June 1, 2023 - 7:30pm

Sometimes, gender stereotypes die hard. Males who identify as trans end up on the covers of magazines when they dominate a sport or succeed in business. Females who identify as trans grace the covers when they strip down to their undergarments — or, in the case of this month’s cover story for Glamour Magazine, when they find themselves pregnant. 

“Pregnant men” — like “transgender children” and “lesbians with penises” — are among the mysteries and marvels of this bold new faith, and June is the month set aside for public veneration. 

But what is it like to actually find yourself in this situation? Glamour goes right to the source: a pregnant 27-year-old named Logan Brown. The reporter, Chloe Law, assumes the proper posture: when Brown frets over “giving ‘good’ answers and jokingly asks if people do this a lot in interviews. I reassure him, honestly, that his answers aren’t just good; they’re powerful.” 

Reporter and subject alike treat Brown’s pregnancy as a kind of miracle, rather than the predictable outcome of heterosexual sex: “I’m never gonna get this opportunity again to — as a queer couple — have a baby that’s biologically both ours,” Brown says. “Which is really special to me and, eventually, something just clicked.” When it comes to reproduction, identity role play doesn’t count for much. A “he” and “they” can still make a baby. On the cover of the magazine, Brown sports a shirt and tie painted flatly over a swollen womb.

As with just about every story in the trans genre, there’s more than enough material here to support an alternative reading. Brown describes experiencing “bad mental health growing up”. Brown’s sense of discomfort flared up when puberty struck — a nearly universal experience for adolescents that is now commonly interpreted as evidence of transgender identity. The presence of meddling and rigid adults didn’t help matters (“Because I dressed like a ‘tomboy’, people would tell me I was a lesbian”). 

Neurodivergence features, too — Brown mentions that both partners live with autism and ADHD, which are much more common among people who identify as transgender than among the general population, and that they often “struggle even to leave the house” as a result. 

Brown’s story since coming out as transgender also contains alarming disclosures: “if I didn’t end up going private [for a double mastectomy], I don’t know where I would be right now.” Reflecting on the experience of giving birth, Brown expresses relief at undergoing a Caesarean section: “I was kind of glad, in the end, that I wasn’t giving birth naturally; I don’t know how I would have coped if I had a natural birth.” 

Meanwhile, the world bends to accommodate Brown’s self-identity. In the midst of a difficult labour and delivery, Brown describes midwives “bringing me information sheets and scribbling out the word ‘woman’ and putting ‘person’ instead, which was nice.” Given the complications Brown and the baby were facing, this attention seems misdirected. At points, Brown’s own discomfort — or dissonance — shows through:  

One day, I had this really weird feeling; it was early in the morning and Bailey was asleep. I took a pregnancy test and it was positive. I’d been off testosterone for a while due to some health issues. It was like my whole world just stopped. That everything, all my manlihood that I’ve worked hard for, for so long, just completely felt like it was erased.

At first, I was lingering around the house while Bailey was still asleep. It was really hard because how do you tell your partner, ‘Oh, I’m pregnant, but oh, I’m also your boyfriend as well.’ I finally woke them up, but I couldn’t get the words out of my mouth to say it, because it’s just something that you just don’t say as a man.

- Logan Brown

There’s insight here for the taking: “I couldn’t get the words out of my mouth to say, because it’s just something that you just don’t say as a man.” 

Stories like Brown’s have an uncertain quality. There’s something reminiscent of the feast days of old that drew peasants from the countryside to pay tribute to the immaculate corpses of long-dead saints and other sacred mysteries beyond all comprehending. But these stories also bring to mind the faits divers of the tabloid press and the dark enclosure of circus tents, with vendors squatting at the threshold, selling tickets to anyone who wants to gawk, for any reason. 

And Pride Month is just beginning.

Eliza Mondegreen is a graduate student in psychiatry and the author of Writing Behavior on Substack.