Transgender Man Becomes First in Chile to Give Birth

A Chilean transgender man is making headlines after being the first recorded male in Chile's history to give birth. Known as "Matias," he represents a rare instance in which a transgender man in Chile was able to keep his female genitalia, though he is legally male.

“We know that our case is a milestone, a precedent,” said Matías, who chose to keep his identity secret while talking to Chilean television station Mega about his pregnancy. “Along the way we discovered legal loopholes... but the entire thing has been so normal.”

In Chile, if a man or woman wishes to change their legal sex, they must hire a lawyer and present the case in court. Because there is no law that protects the right to gender identity, petitions for name and gender changes are left up to a judge.

“If you still have reproductive organs from your biological sex, it's very hard to get a judge to approve your request,” Lukas Berredo, a transgender man and political coordinator for Movement for Sexual Diversity (MUMS), told The Santiago Times.

Only about 10 percent of petitions to change gender identity are granted in Chile. This leaves the remaining 90 percent of transgender individuals vulnerable to many types of discrimination that can be comparable to that of undocumented workers, according to LGBTQ rights group Movilh.  

"The parents might encounter problems legally listing their baby as their own child since the current law is ambiguous in this respect,” Alberto Roa, Movilh’s general secretary, told The Santiago Times. “The fact that the child might not legally belong to both parents would undoubtedly affect their quality of life, because the law does not address diversity types of families.”

The case is similar to that of Thomas Beatie, a transgender Arizona resident who became known as "The Pregnant Man" after becoming pregnant through a sperm donor in 2008. He's since given birth to three children and recently announced plans to appeal after his marriage was declared invalid by an Arizona court. Beatie hopes to divorce his wife of nine years.