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TV Review: Bodyshock - Dad's Having a Baby

18 April 2011
Appeared in BioNews 604

Bodyshock: Dad's Having a Baby

Channel 4, Thursday 7 April 2011

Featuring Scott Moore and Tom Moore

'Bodyshock: Dad's Having a Baby', Channel 4, Thursday 7 April 2011 (featuring Scott Moore and Tom Moore)

On Thursday 7 April 2011, Channel Four aired a documentary in its Body Shock series, titled 'Dad's having a baby'.

The documentary follows the family life of Tom and Scott. Scott was born Jessica, but identified as male. He had a partial sex change, but remained legally female. Tom - born Laura - also identified as male, had a full sex change and became legally male. The couple met in California, married and adopted Logan aged 11 and Greg aged 13.

When Tom and Scott decided to have a baby, they intended to keep the pregnancy quiet; few pregnant transgender men publicise it. The couple used a sperm donor to conceive their son Miles, but the pregnancy was otherwise uncomplicated. Scott still had functional female reproductive organs, unlike Tom.

After Miles' birth, the family moved to the southern state of New Mexico, close to Scott's parents. New Mexico is a conservative state in the bible belt of America, not the ideal place for a transgender couple raising three children.

We followed the family as they struggled to adjust to life after leaving their accepting, liberal Californian town. The documentary handled this difficult subject sensitively for the most part. My only point of contention was the 'outing' of Tom to his Christian barber. The barber's reaction made for uncomfortable viewing, but it served to illustrate people's views in New Mexico.

Tom and Scott decided to try and conceive a second child and the documentary showed how their experience of transgender-assisted reproduction was hampered by social issues. Scott went through emotional turmoil during the conception process, especially as he had to stop taking testosterone. His facial hair thinned and his voice became higher, which he said caused him to lose his self identity.

One of the highlights of the documentary was the couple's discussions about how they came to terms with being transgender and how this affects their parenting. But, in my opinion, the most interesting part was seeing how Tom gender stereotyped.

I expected a transgender man would be open to crossing gender boundaries. But, in one scene, while at the barbers, he was asked whether boys (his son Logan) should have long hair. He responded: 'Girls have long hair, boys have short hair.....I just don't get the whole long hair on a guy thing'.

Overall though, the documentary highlighted the struggle of this transgendered family. It also showed the confusion and loss of identity felt by transgender men who conceive; a factor of which professionals working in the field of transgender reproduction will be well aware.

The programme is still available on 4oD and I would recommend watching it, especially if you are interested in assisted reproduction, transgender rights, sexuality and a modern concept of family.

Body Shock Channel 4: Dad's having a baby
Channel 4 |  7 April 2011
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