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Milk Junkies: Blog of a Transgendered, Gay, Breastfeeding Dad

I want to introduce you to Trevor, a transgender, gay, Canadian, breastfeeding father who blogs at Milk Junkies. Last night my friend Rebecca from Bunch Family pointed me to a guest post on her website by Trevor, describing his experience as a transgender breastfeeding father.

Everyone loves lactivist dads, right? But most of them are supporting from the sidelines and don't get to truly experience what it is like -- joys, challenges, and all.

Trevor's experience with breastfeeding after transitioning to male is an amazing story, with many unique challenges and experiences.  The post on Bunch Family provides a good overview of Trevor's story. But I really enjoyed digging into his blog and reading about some of the day-to-day experiences he's had and the unique insights he provides.

Just as I fight for the normalization of breastfeeding, I also think it is important to fight for the normalization of all types of relationships and families. On his blog, Trevor wrote:

This blog is important to me because I hope it will help make the world a better place for our child, and others like him, to live in. Awareness of transgender lives increases every time someone puts him or herself out there in some way. Because Thomas Beatie discussed his transgender pregnancy on Oprah, some of my friends were already familiar with what we were up to when we announced our own pregnancy. And little by little it gets better, right?

I have added Milk Junkies to my reading list and I hope you'll take the time to learn a bit about Trevor's family and read his insights about breastfeeding from the perspective of a transgender man. Thank you for sharing your journey, Trevor.
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    PhD in Parenting - PhD in Parenting - Milk Junkies: Blog of a Transgendered, Gay, Breastfeeding Dad

Reader Comments (40)

Thank you for sharing this story and pointing me to Trevor's blog. I know of a local transgendered man who recently had a baby, but I thought like the Thomas Beatie story it was a very uncommon occurance. Now I wonder if I've been wrong. I appreciate the courage it must take to speak out about his experience, and I look forward to reading his blog.

April 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSuchada @ Mama Eve

This is freaking awesome.

April 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJuliette

What a great blog, and a great education for me as an IBCLC! Thanks for sharing.

This is so totally rad.

I almost cried reading the airplane story. I have nursed two babies well into toddlerhood and I get nervous on planes I can only imagine being treated like that.

April 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAllie

Really interesting!

I give him SO much credit for breastfeeding with an SNS - I had to do it myself with my first baby, and it's no walk in the park; and *I* am cisgendered, without altered breasts, and with a ton of support. I can't imagine having to have done it without; how strong he must be.

Thanks for sharing, Annie.

April 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkelly @kellynaturally

Love the story, hate lactivists.

April 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBuzz

I had to look up "cisgendered"...why not just say "normal"? (I know why...but I don't like it!) More power to this person, I suppose. I may read their blog. Love and compassion to them. BUT...it's hard for me to get my head around, though. If you want to be a man, why breastfeed. At surface, it seems like the ultimate in narcissism, you pick and choose what aspects of sex you want and you "have it all" as one person?...I will have to read more to try and understand if I really think this is something that should be celebrated.

April 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMrs Rochester

OMG, I'm not going to pretend I am so hip and enlightened...
"While remaining secure in his identity as a gay man..."
My brain just exploded there...

April 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMrs Rochester

Hate generally stems from ignorance, prejudice and closed-mindedness.

April 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

I don't think he is picking and choosing what aspects of a sex he wants. He is a man, but also believes in doing what is best for his baby and the fact that he was born with female parts gives him the ability to do so.

I'm not sure what your assumptions are about "why not just say normal?", but I certainly hope they aren't what I think they might be. If "cisgendered" = "normal", then "transgendered"="abnormal". Labeling people who are different from the majority as "abormal" simply serves to further marginalize them. This is, of course, a commonly used tactic by people with privilege who want to protect that privilege, but it is not a compassionate or fair way to treat other human beings. Beyond that, I also hate the concept of "normal" because I value diversity and abhor pressure to conform to society's expectations.

