Getting Some Facts Straight About Matt Rice and Thomas Beatie

I figured that one day I would get into some sort of protracted thread of comments with one of my blogs, but I didn’t expect it to happen so soon.  Well, now is as good as time as any I guess.

I decided to reply to the comments from my blog post about Thomas Beatie here rather than in the comments section because the comments are turning into blog posts themselves.  Also, I feel like it’s better to put these corrections in a more visible place.  Lastly, I’m having a hard time reading the teeny tiny font size of the comments section and this is easier on the eyes (at least for me).

So I direct this post toward Jeremy, who has been a prolific commenter, but the information is here for anyone who chooses to read it.

First, let’s set the record straight regarding some comments you made about Matt Rice.  You said,  “Rice didn’t have to deal with Beatie’s legal or health insurance issues. Heck, he didn’t even have to go to a sperm bank and get doctor supervision, he just slept with a male friend.” I’m not sure why you made these statements but they are not true. I know this because I contacted Matt Rice and asked him.  He gave me permission to post his reply:

“I was in a same sex relationship at the time, so could not have been married. That person has never had any legal relationship to my son.

I was legally male according to the State of California, but was born in Ohio which is a state that will not change birth certificates so at the time, my passport still said F.

I had to wrestle with the insurance company, in fact, to cover services related to pregnancy because they had me listed as male.

I used an anonymous donor. I did not “sleep with a friend.”

And just for the record, the Village Voice is not small, nor a GLBT publication.

However, before my son was born, I was the target of a fair bit of internet nastiness from people calling Child Protective Services before the child was even born to death threats because of my trans status and people finding out I was pregnant and there was a rumor that I had gone to the press about the issue.

I appreciate your willingness to ask the source for the facts, instead of depending on people who don’t know me to spread inaccurate information and opinions about my life.”

So, what happens now Jeremy, is your credibility goes right out the window.  You say you talked to Thomas Beatie?  That you know what kind of person he is or what motivated him to do the things he did?  Well unless I hear it from Beatie himself that you two have spoken or I can verify what you said by what’s in his book, I don’t believe any of it.

What’s really a shame is that you’ve made some good points in your comments. Why, I wondered, would you want to taint good information with untrue statements about Matt Rice?  And pejorative comments at that.  He “just slept with a friend” to get pregnant?  No – he was inseminated just like Beatie.  He was in a “bizarre and unconventional relationship”?  No – he was in a gay relationship.  If it was “bizarre and unconventional” because it was a relationship involving two trans men, then wouldn’t that make Beatie’s marriage just as bizarre and unconventional because he is a trans man?

What I’m reading between your lines is homophobic bias.  In my mind, that makes you no different than the people you complained about who have reacted with bias toward Thomas Beatie.  Seems a bit hypocritical to me.

And so now, what about Thomas?  Was Beatie the first legally married, legally male person to give birth?  Looks like he might well have been.  But I took at look at his book. On page 4 he wrote about his hospital wristband and how it had the M gender marker on it.  He wrote, “”Never before in history has someone delivering a child had the letter M on their wristband.”  What about Matt Rice?  I doubt the hospital bothered to ask him whether there was an “M” on his passport, so he was living as male, had a male gender marker on his driver’s license and had male gender listed on his health insurance.  I don’t know about Matt Rice’s hospital wrist band (and he said he didn’t remember what it said) but what is the essence of Beatie’s statement — that he was the first legally male person to give birth. Well, he wasn’t.  Matt Rice was before Beatie.

Beatie also mentions in his book that he and his wife went to the ACLU, Lambda Legal and the NCTE for legal advice, and he repeatedly talks about how “shocked” he was at what they told him and that he was “ostracized.”  I don’t know how the people at those organizations treated him and his wife, but a lot of what I read in his book seemed to be the legal advice he asked for.

How could he expect easy or definitive answers given the nature of his situation?  I mean, if anyone just considers the Michael Kantaras case alone, they would know that there are no simple answers about this on a legal level.  If they were unprofessional to him, that would have been unacceptable, but if they gave him the best legal advice they could considering his unique situation, then weren’t they simply answering his questions?

Some of what he complained might have been justified – I don’t know for sure – but some just seemed like he was blaming them for telling him what he didn’t want to hear.  But that’s just my impression.  I am not a lawyer (and I don’t play one on TV), and I’m not even close to understanding all the jargon, cases and precedence.

So lastly, Jeremy, you said in one of your comments that we are “on the same side.”  Well, we’re not, because I’m not on a “side.”  I simply wrote a blog about what effect Thomas Beatie’s experience had on me, which seems to have become lost in all this rhetoric.  I’m also not prepared to side with someone who posts pejorative, untrue comments about others in an hypocritical manner.  I’d side with Buck Angel over all that any day.

— ATM

Final notes – I will be moderating comments now and would like to stop this thread.  Some might say that’s not fair, let the guy respond, but I say, let’s move on.  Jeremy has his own blog where he can continue to post comments about this topic.  Also, I hope to have something kind of special in mid-May about legal issues affecting trans folks.  I think so anyway.  Maybe.  Stay tuned…

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3 Responses to Getting Some Facts Straight About Matt Rice and Thomas Beatie

  1. Jeremy says:

    You obviously like to twist your logic, so I’ll be short.

    Matt Rice admits that he had a female birth certificate from Ohio. He also admits that he had a female passport. What you mention does not say that he had a male CA driver’s license, but the state of CA recognized him as male. I don’t get it. You have to show your birth certificate to get a driver’s license, so perhaps he may have been male on some other form. The point is, he wasn’t fully considered legally male, so your argument fails. Rice’s male status would fail in a court of law, too, at the time. Also, if Rice did not remember what his wrist band said at the hospital, it obviously read “female.” A transman would have recalled being labelled as a woman. Beatie is still the first fully legal, married male to give birth and his experiences are completely unprecedented.

    According to an article I read about Rice, he and Pat used a selection of male friends to get Rice pregnant. There is no mention of doctor supervision and the donor(s) were not anonymous. I also heard “through the grapevine” that Rice slept with gay men through contact at the gay bar he worked at and that his “insemination” was done the natural way. Whatever. It’s not a judgement call- you are the one who seems to have a problem with this method of getting pregnant. It’s understandable that Rice wouldn’t want to publicize his sexual affairs. Neither of us will ever know the truth. His son is also autistic- he doesn’t like the public to know that either.

    My comment about the “bizarre and unconventional relationship” was in reference to how the general public would view RIce and partner. It is not my opinion. The public sees Beatie this way as well.

    The legal process is not defined for pregnant, male, FTMs. The big gay groups are clueless. They hate Beatie because of some of the reasons you mention in your post. They also hate Beatie because Beatie wouldn’t be their puppet.

    Go ahead. Keep on blogging and censoring the responses you get. Also- do more research if you’re going to act like a journalist… you’ve posted many untruths. And, I guess you’re right, we’re not on the same side of positive change for the trans movement. You fit right in with the rest of them.

  2. Josh says:

    I thought the font was getting smaller too. Glad to see you’ve decided to move on to a new subject.

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