Change the World

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?"

Read "Real Men Give Birth"

And "Paths to Gay Fatherhood: The Trans Dads"

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Change the World

Gay Dads Use 'TikTok' To Fight for Acceptance

Kevin and Ivo are fighting to normalize LGBTQ parents through TikTok, a growing social media platform

"Are we fearful we're going to turn our son gay?" Kevin DiPalma, a red-bearded man, asks the camera.

"No!" says Kevin's son, Nasim, says

"Are we worried about bullies when he gets to school?" Kevin asks next.

"Yes!" Nasim said.

Thus is the nature of the videos Kevin and his husband Ivo upload to their TikTok account, a widely popular and rapidly growing social media platform among young people.

Within 6 months, the family had 200,000 followers across their social media.

See a complication of some of their videos below!


Change the World

A Year of "Dadvocacy" with Dove Men+Care

This past year, Gays With Kids has partnered with Dove Men+Care to fight for paid paternity leave for *ALL* dads.

Throughout 2019, we've been advocating alongside our partners Dove Men+Care for paid paternity leave for *ALL* dads. We've encouraged our community of gay, bi, and trans dads, along with our allies, to sign the Pledge for Paternity Leave, and we've been part of the Dove Men+Care and PL+US Day of Action on Capitol Hill as a group of Dadvocates, lead by Alexis Ohanian, spoke with lawmakers and shared their paternity leave stories.

We created six videos of dads in our community sharing their paternity leave stories, numerous social posts, and over eight articles on the topic. We've helped collect close to 40,000 signatures for this vital cause, but the fight continues.

We sat down with one of the Dadvocates who played a huge role in organizing the Day of Action, Vice President / General Manager at Unilever, Skin Cleansing & Baby Care USA Nick Soukas, for a Q&A on his thoughts on and experiences of the day itself.

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Change the World

This LGBTQ Children's Book Is About "Everyday Adventures"

"Little Panda's First Picnic," is a children's book that's about an adventure — where the parents just happen to be LGBTQ.

Guest post written by Denise Sensiba

When was the last time you read a book to your child that didn't make a big deal about the parents being LGBT and instead just followed the family on their everyday adventures? Or when was the last time you read a children's picture book that was explaining in detail what a heterosexual couple is? Probably never.

As a parent, prior nanny, early childhood music educator, and current psychotherapist, I have read my fair share of children's books and have always found it to be an enjoyable part of my life. Unfortunately, LGBT families have an incredibly small fraction of the children's books market. The few books that I encountered about same-sex parents did not follow the family as a normal family but focused on nothing more than the same-sex parents. They don't take you on adventures, or teach everyday educational lessons that our children need. Some of these books even deliver a weird message in between the lines saying, "see, same-sex couples can be loving parents." I wondered how that is teaching our kids that there is nothing unusual about LGBT families?

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A Gay Dad Gains Clarity After a Health Scare

A recent health scare helped give Erik Alexander clarity.

Sometimes fear can cripple the mind and hinder ones judgement. Having children of my own, I have come to grips with accepting the things I cannot change and learned to take action when there is no other choice. When it comes to my own personal health, the future and well being of my family gives me all the clarity I need to make the right decision about any kind of health scare.

This episode is dedicated to all the parents out there that are going through or have gone through similar situations.

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Gay Dad Family Stories

This European Couple Became Dads Through a U.K.-Based Surrogacy Program

Janno, from Estonia, and Matthias, from Belgium, were accepted into the "Childlessness Overcome Through Surrogacy" Program.

Janno Talu, an accountant, and Matthias Nijs, an art gallery director, were born in different parts of Europe. Janno, 39, is from Estonia, and Matthias, 28, is from Belgium. Their paths crossed when the two moved to London, each from their different corners of the European Union.

Janno relocated to London earlier than Matthias, when he was 24, and his main reason for the move was his sexuality. "Although Estonia is considered one of the more progressive countries in Eastern Europe, when it comes to gay rights, it is still decades behind Western society in terms of tolerance," said Janno. "And things are not moving in the right direction." In 2016, same-sex civil union became legal, but the junior party in the current coalition government is seeking to repeal the same-sex partnership bill. "In addition," Janno continued, "they wish to include the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman in the country's constitution. Even today, there are people in Estonia who liken homosexuality to pedophilia, which is why I decided to start a new life in the UK, where I could finally be myself."

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Surrogacy for Gay Men

Interested in Surrogacy? Check Out These Bay Area Events This Weekend

If you're in the Bay Area this weekend, two major events are happening that will be of interest for dads-to-be and surrogacy advocates: the Men Having Babies San Francisco Conference, and the SF Advocacy and Research Forum for Surrogacy and LGBT Parenting (ARF)

If you're in San Francisco or the surrounding area, clear your calendar this weekend. Two events are happening simultaneously that are significant for dads-to-be AND surrogacy advocates: the Men Having Babies San Francisco Conference, and the SF Advocacy and Research Forum for Surrogacy and LGBT Parenting (ARF). For an outlines of both events, check out below.

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News

Gay Dads Show Up at Boston Event to Drown Out Anti-Trans Protesters

When Trystan Reese found out protesters were planning to show up to an event in Boston he was presenting at, he put out a call to his community for help — and gay dads showed up.

A couple months ago, Trystan Reese, a gay, trans dad based in Portland, Oregon, took to Instagram to share a moving, if incredibly concerning, experience. Reese, who works with Family Equality Council, was speaking at an event in Boston, and learned before his appearance that a group of protesters were planning to attend.

"As a trans person, I was terrified to be targeted by anti-LGBTQ people and experienced genuine fear for my own safety," Trystan wrote. In response, he did what many LGBTQ people would do in a similar situation — reach out to his community in Boston, and ask for their support. "And they came," he wrote. But it wasn't just anyone within the LGBTQ community that came to his defense, he emphasized — "you know who came? Gay men. Gay dads, to be exact. They came, ready to block people from coming in, ready to call building security, ready to protect me so I could lead my event. They did it without question and without reward. They did it because it was the right thing to do."

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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