April 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

I think it's not wrong in science and biology to say something is "normal"...like breastfeeding is the "normal" way to feed a baby. He is picking and choosing because he used to be a woman, right? Isn't he a woman to man trans? So he identifies in all these ways as a man, but still wants to breastfeed...so he kind of does want it all. That's cool. Hooray for modern science, I guess. It's all just a little much for me....

April 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMrs Rochester

I like to use appropriate and correct vocabulary when speaking & writing; that is why I used the term "cisgendered". Further, who am I, or anyone, to decide what is "normal"?

As to "picking & choosing what aspects of sex you want"... we are all human - sexual, complex beings. To be comfortable in our own skin; I'd say that's a universal human desire, and basic human right. For some individuals, particularly in our current, often harsh, unforgiving, and prejudicial society, that's a difficult task. I can't imagine not being comfortable with who I am at the very core; but it's only for ME to choose and decide and discover and develop who *I AM* - no one else gets to do that. I celebrate any individual brave enough to look within themselves, who can, in spite of myriad social barriers, figure out how best to be comfortable with themselves, so they can live productive, contented lives.

April 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkelly @kellynaturally

It's funny that in your first sentence you talk about breastfeeding being normal, but then in the second sentence criticize someone for "wanting" to do so. Again, I think he was doing what was best for his baby, not simply something he "wanted" to do.

April 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

C'mon. Give him a break. If he wants to breastfeed, and can, then it's his prerogative and GOOD FOR HIM! I personally feel that all men should do some form of SNS (if only they w/could!) - it would certainly help to equal out the first few months (years) of feeding a child.

I read through his blog with great interest-- mostly because I wondered how he came to this decision - to carry the child, to nurse him, to go through such tremendous effort. What strength of character.

As for being a lactivist, I qualify my opinion by saying breastmilk *is better* than formula, but if for whatever reason, you don't/can't breastfeed, then formula isn't going to harm your baby. So do what you can, and don't be a hater.

April 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSH

Mrs Rochester you are FAR from alone in your confusion and distrust of the ideology enforced by the trans activist community. Feminists who actually do the critical work of questioning gender as a social construct are VERY concerned about the Patriarchal support for this conception of reality, where it is pretended that sex does not exist but that gender is so innate that it trumps basic reality. And the average person on the street is struck by the absolute refusal to acknowldege basic biological reality and an insistence on doublethink that makes Orwell look tame. Clearly a person with two XX chromosomes and the ability to gestate a child, a person creating gametes taking the form of ova, is not a man. Uncomfortable in the gender "woman" (a social creation unique to the patriarchy where female persons are considered to be less than human and fair game for soul-crushing oppression) well, YES! but being uncomfortable with the way the gender of woman is used to oppress female people should make one a feminist! it does NOT make one a man. anymore than deciding it SUCKS to be a person of colour is going to make you a rich white man!

Transgender people deserve compassion. They deserve respect. They deserve basic human rights. And channelling them into a treatment philosophy that supports their delusions is NOT compassion or respect and in fact VIOLATES their human right to appropriate medical treatment. I don't think it is helpful to be derogatory in any way. Transpersons are first and foremost persons, persons who are suffering and deserve to be helped. But the reality is that transition is being aggressively forced on many people who do not feel comfortable in their gender. Since Gender IS oppression, we need to eradicate gender, not try to surgically and chemically alter perfectly healthy bodies to make them fit into that restrictive and oppressive concept. And yet instead we twist our brains and our language into post-modern pretzels to try and make abuse into treatment and lies into tolerance. Especially concerning is the growth in diagnosis and transition based treatment of children who refuse to conform to gender. The vast majority of children with confusion over gender will NOT grow up to still suffer from that confusion. In fact the vast majority will simply grow up to be gay. And we are engaged in a program of wholesale eugenics to chemically and then surgically sterilise all these gay children while brainwashing them into a self-loathing SO deep that they think they were born with a DEFECT, that their bodies are WRONG on the most fundamental level.

