Remember Trystan and Biff? They’re the parents of Leo Murray Chaplow, who was born this past July. What makes their birth story a bit different is the fact that Trystan Reese, a transgender man, gave birth to Leo with his partner Biff Chaplow.
Recently, Reese opened up about the entire process in The Cut, as a way to help other transgender families and parents, and raise awareness for people who may not understand what it’s really like. In general, both Reese and Chaplow have been extraordinarily candid about their experiences, documenting their parenting journey on their personal website and Facebook page.
But now, Reese has gotten even more poignant and upfront about being a transgender parent. For instance, in the past, Reese didn’t even think it would be possible to be loved as a transgender person, not to mention “having a partner or getting married — not to mention settling down, having a house, kids.” When Reese met Chaplow, everything changed–and for the better.
The couple, who have two children from adoption, decided to have a third child biologically, largely because of finances. This isn’t too surprising, considering how expensive adoption is, as Reese noted, saying:
“Adoption is so expensive. It’s emotionally difficult, and it’s financially difficult. We know that because we’ve already been through that with our other two kids. We know that we’ll figure out the financial part as it comes, though, and we’ll figure out ways to cobble together side income — right now we rent out our garage studio. Eventually, Biff would really like to stay home, so that’s our goal.”
While Reese had a fairly easy pregnanc, it started to get complicated by the 8th month, because he suffered from rib separation. His ribs were “separating from the cartilage” in his sternum and “started splitting” from his spine–which resulted in being induced at 40 weeks. After 36 hours of labor, Leo was born at eight pounds, six ounces.
When it comes to LGBTQ parental rights, it’s about just letting people live their lives, regardless of their sexual or gender identities–which is common sense. This can be hard for Reese to explain in interview without being “little sassy sometimes,” as he says, because they aren’t any different from other people:
“It’s hard not to be like, Look, we’re just two people who wanted to have a fucking baby. Why is this such a big deal? We happen to have all the parts necessary to do it, so what’s the big deal? I mean, I kind of understand, but the vast majority of me is like, dude, who cares? This is not anything big.
LGBTQ people, queer people, have been building their own families however we possibly can for as long as there have been human beings — people on the margins who haven’t had access to family have found ways to build families. We’re just carrying on that sacred tradition. It does not feel that strange, odd, or different to us. For queer people, our story is not shocking at all.”
That says it all.