Breastfeeding group rejects transgender dad's leadership bid - Canada - CBC News
Sorry, to time to paste text.
Do you think that any parent should be able to lead LLL groups? What do you think about this man's situation? Unfortunate? Discriminated against? Or wants the best of both worlds?
It's not often I'm at a loss as to how to respond to a news story. This one's left me stumped. But I think I have to say um, no. He shouldn't be able to be a LLL group leader.
This woman clearly wants to have it both ways. She wouldn't be able to give birth or breastfeed if she wasn't a woman in the first place. So she wants to be called a man but have the advantages of being a woman too. I can't see most women being comfortable with her giving them advice on breastfeeding acting and dresssing like a man.
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No, I don't think he (although, "he" is clearly still a "she" by all accounts) should be a LLL leader. Sure, he has some experience with breast feeding, but that doesn't make him qualified to lead and I would say he experiences/struggles are obviously not those of most women who attend LLL meetings.
I do think he is going for the best of both worlds. If you feel that you are meant to be male, then why would you feel you should breast feed? It is one of the most "female" acts a person can do.
My first thought is that the issue shouldn't be whether this person identifies as a man or woman, but whether he or she has breastfed a child. Does LLL require that leaders be biological moms? I don't think so, and the organization has been a great help to many adoptive moms who induced lactation to nurse their babies that they didn't give birth to. And I'm generally not fond of saying someone either should or can't do something based solely on the genitals they were born with. But... this doesn't feel quite right.
I think the bigger issue is that this person hasn't quite figured out his/her own identity. Fathers don't breastfeed their children; fathers support a mother in breastfeeding. I can understand wanting to have your own biological child, and using your own uterus to do so instead of paying a surrogate, but I don't understand how someone who identifies as a man, as a father, as someone who has chosen to remove his breasts, would even want to breastfeed. The first "pregnant man," Thomas Beatie, did not breastfeed his children; his wife, Nancy, did. My husband loves that I've breastfed our kids but he wasn't about to strap on a supplemental nursing system when I returned to work; our kids got EBM in a bottle. I'm glad that "Mr. MacDonald" found LLL to be helpful, but that doesn't mean he should get to be a leader, especially since he would be restricted by LLL regulations from sharing his experiences with milk donation.
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I was thinking i might find this here after seeing it in the news. I was kind of curious to see what people thought.
For one thing, if he wishes to be called a man, who are we to argue? It's not up to anyone to judge his gender based on what we think. He knows if he is a man or woman in his mind, and no one else can say that for him.
I think it's wrong of LLL. This man went extra far above and beyond because he thought breastfeeding was definitely the right way to go. Why shouldn't they be thrilled to have someone who went to such great lengths to be sure his baby got what he thought was best?
Isn't this what they work for the hardest? Parents who face the challenges that breast feeding has head on and overcome? This seems like a breast feeding success story to me!
To me, he wouldn't be an appropriate leader of a group of breastfeeding women. His experience doesn't translate to theirs at all. However, he'd be a wonderful leader for other transgendered parents attempting the same thing he is.
Laurie, mom to:
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wants the best of both worlds. It's great that they helped him, but that does not mean that they have to accept him as a leader. I would have been uncomfortable and would not have felt comfortable telling people I was uncomfortable if my lactation consultant had been a man or even a woman who hadn't breastfed. The right of the breastfeeding mother to feel comfortable asking for help trumps the rights of this man to be able to help. The fact that he can't see that just means (to me) that he's doing all of this for the wrong reasons.
Last edited by wlillie; 08-24-2012 at 02:51 PM.