Melbourne transgender man AJ Kearns says he is 'blessed' to have become pregnant and given birth.

By Australian Story/By Janine Cohen

Melbourne man AJ Kearns says he is just an ordinary father living in the suburbs with his two young children. But there are many who would disagree.

At 41, he is a transgender man who chose to become pregnant and have a baby.

Having lived as a man for three years, Mr Kearns postponed his physical transition to take the highly unusual step of falling pregnant.

Transgender man gives birth
Mr Kearns and his then-partner Zu White with their two children. (Photo: Supplied)

“So even though I knew I was a man and was quite comfortable with the fact that I was transgendered I had to put the physical transition on hold whilst I gave birth,” Mr Kearns told Australian Story.

Mr Kearns and his then-partner Zu White already had one child. But due to complications at the first birth, he decided to carry their second child.

“I understand my story may seem confusing. I see it as a simple thing. My body was blessed with the ability to provide life,” Mr Kearns said.

Gender specialist labels Kearns a trailblazer

Mr Kearns is a trailblazer, according to his gender specialist, Dr Fintan Harte.

It is the first time in more than 30 years of practice that the psychiatrist has encountered a “trans-identified male” who had planned to become pregnant.

In 2010, Mr Kearns started seeing Dr Harte seeking approval to go on testosterone and have chest surgery.


Mr Kearns was nervous about telling his psychiatrist he planned to have a baby.

“I was concerned that he wouldn’t see me as a man or I guess maybe I wouldn’t be trans enough or it would be misconstrued as a desire to be a woman,” he said.

Related: Why Michael Hughes is taking photos in women’s bathrooms.

Dr Harte said he could see no reason why Mr Kearns should not have a baby, although he was concerned about how the transgender man was going to cope when he was confronted with his female pregnant physique.

transgender man gives birth
(Photo: Alison Bennett.)

Mr Kearns admits there were times when he found it challenging but he got through it.

“Regardless of what clothes you wear or anything else they start seeing the quintessential female form,” he said.

He kept his pregnancy quiet because he was concerned that some people would find it confronting.

Pregnancy did not change role as father

Midwife Aaren Stillwell supported Mr Kearns during his pregnancy and labour.

“This is the first time I’d ever worked with someone in midwifery who is transgender so it was challenging at first having to use the correct pronouns because you are always saying she and he and pregnant woman so I had never had to say he or pregnant person,” she says.

Despite giving birth, Mr Kearns has always regarded himself as the father of his two children. (Screenshot: Australian Story)

Despite giving birth, Mr Kearns has always regarded himself as the father of his two children.

Ms White said AJ was “exactly what I would have ordered” for a father.

“He is committed, he’s devoted, he’s very easy to work with,” she said.

The couple say they have been honest with their children about how they were conceived.

“Most probably my greatest fear is that my children will bear the brunt of people’s ignorance,” Mr Kearns said.

“People’s perception of what makes a family become broader.

“I think as long as the child knows it’s deeply loved that’s what makes a family. So the fact that I have my own gender history… or story makes me no less a good parent.

“There’s nothing experimental about this, we’re just living our lives and being authentic and I think if you were going to raise a child that’s the least you give them is the sense that they should be themselves.”

Dr Harte said Mr Kearns’ children should be fine with knowing the truth.

“Children have rich fantasy lives; frogs turn into princes, pumpkins turn into coaches and a woman turning into a man and vice versa is literally child’s play,” he said.

“So it really depends on how adults handle the situation and the disclosure is managed.”

Six months after giving birth, Mr Kearns started physically transitioning, taking testosterone and then having chest surgery.

“I think if he hadn’t transitioned there was a very strong likelihood that he would have taken his own life,” Dr Harte said.

Mr Kearns, who has a Masters in Fine Arts, documented his pregnancy and transition every month for two years with photographer Alison Bennett.

The result is now an exhibition entitled Inverto which is touring overseas.

From Daddy’s Tummy airs on ABC1 tonight, Monday August 10 at 8pm.

This post originally appeared on ABC News.



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