S4, Ep 4 Freddy McConnell: The Dad who Gave Birth
Today we welcome award-winning Guardian journalist, writer and full-time single dad, Freddy McConnell. Freddy is perhaps most well-known for the film Seahorse: The Dad Who Gave Birth directed by acclaimed director Jeanie Finlay which documented his journey into fatherhood as a trans man. Freddy speaks to us about the empowering experience of realising he was trans, of coming off of testosterone to become pregnant, and how being trans is not necessarily a transition but a state of being.
We also discuss the misinformation given to trans men about the effects of testosterone therapy on their fertility. I found this interview particularly fascinating given my work with testosterone deficiency syndrome in cis men. It was a really important reminder that our assumptions in the medical profession need to be challenged when it comes to treating trans bodies.
Freddy talks about his childhood, the freedom he was given to make his own choices and the compromises he felt compelled to make. We talk about his experimentation with identity, about the difficulty in getting information about being trans 10 years ago and the struggle to get medical treatment - in cases it can be years until the first appointment, let alone starting treatment.
Importantly, we look at the difference between treating trans men and cis men with testosterone and the evolution of understanding how it affects trans men. We discuss the changes that testosterone had on Freddy’s body from hair to his own scent and then being read as male - a hugely affirming moment. Freddy shares how being cared for as a trans man being pregnant was rather uncomplicated, the midwife simply caring for the person in front of them and how the challenges of pregnancy were more from the lack of testosterone and the dysphoria rather than pregnancy.
Seahorse is available to watch here.
Freddy's work can be found on his website here.
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Freddy McConnell: @FreddyMcConnell
Naomi Sheldon: @NaomiSheldon1
Anand Patel: @therealdranand
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