Evan was born a woman. He came out as transgender 16 years ago but never stopped wanting to have a baby. Evan’s pregnancy is proof that we live in amazing times.
While Hemple has been taking hormones since 2003 to physically become male, in April 2016, following several rounds of artificial insemination using donor sperm, the 35-year-old gave birth to his son.
Evan, 35, is a stocky guy of medium height with a trimmed, fuzzy blond beard and two gem studs in each earlobe. He usually wears a Red Sox hat, and when he’s nervous, he’ll remove it and obsessively bend the rim
In a recent piece for TIME called ‘My Brother’s Pregnancy and the Making of a New American Family,’ Evan’s sister Jessi talked to her sibling about his pregnancy and how it represents modern families.
On getting pregnant the Boston man acknowledges in the interview he wasn’t sure exactly how it would all play out. Evan, however, said that his experience was almost entirely positive.
“It was a gmable,” Evan told TIME. “I didn’t know how I’d feel, but it turns out I just feel like it’s really cool that my body can do this.”
Evan also talked about going into the HR department at his work to tell them he was pregnant.
“It wasn’t that I expected her to have a negative reaction,” he said of breaking the news. “I just had no idea at all.”
But the father-to-be said the HR representative was delighted about the news and congratulated him by saying: “Well, this is unexpected, but that’s great!”
The conversation as well as the images used to illustrate Evan’s tale convey vital signals about society’s rising acceptance of trans persons becoming parents, with the majority of people welcoming the father throughout his pregnancy.
When you consider that the expecting father didn’t inform many people he was having a baby inside, Jessi said the favorable response was “least shocking.” “He looked like a man with a beer belly,” his sister Jessi said.
Evan said that while he dodged the wistful doting of strangers who mistook his large tummy for something else, he felt he lost out on the wistful doting that other pregnant women receive.
“People talk about the attention you get when you’re pregnant, and for the most part that was absent for me,” he says.
“Mostly I liked that because I don’t like body attention normally, but there’s also a loss.”
One ostensible negative for Evan’s unusual situation was the issues he had around his medical insurance, which wouldn’t cover pregnancy tests and other things because he was registered as male.
“My sex is female, and my gender is male,” he explained it but said he eventually had to change his gender to female on his medical insurance.
“When I get insurance letters, they don’t say ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am.’ They just say ‘Dear Evan Hempel,’ and that’s just fine,” he says. “At the end of the day, it was just frustrating to get denial after denial of services.”
Evan – who is raising his baby with his female partner – is chest-feeding his son, what transgender men call breastfeeding. He says once the baby gets old enough he plans to start taking testosterone again and eventually his breasts will shrink down.
While Evan’s pregnancy may defy gender gender binary biliefs, his genuine care for his kid illustrates that parenting is ultimately about how you love a child, not how that child came into your life.
In the TIME piece, his sister Jessi poignantly writes: “To outsiders, his [Evan] family will look like any other – a tossed-together group of kids and adults raising one another.”