ABC Again Touts Tale of Man Who 'Kept His Female Reproductive Organs'
"Good Morning America" on Wednesday continued to aggressively promote the story of the pregnant "man," featuring the show's sixth story since March 26. Once again, GMA co-host Chris Cuomo confusingly described the story of Thomas Beatie, a woman who took testosterone and had her breasts removed in a gender reassignment surgery in order to become a man.
On Wednesday, Cuomo explained, "The pregnant man, Thomas Beatie. He made headlines across the globe. Well, now, Beatie, who is biologically still a woman, has delivered a healthy baby." So, in other words, a woman gave birth to a baby? Perhaps describing the situation that way wouldn't have allowed GMA to devote six stories (thus far) to the topic. The segment was full of such puzzling statements. An ABC graphic screamed, "Pregnant Man's Baby: First Pictures of Susan Juliette." At one point, reporter Andrea Canning stated that Beatie, born Tracy LaGondino, had her breasts surgically removed and then, "...Still hoping to one day have a child, Thomas kept his female reproductive organs." His female reproductive organs?
The piece contained the same non-judgmental tone of the last five stories. Reporter Canning talked with People editor Patrick Rogers. (The magazine will feature baby pictures in its upcoming issue.) Rogers relayed Beatie's contention that, "Look at this baby. I know there's prejudice out there, but can anyone have hard feelings against this child right here?" At no time did Cuomo or Canning feature anyone questioning whether it was Beatie who would be subjecting this new baby girl to cruelty by choosing to engage in such spectacle.
On March 26, when Cuomo first anchored a segment on the story, he bubbled, "Oddity aside, biology aside, it is all about love of this child and as long as that's present, everything else is really going to be normal." On June 9, GMA correspondent Ryan Owens spouted platitudes such as "Today, Thomas says, different is normal." and "Love makes a family, he [Beatie] says, and that's all that matters."
So it was mildly surprising that on Wednesday's program, Cuomo ended the segment by mentioning his five-year-old daughter: "I can't wait for the next round of questions from Bella about all of this. What these pictures mean." Perhaps Bella shouldn't watch GMA.
A transcript of the July 23 segment, which aired at 7:37am, follows:
CHRIS CUOMO: We turn now to the story that continues to captivate and confuse. The pregnant man, Thomas Beatie. He made headlines across the globe. Well, now, Beatie, who is biologically still a woman, has delivered a healthy baby. In a People magazine, GMA exclusive, we have the first pictures of his new daughter featured in the People magazine on newsstands this Friday. And with it all is ABC's Andrea Canning. Good morning, Andrea.
ABC GRAPHIC: Pregnant Man's Baby: First Pictures of Susan Juliette
ANDREA CANNING: Good morning, Chris. Thomas Beatie, who began life as a female before undergoing a gender change in his 20s gave birth to a healthy, nine pound-five ounce baby girl named Susan Juliette. He and his wife are so excited about, quote, "daddy's little princess." Beatie said he hasn't even had time to catch his breath. Susan Juliette Beatie was born at 8:55 on a Sunday evening after her father endured 40 long hours of labor.
PATRICK ROGERS (Senior editor, People magazine): Thomas rode out the first 24 hours at home. His wife Nancy was his coach and then they went to the hospital where a midwife delivered the baby. It was not a C-section. It was a vaginal birth. Susan comes from Thomas' mother's name. Juliette is his wife Nancy's middle name. She weighed nine pounds and five ounces. So she was a big baby. Perfectly healthy.
CANNING: Four days later, the couple took their baby girl home to begin their new life as a family.
ROGERS: The baby sleeps all day and is up during the night. Nancy, who is 46 years old, is actually breast-feeding the child through a process called induced lactation that allows her to breast feed the child. Thomas will feed, feed their daughter with a bottle, with pumped breast milk and mainly he's just got the traditional role of a husband.
CANNING: Like any father, Thomas can't help but brag about his new daughter.
ROGERS: Thomas tells us he knows the personality of his daughter already, that she's intelligent and he says that she looks just like him, just like the mother.
CANNING: Thomas Beatie first made headlines five months ago when news of his pregnancy first became public. Born Tracy LaGondino, he began his transition at 24, taking testosterone and having his breasts surgically removed. But still hoping to one day have a child, Thomas kept his female reproductive organs. After meeting Nancy who couldn't conceive, the couple decided to inseminate him with donor sperm. Since then, the Beaties have faced a whirlwind of criticism for their decision, criticism they addressed with Oprah Winfrey.
THOMAS BEATIE: I feel it's not a male or female desire to want to have a child. It's a human desire.
OPRAH WINFREY: Okay.
BEATIE: And I'm a human and I have a right to have my own biological child.
CANNING: And now at three and a half weeks old, the daughter of the so-called pregnant man has made her public debut.
ROGERS: I think the Beaties are worried about how the world will receive their child but have been up very front about what they're doing and Thomas told us, you know, "Look at this baby. I know there's prejudice out there, but can anyone have hard feelings against this child right here?"
CANNING: And Nancy's two adult kids from her first marriage are on their way to Oregon to meet their new sibling and maybe do a little baby-sitting.
CUOMO: That'll be great. I can't wait for the next round of questions from Bella about all of this. What these pictures mean.
CANNING: That's a tough one, Chris.
CUOMO: You're telling me. For all of you, if want to read more about all of this, you can go to this week's People magazine. It'll be on newsstands this Friday.