After the sensationalistic, media circus surrounding Thomas Beatie and his 20/20 interview, which revealed he’s pregnant again, I felt compelled to write Barbara Walters a letter. While this is not the formal letter I sent to her (though I mention many of the same things I wrote to her, in this letter), this sums up all of the thoughts I have about Thomas Beatie and his pregnancy, while discussing how he is exploiting not only the transgender community, but also his children and his pregnancies.
This is an expanded version of what I told Barbara.
Dear Barbara Walters,
After watching part of your interview with the self-proclaimed “pregnant man” Thomas Beatie, I felt compelled to write you. While I am a firm believer in making your own destiny and finding your own happiness, I cannot sit back and watch this man make a mockery of the transgender community. I cannot sit back and watch him exploit his children for money. I cannot sit back while my transgender friends and myself have to endure ridicule and face misunderstanding because the general populace is lumping all transgender people together with him.
I am 27 years old. I came out at age 16, thinking I had to be gay. Though the word lesbian didn’t seem to fit me, it’s the only word I knew to explain my attraction to girls. At age 22, I watched a documentary that changed my life, Southern Comfort. This was a documentary about a transgender man named Robert, who died of cancer because the hospitals wouldn’t treat a transgender man. For the first time, I had a word to describe all of those feelings I’d felt for so many years. I realized I was transgender. For the first time, I felt complete and at peace.
It was then that I took the name Dominick. It was a name I’d used online for a year or so and it meant something to me (I’m pretty sure I used it in a past life). I sat down with my girlfriend, Ashtyn and explained I was transgender. Coming out to her and finding her unwaveringly supportive meant the world to me. This moment, discovering I was transgender, changed my life for the better.
You see, Barbara, I’m not just transgender. I’m in a wheelchair. Being disabled masked many of my feelings about my gender, until I was old enough to comprehend them. Looking back, I can see signs of my desire to be a boy (male) dating back to my early childhood. Even as a baby, people always said I was the most beautiful baby boy they’d ever seen…much to the chagrin of my mother.
I’ve been in a wheelchair full time since I was 16. I have a muscle disease, Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Ten days before my 16th birthday, I had Spinal Fusion surgery and almost died. It saved my life, but since then, I’ve been incapable of walking. Now, I can no longer stand either. Nevertheless, I’m a fighter and I fought to survive only to come out a few months later, facing more adversity, especially at the hands of my dysfunctional family.
That’s not all though Barbara. I was raised in a dysfunctional, abusive household. My family had major problems and my parents, mostly my mother, did unthinkable things to me that I’d not wish on my worst enemy. At one point, these problems and the abuse, which escalated after I came out, made me consider suicide. At one point, I thought I’d never be able to escape or get out, but I had to bide my time and eventually, I did escape. I did save my own life. I finally found happiness and I did all of it with only the help of my beautiful girlfriend, Ashtyn.
Today, I live in Michigan with Ashtyn, her mom, and our 14 year old, autistic son. We don’t have the best house. I’ve had to face a lot of adversity when trying to find adaptive equipment to help me become more independent, but I do make enough to work from home, for myself and enjoy what I do as a blogger, reviewer, and critic. I’m on my way to living the American dream. Though there is more to my story, this is the condensed version.
So, why am I writing this Barbara? I’m sure you’re wondering what my point is. I’m writing this because I want to make it clear that not all transgender people are doing things for negative reasons. Many of us are just trying to survive. Many of us have exceptional stories to tell. We have survived adversity. Many of us have parents, siblings, and extended family who won’t talk to us or respect our transition. Transgender people don’t all want to seek the kind of attention Thomas Beatie seeks. We just want to be accepted. We want to be treated the same way as all other human beings…with dignity, respect and humility. We just want to live fair, equal, loving lives without worrying if our children are legally protected or if our marriage is legal in the eyes of the law.
So PLEASE, Barbara, can you try focusing on all the positive things transgender people are doing? Can you focus on those of us who have fought to be who we are without wanting to make money off of it, or exploit our lives? I know that there is always room for diversity, so why not balance out the negativity of Thomas’ story with the positive spin on the life of someone like me, who has truly fought to be who they are and doesn’t want anything but equal treatment and compassion for who I have become.
Thank you for reading this.
Dominick Matthaios Antony Evans
P.S. To all my readers, I’ll have more on this topic a little later this week.
[tags]Dominick Evans, Barbara Walters, Dominick Evans, letter, Thomas Beatie, pregnant man, male pregnancy[/tags]