It is not often that most of the women on “The View” agree on a controversial subject, but when Sherri Shepherd declared. “A man does not have a vagina,” nobody contradicted her.
That fact shouldn’t be in dispute, but in the case of Thomas Beatie, it is. Beatie, a woman who had a sex change to become a “man,” kept her female reproductive parts and has been labeled, incorrectly, by most of the media as the first “pregnant man.”
But Shepherd correctly pointed out the obvious: “The baby came out of a vagina. A woman has a vagina,” and called Beatie “legally a man, but is a woman who had a baby.” And while Barbara Walters was hesitant to completely agree that Beatie is a woman, she did not contradict the statement either.
Talk about an awkward moment. On CNN’s Larry King Live on Monday, the septuagenarian host asked the “pregnant man” Thomas Beatie and his wife, Nancy, about the mechanics of their relationship. Beatie, who was born a woman and retains female reproductive organs, became a celebrity last year when the media dubbed him the world’s first “pregnant man.”
Thomas and Nancy Beatie appeared on Monday’s Larry King Live to talk about how they are expecting their second child next year. At one point, King decided to ask the pair about their sex life:
LARRY KING: Where did you learn how to do this? From the Internet, you said, right? You can't have the normal kind of intercourse, right?
Since March 26, 2008, the ABC network has devoted nine segments or 64 minutes and 48 seconds to the "pregnant man" Thomas Beatie, including three stories in the last four days on either "20/20" or "Good Morning America." On Monday, GMA weekend anchor Kate Snow invited Beatie, who was born a woman but kept her reproductive organs after having transgender surgery, to discuss the autobiography "Labor of Love," which recounts the author's first pregnancy and now another. Snow announced that Beatie would be appearing "to tell us what his definition of family and fatherhood is all about."
Since GMA first discussed the story on March 26, the program has gone back to the subject again and again. Despite hyping the transgendered birth, most stories acted as though there was nothing at all controversial about the topic. News anchor Chris Cuomo told a doctor in March, "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."
Trumpeting an "exclusive," ABCNews.com is proud to announce that transsexual Thomas Beatie is pregnant again. As we've documented at NewsBusters, the biologically female pregnant "man" was the mid-summer fascination of ABC News both in broadcast and on its Web site, ABCNews.com. Beatie gave birth in July but is preggers again and that's enough to make the Breaking News e-mail circuit at ABCNews.com.
Here's the text of the Breaking News alert I received in my inbox around 11:30 a.m. EST today:
"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?
Mixed in with stories on cooking for the Fourth of July and how soldiers deployed in Iraq were spending their Independence Day, the July 4 "Good Morning America" managed to give nearly two full minutes to a story on Thomas Beatie, more commonly known as the "pregnant man," and "his" newly born daughter on Friday.
Unsurprisingly, the segment featured only a positive take on the situation, offering no sound bites questioning the normalcy of the child’s life. Reporter Ryan Owens touted, "The little girl's conception may have been complicated, but her parents insist her life now will be normal."
The designated "expert" of the segment, biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, claimed:
Thomas Beatie, the transsexual "man" who was really born a woman, has garnered a lot of news coverage over the past few months because he is the first "man" to become pregnant. ABC promoted the "pregnant man" four times in two and half months on its morning show, "Good Morning America" while ABCNews.com also heavily promoted the story.
Well, Beatie recently gave birth and ABCNews.com jumped on the story and is treating Beatie like a celebrity. The front page features the headline "Exclusive: Pregnant Man Has Baby Girl" alongside a picture of the "man's" pregnant body.
I mean really, that must be the only explanation why ABCNews.com keeps showing us pictures of the so-called pregnant man. It must be a way for us to save gas. Why drive to the carnival in town to see the Bearded Lady when she's just a few clicks away on your computer?
This isn't the first time the Disney-owned network thought fit to put pictures of transsexual woman Thomas Beatie on its "top headlines" lineup. Back on May 21 the Web site teased pictures of Beatie as she "Labors... In Yard."
Perhaps as a peace offering or palette-cleanser, ABCNews.com is also featuring in its "top headlines" pictures of attractive Hollywood starlets in so-called Band-Aid dresses.
What say you? Slow news day, or is ABC just following the maxim that "sex sells"?