Trans pregnancy and parenting in Hebden Bridge
Yuval talks about his reasons for moving from Israel to Hebden Bridge, how his pregnancies have impacted on his gender identity and how his children view their family.
TRANSCRIPTINTERVIEWER: What made you move to Hebden Bridge?
YUVAL: Well [pause] So… I’m married to a guy, and at the time we had two kids – now we have three. And I knew we were probably also planning a third pregnancy – I was the one who was pregnant. So we needed somewhere quite queer and accepting and open-minded. And actually most people we know that have left Israel and moved abroad had moved to big cities, and we thought on the one hand that would be the easiest choice because there’s kind of big immigrant communities, Israeli communities, if, if we were interested in them which we weren’t really at the time and we’re totally not now. And of course queer communities, but then at the same time we were also dreaming of somewhere with a bit more countryside and rural and – yeah. But were afraid that that sort of – with smaller places might be more conservative and we’d be less comfortable there and then we said, there must be somewhere. So we googled ‘queer-friendly village UK’ [laughs] and landed in Hebden Bridge! [Laughs]
INTERVIEWER: How did being pregnant and… how did that kind of… affect your, like, way you saw yourself, like your gender identity?
YUVAL: I think it’s changed a lot throughout the pregnancies. I think the first pregnancy I was kind of very much, ‘I am a man, this is no… contradiction, it’s just me using… the body parts that I have to my best,’ you know – I, I, I want, I – and I kind of said, you know, I wanted kids, this was the easiest, cheapest, most moral way to have them… And it doesn’t change anything about how I ident – like, my identity. And, and, and I also said, kind of, pregnancy isn’t… like, male or female, it’s just a, a function that your body can do or can’t do. And, some… women can’t or don’t want to and it doesn’t make them any less women if that’s how they identify and some men can, and it doesn’t make them any less men if that’s how they identify, and I still stand behind that politically. But I think, the way I see myself has changed a bit. And I think being pregnant has… brought me closer to women. I can, in some strange way, much more identify with women, now, cos I think, like being pregnant and giving birth are kind of, strongest… experiences I’ve had in my life. And most of who can identify with those experiences are women. I, I mean – okay, I have most in common with other trans men that have given birth, but kind of on a day-to-day basis there’s not very many of those in my life. So who, who is in my life who’ve given are usually women and I think that’s kind of… bought me closer to them, so maybe in some ways [pause] changed my – I don’t know if that’s necessarily why I identify as non-binary but it’s probably part of it, and I definitely see things less in, I guess, black and white, on a… yeah. I still think there can be men that completely identify as men, and get pregnant and have babies and that doesn’t change any way, in any way. And then – but for me, I’m not sure that’s the case.
INTERVIEWER: Ok. How –
YUVAL: But look, it’s not that I find – I, I’m kind of scared of saying this cos that, kind of, people said that, ‘oh yeah, you’ll get pregnant and you’ll see how wonderful it is to be a woman and you’ll go back to being a woman’, and you know, ‘there’ll be everything right and you’ll realise you’ve made a horrible mistake’, and I’m, I’m, completely not there. So, I… I just feel the need to make that clear. I don’t feel like a woman, I don’t identify as a woman.
INTERVIEWER: [Pause] [Mumbling] Your... children, how do they… like [pause] not feel, that’s a strange way of saying it…
YUVAL: In a way it’s almost disappointing, how much of a non-issue it is to them [laughs] Kind of I’d like it to be kind of, something that they see as, important, as part of their identity, as [pause] I think difference is good and I, I, I like to kind of, you know, ‘our family is different’, and they’re like, ‘well you aren’t from us, it’s kind of our family, it’s completely normal’, like, you know, sometimes we… we were just in Brighton Pride and we met quite a few other… trans men who had given birth to their kids, and I was like, ‘look, these kids are awesome, their dads gave birth to them!’, and they were kind of like completely, yeah, completely non-issue, not interested [laughs] nothing! I mean some of them, they, kind of, did have things to talk about but it wasn’t that. My two older ones are – I have a seven & a half year old and a five & a half year old and a two & a half month old.
INTERVIEWER: Oh wow.
YUVAL: Yeah [laughs]
INTERVIEWER: That’s a handful!
YUVAL: Yeah! [Laughs]