The Babblery is a podcast about women’s lives, and though identified female at birth, transgender men are not women. Recent events underscore, however, that LGBTQ rights and women’s rights are deeply entwined. And people’s views of pregnancy and birth are intrinsically tied to their perspectives on women.
What can the experiences of transgender men who choose to become biological parents tell us about pregnancy and childbirth in our society? Researcher and activist Vann Jones agreed to explore that question. In this podcast, you’ll first hear the background information on how transmasculine people may view their gender and their bodies, and what choices they may or may not make regarding medical transition. Then we’ll talk about the experiences of the men Vann researched when they chose to become parents. Finally, we learn how the pregnancy and birth experiences of trans men shine a light on our preconceived notions of what it means to be “mom.”
I would like to thank Vann and the men who gave permission to have their stories and audio used in this podcast. The more we explore, the more we understand. The more we understand, the more we can learn from each other.
- PRESSED FOR TIME? To listen to a 10-minute compact version of this episode, click here.
About Vann Jones:
Vann Jones is an undergraduate senior at the University of California, Santa Cruz, located on the unceded territory of the Awaswas-speaking Uypi Tribe, stewarded today by the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band. He is double majoring in Feminist Studies with an emphasis in queer and trans theory, as well as the History of Art & Visual Culture with a concentration in Curation, Heritage, & Museums. Vann is a lifelong activist for the LGBTQ+ community, having worked extensively in the Castro Valley Unified School District and within the Castro Valley community to educate, build connections, bring understanding, and engage in dialogue from the time he was 13 years old until his graduation in 2019. In more recent years, he’s worked for Our Family Coalition, Trans Fertility Coalition, the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, and the Office of Assemblyman Evan Low, Chair of the California LGBTQ Legislative Caucus, via Equality California’s Comcast Fellowship. He has developed an educational website that houses his research on transmasculine fertility, pregnancy, postpartum, lactation, and parenthood, and has led multiple educational workshops on these topics, one of which was at the 2023 Creating Change Conference alongside his mentor Trystan Reese. He now works with the National LGBTQ Task Force as well as the independent journalist Erin Reed and is dedicated to fighting the onslaught of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation currently erupting across the nation. When he’s not working or studying, he enjoys gardening, sewing, quilting, hiking, making art, watching cartoons, spending time with friends and family, and playing with his cat Mabel.
For more information:
- A Complete Guide to Transmasculine Reproduction
- Gender Identity 5 Years After Social Transition from the American Academy of Pediatrics
- “What We Talk About When We Talk About Trans Rights” from the New Yorker
- “I Didn’t Think Being A Pregnant Man Was A Big Deal. Then I Went Viral.” by Trystan Reese
Photo of Trystan Reese by Kevin Truong. “Boy Meets Girl” song by TRG Banks. Interview recordings used with permission from Vann Jones and the interviewees.