Pregnant trans man Thomas Beatie’s within weeks of birthing his first child.
As he and wife Nancy get their nursery together, stock up on diapers and other baby-related goods, big questions remain for the happily queer couple, like how to make sure he – the “gestational carrier” – is not listed as the baby’s mother.
According to Oregonian law, the birthing party must be cited as the “mother.” That means that Beatie, who obviously identifies as male, will be listed as the mother. But not necessarily forever, because Beatie and his wife have two options to change the certificate, as Nathan Heller explains:
As soon as the initial paperwork is squared away at the hospital, Beatie and his wife are free to petition for a court order to have a new birth certificate issued, this time listing Beatie as the father and his wife as the mother.
This switcheroo is a well-established legal procedure, even though Beatie’s circumstances have no clear precedent in Oregon law. It’s commonly used in cases of surrogacy, when a “gestational carrier” is pregnant with the embryo of people who will claim parentage at birth. A preliminary birth certificate names the childbearer as mother; another follows with the destined parents replacing her. Beatie would approach this process as if he were his own surrogate.
Should Beatie choose to make a stink – and grab some extra headlines – he could also use Oregon’s trans-inclusive non-discrimination law against the hospital. Since he identifies as a man, a maternal title, lawyers could argue that medical officials are discriminating against Beatie’s gender identity.
That, however, would be far too complicated, so we suggest they simply get a court order. No need for extra drama while clearing up who’s the baby’s mama.