In honor of the upcoming Transgender Awareness Week (from 11/13 – 11/19) this week’s episode is a wonderful birth story with Trystan Reese.
Trystan Reese assembled a birth team that included his partner, dad, mother-in-law, and the head nurse at the hospital to ensure his birth experience as a trans man was exactly what he wanted. He tells Adriana Lozada how communicating what he expected from each of them made all the difference as he welcomed his son Leo.
Listen through to the end of the episode for Adriana’s “Two Things to Do: One for You, One for the Rest of Us” as she selects actions, books, and other resources to further inform your intuition and support others on their birth journeys.
Related Birthful episodes:
- The Induction Process, with Toni Golen
- Insider Tips from a Labor and Delivery Nurse, with Mandy Irby
- Know What You’re Up Against When Giving Birth at a Hospital, with Mimi Niles
- Childbirth Induced Posttraumatic Stress Syndrome: A Systematic Review of Prevalence and Risk Factors, Frontiers in Psychology (2017)
- “I was the pregnant man,” video of Trystan (from 2017) or audio recording via The Moth
- Trans Fertility Co., Trystan’s website for everything you wanted to know about transgender fertility
- Commit to the ongoing work of learning how to support transgender folks with A Guide to Being a Good Ally from the National Center for Transgender Equality.
- Recognize injustice levied against the transgender community by understanding rights as shared by the American Bar Association on their Transgender Resources page.
[Birth Stories] How He Prepared to Give Birth
Adriana Lozada: Welcome to Birthful. I’m Adriana Lozada.
Trystan Reese: You know, and I’m holding my dad’s hand, and my partner’s hand, and I was connected to my dad, and our whole ancestry was in the room with us, you know? And as Leo was born, it was like and my future ancestry, everyone that comes after me was in the room, too.
Lozada: That was parent and trans educator, Trystan Reese. In his birth story, he shares how he made sure that everyone in his birth team, from his partner, to his dad, his mother-in-law, and even the head nurse knew what he needed from them. Their advocacy and support made a huge difference in his birth experience. Make sure you stay on until the end of the episode for my two things to do, one for you, one for the rest of us. You’re listening to Birthful, here to inform your intuition.
Trystan, it is a delight to have you here today to hear your story. Can you tell us who you are, a little bit about yourself, how do you identify?
Reese: Sure. I’m Trystan. I live in Portland, Oregon. I am a dad. I’m an adoptive parent. I’m a gestational parent. I’m a transgender man. I am white. I’m a Canadian immigrant to the U.S. And I’m vegetarian.
Lozada: And we have some of those in common. I’m vegetarian and I lived in Canada for quite a bit. I did my undergraduate there in Montreal, so I… It holds a special place in my heart, for sure.
Reese: Cool. Did you go to Gill?
Lozada: I went to Concordia.
Reese: Oh, nice.
Lozada: In communications. Yeah.
Reese: Oh yeah, amazing. Yeah, my parents met at Gill in Montreal, so there you go.
Lozada: So, in terms of your birth story, how did you decide it was time to have a baby and how did that come about?
Reese: I mean, it’s funny. There wasn’t really any one time when I decided to have a baby. It was really much more of a longer-term consideration process, and you know, as a transgender man, I’ve known at that point dozens and now hundreds of other transgender men who’ve had babies, and so for at least 20 years, transgender men have been having children even after having transitioned in one way or another, including being on testosterone and having a beard, et cetera. So, I knew it was possible, but I never wanted to have kids, period, until I met the person who would become my partner.
Yeah, and it was just this kind of a slow evolution from there. We actually ended up becoming parents very early on in our relationship. We opened our home up to my partner’s niece and nephew, my partner’s sister’s kids. They came to live with us and then we adopted them formally. Yeah, and then we decided to grow our family, and having been through an adoption process, and you know, it’s quite financially, but especially emotionally arduous process. So, growing our family that way was something that we just knew that we could not make it through.
And so, you know, having our own biological child, as counterintuitive as it may seem for two men, was actually much, much easier and much cheaper to just have it ourselves, and so that was the process.
Lozada: Wow. And so, when you had your baby, it became a family of five, like you already… You had to not only deal with figuring out how to take care of a baby, but also introduce to siblings, and just manage all those things.
Reese: Yeah. Although I have to tell you, going from two kids to three is much easier than going from zero kids to two. So, it was relatively simple to just throw a new kid into the mix.
Lozada: And so, so much transformation, so many changes happening in your life. How did you find out you were pregnant?
