By Emily Drabinski
Originally published on Advocate.com March 09 2010 8:00 AM ET
Though we had spoken over the phone and exchanged e-mails in the days leading up to our interview, Scott Moore sounds confused when I reach him at home on a recent Friday afternoon. “Now, where are you calling from again?” he asks. It’s easy to imagine why he might not be able to keep all the media calls straight. Not only is Moore 7½ months pregnant—something that could scramble any first-time parent’s brain—but the 20-year-old Northern California college student has just been anointed by the press as the world’s second pregnant man, causing an avalanche of attention from national and foreign media outlets. Earlier in the week a representative from a daytime talk show rang his doorbell and delivered a Mexican pizza, complete with a congratulatory note. “It is getting crazy around here!” he says.
What isn’t crazy to Moore and his husband, Thomas Moore, is the pregnancy itself. “Thomas Beatie is not the first, and we’re not the last,” he says plainly, referring to the media blitz over Beatie in 2008. “It’s not that uncommon, it’s just not talked about.” Helping to make trans male pregnancy an unremarkable occurrence was a factor in Moore’s decision to come out, which he did in a January interview with Closer, a U.K. women’s magazine, after he had posted a video about his experience on YouTube. “A lot of ground hasn’t been broken yet,” Moore says. “People’s eyes need to be opened.”
Moore has been opening eyes since he was just a child. Born biologically female (he asked that his birth name not be used), Moore knew he was different from an early age. “When I was very young, I didn’t even notice a difference between male and female,” he recalls. “But as soon as I hit puberty, I realized that I wasn’t going to be what I thought I was.” Moore came out to his parents as transgender at age 15, and after an initial bout of shock and confusion, they helped him begin his gender transition. He started taking testosterone, began using male pronouns, and changed his name. Soon his voice dropped and he grew facial hair. When he was 17 he underwent a double mastectomy and chest reconstruction surgery. Childbearing certainly wasn’t part of his life plan.
But then he met Thomas. Ten years his senior and also a transgender man, Tom, a graphic designer, had two children from a previous marriage: Greg, 12, and Logan, 10. Last year the couple wed in California. Moore’s legal gender status remains female, while Tom is legally male, thus allowing them to obtain a marriage license in the state (“We’re going to use that nice little loophole,” Moore quips). Soon he changed his mind about having a child: “Once I settled down with Tom, having children just seemed like a fit.”
After consulting with the doctor who prescribed his testosterone, Moore stopped taking hormones 10 months before conception; he retained his low voice and hirsute face but was able to become pregnant after being artificially inseminated with a friend’s sperm. His son, Miles, was due to join the family in March. “Ever since I was three months pregnant, the kids have been asking how many days until the baby comes,” Moore says.
The experience hasn’t been without struggle. Before the family moved to California, they lived in Las Cruces, N.M., a fast-growing town with big skies and, according to Moore, big biases. Moore initially wanted to keep his pregnancy a secret, fearing the reactions of his neighbors. “I never wanted to go anywhere by myself,” he says. His anxiety kept him indoors instead of running the usual pregnancy errands, buying the avocados that became his most consistent craving, and shopping for baby clothes.
Eventually, Moore and Thomas decided to move to Weed, a town of 3,000 people near the Klamath Mountains of Northern California. That’s where Thomas was born and raised, and his deep roots in the community mean that while the couple still face some perplexed looks, they also “know who to trust and who not to trust,” Moore says.
The new surroundings also brought Moore something else he’d been looking for: a doctor. Because of the lack of awareness surrounding pregnancy among transgender men, finding someone to guide him through this pregnancy has posed major difficulties. “Tom and I called every doctor in New Mexico, and that’s not an exaggeration,” Moore says. “The second they found out that I was a man who was pregnant, they’d laugh like it was a joke and hang up the phone, or they would suddenly not be taking new patients, even though they had been just a few minutes before.” Part of Moore’s decision to go public with his story is to remove the stigma for other transgender men who need medical care.He’s hopeful that the more men come out about their pregnancies, the more doctors will be willing to take on patients like him. “There’s still just so much uncertainty, so much confusion,” he says.
Medical issues aside, Moore also has faced scrutiny from the LGBT community—largely via online comments posted in reaction to articles about his pregnancy. Hardest to take has been the judgment of other transgender men who say that Moore “isn’t really a man” but just another pregnant woman who has spent some time on hormones. This doesn’t make any sense to Moore, who sees his pregnancy as the mark of an exceptional manhood. “I can do something with my body that not a lot of other men can do,” he says proudly. “For once, I might even be lucky to be transgender.”
And while some days are about standing proud and strong in the face of criticism, others are simply consumed with navigating the final weeks of a long pregnancy. Moore may be living a life at the edge of what’s possible in the public consciousness. But he also worries about the difficult hours of labor ahead, enduring cravings that change every few days (though Mexican pizza has never been one of them; “I made Tom eat that, ” he says) and looking forward with joy and excitement to welcoming baby Miles into the world. Scott beams at the thought: “We are counting down the days.”