The time is coming, hopefully sooner rather than later, where we all wake up from this mass delusion and are heartily ASHAMED of what we have done to these poor suffering souls. Ashamed of all we have done to defend our belief, our absolute dogma that boys ARE blue and girls ARE pink and any variation fromm that model MUST be punished by the enforcement of conformity at any and all costs. We look back in horror now at the past abuses of pschological treatment, lobotomies, electroshock, horrifying sedative drugs, and surgeries performed on genitals to stop such "evils" as masturbation. We recoil from the idea of "gay" being considered a disease that lengthy abuse will cure. And yet what we are perpetrating on those suffering most from the collective insanity that "gender" is, what we forcefully INSIST is real despite the clear evidence in front of us to the contrary, is in many ways ALL those kinds of terrible and so many more. Many people who have watched this process since "srs" was invented by a later discredited doctor 50 years ago are absolutely WEEPING for what we are doing to people right now.

For the sake of so many, I hope that the average person, like Mrs Rochester, listens to their gut level response that this is all SO wrong, and speaks up to stop this insanity.

April 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCassaundra

So you're saying that if this person was just allowed to be a woman on his/her own terms without the social constructs of what is supposedly means to be a woman, this person would not have needed the surgeries, hormones, etc? I would agree with that. I will say that it's very hard for me to understand wanting to be a man (or vice versa) even NOT being super-femme. I'm more "butch" than many, but still obviously female in my ways, and I am very, very celebratory of/into what I feel to be GIFTS of being a woman (giving birth, nursing, caring for my child) without being culturally femme (not into Pinterest, frills, fancy weddings, shopping and the like). As I type this, I can see the ridiculousness of it, though, and realize there must be something deeper going on with trans folks than not liking pink...

April 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMrs Rochester

No way! Breastfeeding is MY GIFT, MY PRIVILEGE and no man is going to take it away from me. My husband can parent in myriad other ways. Breastfeeding is MINE. (See, not all women view it as a burden...)

April 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMrs Rochester

I so completely and fundamentally disagree with just about everything that you've written there that I don't even know where to begin in commenting on it.

April 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

It's not "normal" for men to breastfeed, though, and, philosophically, it's kind of insulting (to women). He didn't think being a woman was "good enough" or valuable enough, or "right" for him, and yet he wanted to do this very special wonderful thing that WOMEN do, so, well, he jumped through hoops to make THAT happen. On a personal level, I feel for Trevor, he is a person trying to figure shit out and doing what he thinks is best. But at the philosophical level, yeah, it's pretty messed up, in my view...

April 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMrs Rochester

I wondered when the http://www.thefword.org.uk/features/2011/09/radical_feminism_transphobia" rel="nofollow">transphobic radfems would show up in this discussion.

April 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterProsthetic Conscience

If I had a band, I'd totally name it that TRANSPHOBIC RADFEMS.
Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go change my maxi pad and scrub the floors.

April 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMrs Rochester

Yes, there is something much deeper than colours and other style-based preferences.

I was a "tom boy" growing up, as was one of my close friends. I think the traditionally male characteristics that I have are ones that have served me well in sports, my education and my career. But I am very much a woman and feel comfortable in my body, even on the days when oppression gets to me. My friend, however, didn't and eventually transitioned to male. The difference between us is that he felt fundamentally uncomfortable in a female body. It isn't just about gender oppression or style preferences.

April 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Great post! Everyone has a freedom to choose what he wants to be. As long as his happy with it.

April 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCalifornia Callieh

I was wondering how long it would take for someone to type "TRANSPHOBIC RADFEMS" in capslock...
And something puzzles me. If the trans disphoria is so deep, so terrible, so far beyond ''just not liking pink'' then why keep the breasts and vagina? Is it the body (sex) that's hated, or is it the gender role? Which is it?

April 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnarchomom

Does it really matter? Celebrate it for what it is, someone that is overcoming obstacles to breastfeed and do what is best for their baby.

April 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKasandra

Self-created obstacles! It's maddening...

April 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMrs Rochester

I love this blog, but I was really disappointed to see Cassaundra's transphobic hate speech published here, particularly under this post. Not all feminists are incapable of telling the difference between socially-constructed gender stereotypes (which are indeed harmful) and trans people's experience of their own gender.

