this," Blue says. “We planned on fostering to adopt — and we're still considering that for the future. But I always wanted my own family and my own kids."
Blue, 41, first dreamed of becoming a parent in 2006. He had just left the Marines after 13 years and decided to transition because “every time I looked in the mirror, it shattered my heart." That was also the year he became the guardian to his newborn niece. Holding her, only hours after her delivery, made him believe in having his own, biological children someday.
But that's not all that motivates the couple. “It's about authenticity," Blue says. “We want to teach our daughter that she can do whatever she wants in life. It would be hypocritical if we taught that and not tried to do it ourselves. It's OK and valid for trans people to choose pregnancy. It's not abnormal; it's just a different opportunity at having a family."
Blue (left) and Owen
While online and in their local LGBT community, where they are both activists, Blue and Owen received much support, they also experienced a fair amount of pushback.
“We don't hide the fact that we are pregnant," Blue says. “And a lot of resistance came from the trans community. They asked, 'Why did you even bother to transition?' and 'What kind of men get pregnant?' This was a personal decision that we have to live with. Don't judge someone else's personal choice just because it's not for you."
Says Owen, straight to the point: “Society just isn't ready yet to accept pregnant men."
The two men experienced that firsthand with their own families. Both weathered tough relationships with their families after coming out — Blue with his father, Owen with his mother. Neither family was completely willing to accept them as trans men, let alone two men married to each other. But the pregnancy has offered Blue and Owen a slight bridge back to their families.
“It took my mother about 10 years to come around and start talking to me again after I came out," Owen says. “But after the first ultrasound, she's been really excited. This is her first grandkid. She still sees us as a 'straight' couple in her head. And I say, she can do whatever she wants. Whatever makes it easier for her."
Blue's father, who is in his 70s, doesn't see Owen as transgender and also views them as a 'straight' couple. The two men admit that they chafe a little at being boxed in. As activists in their Las Vegas community, they know how important identity is. But Blue wants his daughter to know her grandfather, and he accepts that “there are other battles to fight."
The men were considering adoption when Owen, who was taking injectable testosterone, began using a lower, “maintenance" dose. As they were exploring becoming foster parents, Owen started menstruating again. A friend offered to be their sperm donor, wishing to remain anonymous and letting both Owen and Blue be the only dads in their child's life. To their joy and surprise, Owen's later pregnancy test showed that miraculous plus sign.
“When we first found out, I wanted to buy more tests," Blue says, laughing. “I wanted to go buy the whole store's worth of pregnancy tests."
Afterward came doctor visits, hearing the heartbeat for the first time—and now, only a few short weeks away from the delivery date, the two dads are anxious to bring young Finley home. The opportunity, even after seven months of pregnancy, still seems surreal.
“They're letting us take a baby home," Blue says, true awe in his voice. “Like, who lets us do that?"