In another step forward for the transgender movement, a trans woman (a natal male) has breastfed a baby.
The 30-year-old transwoman sought help from Mount Sinai’s Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery in New York City. Her female partner was “not interested in breastfeeding” and she wanted to assist. Although she had not had gender-reassignment surgery, she had well-developed breasts after years of taking medication.
From chatter on internet forums, it appears that trans women are experimenting with drugs to help them lactate. However, this case study is the first formal report in the medical literature of induced transgender lactation.
This “pleasant, well nourished, well developed woman” took an anti-nausea drug called domperidone. It is used off-label to increase breastmilk production, in combination with the feminising hormones oestrogen, progesterone and spironolactone.
The doctors encouraged her to obtain the domperidone from Canada, where it is legal, because the Food and Drug Administration has banned it in the US. In a 2004 advisory, the FDA stated: “Because of the possibility of serious adverse effects, FDA recommends that breastfeeding women not use domperidone to increase milk production.”
With the help of all these medications and regularly use of a breast pump, she was eventually producing 227 grams of breast milk a day – enough to feed the baby by herself for six weeks. This is below the 500 grams that babies need, so eventually she had to supplement it with formula.
The authors of the study in the journal Transgender Health concluded that “modest but functional lactation can be induced in transgender women”.
“This is a very big deal,” says Joshua Safer of Boston Medical Center, told New Scientist. “Many transgender women are looking to have as many of the experiences of non-transgender women as they can, so I can see this will be extremely popular.”
While this development was greeted with great enthusiasm as a symbol of transgender progress, less attention was paid to its safety.
Domperidone is associated with cardiac arrhythmias, cardiac arrest, and sudden death when used intravenously. There are also reports that spironolactone, a drug which is used to suppress male hormones in men who want to become women, is associated with tumours in rats, although the American Academy of Pediatrics believes that it is compatible with normal breastfeeding.
Breastmilk is a powerful influence on a baby’s development, including its IQ. The safety factor and the psychological consequences of a man feeding a baby, especially a biological father pumped full of drugs, are unknown.
Is this really a “big deal”, or in the words of the New York Times, “a next major stage in transgender parenthood”?
As a public relations stunt for the transgender movement, yes.
Breastfeeding is a powerful symbol of nurturing motherhood. If some natal men are capable of doing this, it’s easier to claim that masculinity and femininity are incoherent concepts.
But it’s not a “big deal” for the children.
The welfare of the child was overshadowed by the satisfaction of the transgender in the case report. But think for a moment. A baby feeding on milk filled with feminising hormones expressed by a male body after taking an illegal drug may be at risk of long-term damage. But the authors of the article downplayed these. The most important issue was allowing a man to have his quintessential motherhood experience. The interests of the baby were so tangential to the authors' concerns that it is not even clear whether the transwoman is the biological father of the baby or not.
And it’s not a “big deal” for women.
Here we have a guy, with all of his sexual equipment intact, showing that he is just as good as any woman. He has colonised femininity, by demonstrating (or attempting to) that women are unnecessary. Men can do women’s stuff just as well as they can. It’s a grotesque threat to womanhood. Feminists should be up in arms.
This mimicking of wet-nursing will soon be used to confirm that the binary heterosexuality has been dissolved. One of the authors indignantly spurned questions about whether men could breastfeed. “That, implicitly, is saying that you see transgender women as cisgender men, which is transphobic,” she told New Scientist. This expands the scope of transphobia far beyond discrimination towards or contempt for trans people. It now includes common sense questions about the trans program.
Perhaps the lesson to be drawn from this incident may be that babies are just a fashion accessory for the trans movement – a cute validation of a man’s desire to feel like he thinks a woman feels. They are just tools for forging an ideology. Ultimately, what can you call this but child abuse?
Michael Cook is editor of MercatorNet. This article has been republished from MercatorNet under a Creative Commons license.
[Image Credit: Lori Newman, Public Domain]
Michael Cook likes bad puns, bushwalking and black coffee. He did a B.A. at Harvard University in the U.S. where it was good for networking, but moved to Sydney where it wasn’t. He also did a Ph.D. on an obscure corner of Australian literature. Currently he is the editor of BioEdge, a newsletter about bioethics, and MercatorNet. He also writes a bioethics column for Australasian Science.