Reese: You know, we had been trying, and this particular morning, I mean I really just felt sick, like the flu, and so I woke my partner up, was like, “I don’t feel good. Can you take the kids to class?” And of course my partner’s like, “Sure, that’s no problem, but you should take a pregnancy test.” I was like, “No, no, no.” I had been very diligent trying to impose some kind of false sense of control over this process, right? And so, my partner left, and I’m like lying… You know when you’re sick, and like you’re lying on the floor in the bathroom, because the tile feels good on your face, it’s like cool, you know? I was like that. That-
Lozada: That kind of sick? Yeah. Oh, yeah.
Reese: And then in that, I was like, “I mean, I guess,” and so I found whatever the pregnancy test in the cabinet, and then I peed on it and I was like, “Oh my God. This is pregnant. I am pregnant.” And I texted my best friend, who is also a transgender man and had a baby, and I was like, “It’s happening!” I mean, he was just like so excited, because he was like, “Oh my God, our kids will be around the same age! They can grow up together.” You know, whatever.
And so, and yeah.
Lozada: Yeah. Did your friend become sort of a pregnancy mentor for you?
Reese: Yes and no. My real… My pregnancy mentors really randomly became the due dates group that I joined on Facebook, of people who also had babies due the same month that I did. And I’ve heard horror stories, especially from other trans people, but just from like your average woman that’s friends with me. They’re like, “Oh, those mommy groups are terrible.” And so, I don’t know what happened that I found a really cool group of people from all over the world. We just met through one of those apps, you know? I mean, I’m just really, really, really privileged. Long before I really decided to get pregnant, I did start to build a community around myself of trans people specifically that could support me through the process, because you know, some of the things that came up were trans specific and some were just pregnancy stuff. You know, like someone finally telling me, “Yeah, you cannot keep commuting to work each day when you’re like seven months pregnant. You can’t keep taking all this extra consulting work. You can’t keep walking to and from the bus stop. No wonder you’re run down and crabby. Just work from home.”
You know, that’s not a trans thing to think, “No, no, no. I can just power through. It’s not a big deal.” Right? Sometimes you just need that one person who has a similar thing, was like, “Oh yeah, I’m a total workaholic, too, and it’s okay to scale back. You’re not weak or whatever for scaling back. You’re growing a human, so chill.”
Lozada: Absolutely. Listen to your body. Chill. I love it. Just chill. Okay, so now you’re pregnant. What did you do to prepare for giving birth? Did you have wishes of what your birth was gonna look like? Did you have any ideas? How did you approach that?
Reese: Yeah. Well, what I was really interested in was not experiencing trauma during my birth, and the baby being alive. That was my goal for the whole thing. And so, what I did was a dug pretty deep into the research and there was a really fascinating study that came out while I was pregnant that talked about PTSD and labor and delivery, and what it said was that the primary driving factor of PTSD coming out of a labor experience was simply a labor and delivery that does not go according to plan. And so for me, I was like, “Great, then my practice internally, my self work is going to be envisioning an empowered, healthy, safe birth that has any outcome. Any outcome.”
Like if I end up accidentally giving up birth in the car on the way to the hospital, what does that look like? How am I planning to have that be a peaceful experience? You know, what does a birth by cesarean look like, so that I feel peaceful about that outcome? However my baby wants to make it Earth side, I was going to be okay with that, and I was gonna trust the team of people that I had around me to help guide me through whatever needed to happen so that I didn’t feel like my body had let me down.
Lozada: Yeah. And I think that is the best practice ever, and as I sit with my doula clients, one of the things we go through, we do this worksheet of identifying how you want to feel during birth, and then follow that up with what are things we can do when you’re being… This is how you want to show up. This is how you want to feel. If you’re not in that mind space, how can we help you come back to that? I wish everybody would sit and do that before doing any other plan.
Reese: Yeah, and I did. I did a lot of HypnoBirth things. Self-hypnosis throughout the pregnancy process. And I went to… We were supposed to go to two delivery classes, and so we went to the first one. It was fine. I had asked an ally, the therapist at Kaiser, to please call the instructor ahead of time and let her know what to expect, that there were gonna be two men in her class. And she was okay. Those classes are the most gendered part of an entire pregnancy. So, we went to the first one. We didn’t go to the second, because it was actually Trans Pride that weekend, and so we opted to go and be with our community right before the labor and delivery process, and I wish I had gone to the second class-
Lozada: Why? Why? Yeah.
Reese: … because there was some pretty crucial information there that I had avoided and I think I was a little bit in denial.
Lozada: Do you remember what those things were that would have been helpful to know?
Reese: Yeah. Like everything about the actual physiological process of giving birth. I had not… I was not in any way, shape, or form prepared. I was prepared for sort of like the early labor, the late labor, and then when they said, “We’re gonna come back and it’s gonna be time to push,” I was like, “Oh my God, I have no idea what happens next.”
