Transgender man stops hormone treatment to start a family
Pregnant transgender man reveals he stopped his hormone therapy to conceive his husband’s baby and is now a ‘seahorse dad’ expecting their first child
- Bennett Kaspar-Williams, 36, lives in California with Malik Kaspar-Williams, 39,
- Lawyer who was assigned female at birth, identifies as a non-binary trans person
- He is expecting a child since coming off hormone treatment in February 2020
A transgender man has told how he stopped his testosterone hormone therapy in order to fall pregnant with his husband’s child.
Lawyer Bennett Kaspar-Williams, 36, who describes himself as being ‘assigned female’ at birth, spent a decade identifying as a ‘butch lesbian’ before coming out as non-binary transgender.
He began hormone treatment in 2014 and met his husband Malik Kaspar-Williams, 39, an interior designer in the summer of 2017.
The couple, who live in Los Angeles, decided to start a family so Bennett, who has had surgery on the top half of his body but not on his genitalia, put a hold on his hormone treatment.
He fell pregnant and the couple are now expecting their baby later this year.
Bennett describes himself as a ‘seahorse dad’ in a nod to the animal whose males carry the baby.
Bennett Kaspar-Williams, 36, (pictured) who lives in Los Angeles, California, is expecting his first child with his partner Malik Kaspar-Williams, 39,
Bennett (pictured, with Malik) said he spent much of his adult life as a butch lesbian and it took awhile for his mother to grasp the concept when he told her that he’s a non-binary trans person
Bennett said his mother has been supportive of him as a lesbian, trans and gay man. Pictured: Bennett aged seven
Like most people, he could not wait to break the news to his mum, Lori Kaspar, 63, who is also a lawyer, saying: ‘She was shocked, but very excited.
‘I spent most of my adult life identifying as a butch lesbian, so when I told my mum I was non-binary trans person, I do remember her struggling to grasp what it really meant at first.
‘But, by the time she saw me the following spring she got it. By then I’d really started to become more muscular and had a full-on beard.
‘Bless her, she’s always taken my coming out in her stride. I’ve come out three times to her. Once as a lesbian, once as trans and once as a gay man.
‘Every time she has been so proud and supportive. That’s really saying something for a baby boomer who’s lived in Texas for 40 years.’
Calling himself a ‘seahorse dad’ referring to males being the one to give birth in seahorses, Bennett, who is due on November 5 and is recording his pregnancy on Instagram, has stopped the hormone treatment he began in the summer of 2014, to start a family.
Speaking about his pregnancy, he said: ‘In a way, because of lockdown and social distancing, I’ve avoided a lot of uncomfortable situations.
Bennett revealed his pregnancy has been pretty normal and without any complications. Pictured: Bennett and his mother Lori Kaspar
‘No one has questioned whether I’m male or female, pregnant or not. Any announcements to friends and family have been over video calls and via text messages.
‘But the pregnancy itself has been pretty normal, there have been no complications.
‘I document all the milestones on Instagram and keep my followers posted.
‘The response has been super positive. I use the term ‘seahorse dad’ as a way for other trans people to find me and see that they can have a family of their own, too.’
Bennett who would prefer not to share his birth name, never felt any pressure to take part in ‘gendered activities’ throughout his childhood.
He said: ‘My parents never really bought into the whole activities for boys and activities for girls thing.
‘When I was three, I decided I wanted to learn dance and my parents were like, ‘Okay, cool.’
Bennett (pictured, with Malik) who was mainly friends with boys throughout childhood, said he noticed he was different when he began puberty
‘A few months later I decided I wanted to take karate and they were the same.
‘One day I could be a ballerina and the next I could be chopping wood at karate.
‘That carried on throughout my childhood.’
Mainly friends with boys, it was only after starting puberty that Bennett realised, he was different to his male pals.
‘I remember turning 11 and being told I needed a training bra by my mum,’ he continued.
‘A lot of girls at that age are excited and looking forward to becoming a woman, but it just reminded me I was different, and I felt upset about having to wear one.
‘I’d get to school and take it off, then put it back on before I got home.
‘But I didn’t hate my breasts, or any other part of me growing up, I was just sort of detached’
The lawyer dated boys and girls throughout secondary school and began dating females exclusively after turning 18. Pictured: Bennett, 24 weeks pregnant
Refusing to dress like other girls, Bennett would proudly wear flannel shirts and baggy jeans.
Dating boys and girls throughout secondary school, after turning 18 he started seeing females exclusively.
Explaining the decision, Bennett, who does not have a relationship with his father, said: ‘The older I got, the more my gender presentation defined who I could date.
‘I started looking very masculine, like a butch woman. I had a vague attraction to men, but I didn’t act on it.
‘The people I dated during that time reflected how I looked.
‘I was a gay woman and that attracted other gay women.’
As Bennet became more involved with the LGBTQ community in his 20s, he started spending more time with gender non-comforming people and even had a friend come out as transgender in 2003.
Bennett (pictured, with Malik) made a decision to start his transition after turning 30 and qualifying as a lawyer
‘I’d always thought the only way to express yourself as a masculine female was to be gay,’ he recalled.
‘My eyes were opened to this whole other world of gender expression.
‘That was something that never went away – wondering if I’d be happier transitioning – but I didn’t act on it for a long time.’
After turning 30 in October 2013, he finally started to explore the possibility of transitioning.
And, just a month after qualifying as a lawyer, in July 2014, he made the decision to start his transition.
‘I can’t really describe how I felt at the time,’ said Bennett. ‘I wasn’t unhappy before, but I wanted to explore different options.