Anarchomom, Cassaundra and Mrs Rochester: an individual's gender and the choices they make in order to express it are none of your business. So what if you don't get it? It's not your life, and you are in no position to judge.

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

I must say I find this confusing. This person wants to change sex but retains female functions?

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaliane

I was really disappointed to see Cassaundra's transphobic comment too. I did consider deleting it, but I also know that the more comments I delete, the more people will accuse me of censorship and only allowing points of view that agree with my own. In the history of this blog, other than spam, I think I've only deleted about three comments. I try to cultivate an environment where differences of opinion are welcome, but where people treat each other with respect. Unfortunately, that goes off the rails here and there. But for the most part it works.

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

How is it maddening? This is a parent making the best decisions in the NOW for his baby.

Women have breast augmentation all the time, before having children, then, after becoming pregnant and having a child, decide they want to breastfeed, and learn that their augmentation may have effected their ability to breastfeed successfully. Instead of throwing in the towel due to "self created obstacles" or judgment by other individuals, they really WORK at finding a solution, because they know breastfeeding is SO healthy for babies.

I see this no differently; and it's certainly not maddening; in fact, I think it's inspiring! Using an SNS is no simple task; neither is (unfortunately), acquiring donated breastmilk. Anyone who goes to these lengths to ensure their baby is getting the best nutrition and nurturing in their early days deserves praise, not scorn.

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkelly @kellynaturally

Don't get me started on breast augmentation...arghhhhhh...I am pretty much against the surgical tampering with of the human body unless it's medically necessary...so, there ya go...just my opinion, I'm not marching in the streets to stop anybody...do I think they're crazy? Do I hope the public doesn't pay for it? Yes and Yes. This scenario is taking "having it all" to a whole new level. Forcing the hand of nature to have every thing YOUR WAY seems to be very hubristic instead of attempting to take life as you're dealt it and learn and adapt...I know many would argue this person *is* adapting, but I disagree. they're turning themselves into a Frankenstein when they should be adapting mentally, emotionally and spiritually IMO..which, of course, is just my O.

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMrs Rochester

yes, it is confusing...indeed...

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMrs Rochester

I will readily confess to being baffled by this as well. This person wants me to see them as a male, and has gone to great lengths to have me and others see them as male...but then chooses to embrace a uniquely feminine bodily function? Doesn't it defeat the entire struggle to be accepted as a man?? I had the same confusion with the "pregnant man" story years back, and no one has ever explained it to me- usually they just rage at me for being transphobic.

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKT

I love all the people commenting that breastfeeding is a female only thing.
It's not.
Males of several mammalian species, including humans, are capable of breastfeeding their young. There is a tribe in Africa (The Aka tribe I believe... I could be mistaken, but am not up for a long google search today) that is known for their males nursing infants just as much as the females do.
This person is a male who has decided his nipples serve a purpose other than decoration. Why are we all going insane over it?

April 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJen

Yes, the Aka.
Some other interesting info on male breastfeeding: http://www.unassistedchildbirth.com/misc-articles/milkmen-fathers-who-breastfeed/

April 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkelly @kellynaturally

there is a FAQ on his website that goes into detail on this. Worth reading for those that don't "get it".

April 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer Ruby

actually there have been some occurrences of male lactation in non-transgendered men. Most of the time it's been when the mother has passed but male lactation does occur on occasion.

April 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBronwyn

Birthing a baby/breastfeeding is NOT uniquely feminine. While the majority of people with ovaries and wombs are female, not all are.

May 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterC. Powell

This is a great piece and really makes me think about how to rectify my own identity which is sometimes make, sometimes female and mostly in between. Please, if you have more posts, add me to your mailing list!

May 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEod

[...] phdinparenting on August 21, 2012 · 0 comments Earlier this year, I wrote about Trevor, a transgender gay breastfeeding Canadian father, who blogs at Milk Junkies. This week, as I [...]

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