Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

Sociology and Social Policy

Pregnant Men: An International Exploration of Trans Male Practices of Reproduction

April 2017 - April 2020

Project Website: https://leedsbasic.wpengine.com/pregnantmen/

Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), this 3 year project is due to start in April 2017. Headed by Dr. Sally Hines as Principle Investigator (University of Leeds, UK), the project has an international team of researchers. Co-Investigators include Dr. Carla Pfeffer (University of South Carolina, US); Dr. Damien Riggs (Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia), Dr. Elisabetta Ruspini (University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy) and Dr. Francis Ray White (University of Westminster, UK). The international project represents the first study to address the sociological and health care implications of the reproductive practices of people who become pregnant and/or give birth after transitioning from female to male. Including the UK, US, Australia, Italy and Poland, the principle aims of the project are to: 

  1. Consider the extent to which trans male practices of pregnancy and birth constitute an emerging socio-demographic shift.
  2. Explore the ways in which trans male practices of pregnancy and birth bring new meanings to gendered and embodied identities.
  3. Analyse how trans male practices of pregnancy and birth speak to issues of gendered, sexual and intimate citizenship.
  4. Evaluate trans male practices of pregnancy and birth in relation to 'best practice' standards of health care for trans people.
  5. Examine trans male practices of pregnancy and birth within the context of 'best practice' standards in reproductive science and technology.

New empirical material will develop sociological understandings of contemporary socio-demographic shifts around intimacy and personal life, and the gendered nature of these changes within national and international contexts. Empirical material will also add to wider sociological understandings about the relationship between gender identity and embodiment. Central to the project is how trans men negotiate their masculine identity and presentation with the traditionally female signifiers of pregnancy and birth.

This, then, raises larger questions, which the project will explore, of what gender categories means in contemporary society. Moves towards citizenship parity for gender diverse people are evident in recent legal and policy developments that have equalised partnership and parenting recognition. A matter of key importance to this project is the extent to which existing national legal frameworks recognise and protect the rights of, trans men who become pregnant and give birth. Trans health care is high on the agenda of trans campaigning organisations.

The project will examine the extent to which care standards concerning trans people includes trans men who are pregnant and give birth. The diversification of family life is frequently explored in relation to developments in reproductive technologies.

The project will consider the impact of advances in science and technology on the phenomenon of trans men who become pregnant and give birth; considering issues of access to new reproductive technologies in relation to different welfare regimes.

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