‘I had my bar exams in July and didn’t want to start transitioning while studying for them, as the tests are ridiculously hard.
‘But in August that year I began testosterone therapy.’
Bennett (pictured) said when he began taking hormones, his body temperature raised and he began to feel hungrier
Taking the hormone every day, it was only a matter of weeks before Bennett started noticing a difference.
‘I suddenly felt a lot warmer – like my body temperature had actually risen,’ he said.
‘I started feeling a lot hungrier and had far more energy.
‘Every day I was working out and I could do things a bit faster, a bit better, a bit easier.
‘It reminded me of when Spiderman gets bitten by the bug and starts getting his Spidey powers.’
By the time he turned 31 in October that year, Bennett had come out as a trans person to his friends, family and colleagues.
‘To be honest, no one was surprised,’ he explained. ‘For over a decade I’d been this very masculine lesbian.’
Two years after beginning hormone treatment, in the summer of 2015, Bennett had surgery to remove his breasts – paying $5,000 (£3,924) for the procedure.
Bennett (pictured, with Malik) said having an operation to remove his breasts was really liberating but he has never had dysphoria about any area of his body
Recalling how it took the operation to make him realise how unhappy he was about having female breasts, he said: ‘It was really liberating. I had this feeling that it was something that I needed to do, but I never had a self-hatred of my breasts, like some trans people.
‘I had no dysphoria about certain body parts and still don’t.
‘But I never could have anticipated what a relief it would be to find them gone. It was a huge weight off my shoulders.
‘That’s the end of the surgical road when it comes to my transitioning though – bottom half surgery is off the table. I have no dysphoria with that part of my body.’
Initially still dating women after the surgery, Bennett soon felt confident enough to begin dating men.
Describing the gay dating scene as a trans male, he explained that people’s responses were mixed.
He said: ‘Some people were totally trans competent and had dated trans people like me before.
Bennett (pictured, with Malik) said explaining to matches on dating apps that he’s a trans gay male became exhausting
‘About half were positive about the idea but needed educating.
‘Then there was a minority who were rude, asking what was going on between my legs.
‘After a while it did get exhausting having to explain to each match about what it is to be a trans gay male, so I ended up including some literature on my profile like, ‘Hey, I’m trans. Read this.’
‘It probably sounded hostile, but it was my way of dealing with the situation.’
And, after kissing a few frogs, Bennett met Malik through a dating app in the summer of 2017, with the couple becoming exclusive that November.
‘Our first date was a phone call,’ Bennett laughed. ‘We spoke for hours and hours over several weeks.
‘When we finally met, it felt like we already knew each other.
‘We fell in love pretty hard, pretty fast.’
Bennett and Malik (pictured on their wedding day) tied the knot in May 2019, with 40 of their closest friends and family in attendance
Spending their first Christmas together in 2018, with all of Bennett’s family at a cabin in Nebraska, Malik had an extra special festive surprise.
‘It was the first time a lot of my family had met one of my boyfriends,’ he continued.
‘Malik was a real trooper – everybody loved him.
‘We’d finished swapping presents and he said, ‘There’s one more, you have to find it.’
‘I was looking and looking, and he said it was up higher. So I stood up and looked down at Malik and he had a ring box in his hand.
‘I was so shocked, I had my hand over my mouth. Then I said yes.’
The couple tied the knot in May 2019, in Palm Springs, California, with 40 of their nearest and dearest at a private home.
And, the very same week, Bennett made the decision to come off his testosterone, to increase the chances of him falling pregnant.
‘We’d spoken about starting a family and we knew we definitely wanted to,’ he explained.
Bennett became pregnant just two months after the couple began trying to get pregnant. Pictured: Bennett’s baby scan
‘But we weren’t sure if I’d be able to carry a baby for us, after transitioning.
‘I wasn’t sure how I was going to respond to being off the testosterone, so I waited a couple of weeks before telling Malik.’
With his menstrual cycle taking several months to return to normal, it was not until Christmas last year that the couple started trying to fall pregnant.
‘Once my period became regular, we knew it was the right time,’ Bennett added.
Then just two months into trying, in February the couple found out they were expecting.
Bennett said: ‘I had a load of strip tests and was taking them basically every day.
‘After the second month, the pregnancy strips kept getting darker and darker, until Malik caved and bought a proper digital one for us.
‘We were super excited, we couldn’t wait.’
But, with California declaring a state of emergency, as a result of Covid-19, just weeks later, on March 4, the couple have been unable to share the news up close and personal with those who they are closest too.
Bennett explained that he and Mailk know the sex of their baby, but won’t be announcing until after the birth. Pictured: Bennett at 28 weeks pregnant
Instead, Bennett has been using social media to keep people informed of his journey.
He said: ‘Lockdown has meant going to a lot of check-ups on my own.
‘Nurses and doctors have been brilliant. I think I’m their first trans pregnancy, but everyone has been very open and understanding.
‘We know the sex of the baby, but we won’t announce that until after the birth.
‘There’s something about society’s obsession with finding out a baby’s gender which is a bit too much.
‘Once they’re born, we will use the pronouns that correspond to their sex, but we will make it clear they don’t have to accept those labels.’
Meanwhile, Bennett may wait until they have had a second baby, before resuming his hormone treatment.
‘We like the idea of having a little sibling for the baby,’ he said. ‘It makes sense to do it sooner rather than later.
‘So I’m a bit hesitant about going back on hormones, only to come off again six months later – I’m not sure my mental or physical health could take it.
‘And with Malik, my transition and our babies, I really will feel complete.’
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