Lozada: I know that a lot of people, when they go through pregnancy, and I experienced this myself, is suddenly your body becomes sort of public domain, and everybody has opinions and they judge your decisions. That balanced with the hard work you were doing to avoid trauma and to really create a safe space for yourself through your experience, did you find that what people were saying from the outside was affecting your experience?
Reese: No question. No question. You know, to be a public trans person even as a transgender man, which is worlds easier than as a transgender woman, even as a white person, which is worlds easier than as a trans person of color, it was still extraordinarily difficult. And you know, I was receiving hundreds of emails, direct messages, tweets, of people telling me how disgusting that I am and that I’m gonna give birth to a monster, and I mean truly, truly awful things, and there were many choices we chose not to reveal, and yet people still made assumptions and came at me with, “You know, if you don’t breastfeed, your baby’s gonna be sickly.” So, on top of all the normal invasive, weird, pseudo-scientific stuff, there was also so much transphobia laced in all of that.
And so yeah, it was a toxic pit that I was stuck in for many, many months, and it was very difficult, and I don’t think that I have fully recovered. I may never recover.
Lozada: And I’m so sorry to hear that. I really am sorry that you had to go through all that. Like all we want is to have a healthy baby, and having somebody plant that fear is so unforgivable. It’s so irresponsible.
Reese: Yeah, and I mean often people… There’s people who are intentionally mean and that’s its own thing. And then there’s this whole wide swath of unintentional meanness. For me, much of which came from the natural birth community, and I’m continuing to see the extreme psychological harm of people being encouraged to put their own needs second, their own psychological wellness second, their own physical health and wellness second. And I think it’s deeply and profoundly sexist to expect birthing people to stop caring about themselves. I think it’s deeply and profoundly disempowering to tell people that in fact you do have to give up all of who you are, you do have to give up all of your… Not just your comfort, but your literal safety for this tiny human that you have created.
Lozada: And we know and the research clearly shows us that the sole responsibility of a successful breastfeeding relationship on parent-baby dyad is just too much pressure, because you need systemic support. You need cultural support. You need all of these other things that we don’t have in place. And then when things don’t work out, you’ve “failed.”
Reese: Yeah. And then the overlay of transphobia, the overlay of transgender people, and the fact that some transgender people, and some non-trans survivors of sexual violence experience severe psychological distress around the idea of using their bodies in that way, or they’ve had gender affirmation procedures and they’re not able to feed their baby in that way. You know, there’s just so many compounding issues, and people are like, “Well, breastfeeding is free.” Sure, if you’re not placing a value on the time of the nursing parent. And again, I’m like, “Oh! That’s sexism!” Right?
Reese: And it’s like, “Oh, breastfeeding is easy.” Okay, sure. If it’s easy for you. But then when people struggle, as you had said, there’s no support for them. And there’s so, so, so much pressure. You know, I just… I do see so many people get completely subsumed by that. Those early parenting years, and then come age three, four, five, all that resentment comes out, because it is like, “Oh, I forgot about my partner. Oh, I forgot about myself.” And so, that’s something that we really committed to when I was pregnant. It was like, “How are we gonna stay connected throughout this process and into early parenthood?” And so, that was something that I wanted to make sure that I was still nurturing that as I went.
Lozada: Yeah. So, what are some ways that you’ve nurtured that, that this didn’t only become a process that you were going through, but a process that you were going through together?
Reese: Yeah. I mean, it’s funny, because you know, as queer people we don’t have a set mold that we sort of fall into, and so we’ve always been equitable in our approach to parenting. It’s about who’s good at the things. It’s about who likes the things. And then it ultimately boils down to who hates the thing the least, right? And so, we sort of figured that out, and we had thought going into pregnancy, “Okay, I’m a pregnant person, so my primary job is going to be to take care of myself and the growing fetus, and also I’m the primary provider, and so the expectation is I keep providing. And also, as a feminist man, I don’t want to put my partner, who’s the frontline partner, also in charge of all of the housework and parenting the other kids, and doing the dishes, and doing the laundry.” I was just trying to do all the things.
And also, my expectation was my partner would kind of take care of me. That’s kind of the… what you see in the movies, you know? And finally we just sat down and my partner, Biff, was like, “Okay. Obviously this isn’t working. You’re tired. You’re grumpy. So, why don’t we rejigger things a little bit so that it’s just your job to take care of yourself and the pregnancy and I will step it up in the home department?” And so, we just tried to not be equal, but equitable. Not the keeping score of things, but stay in your lane.
Lozada: And it seems it was very well rooted on clear communication and expectations and adjusting along the way, checking in, and saying, “Hey, this is no longer working. How can we make it work?” So, I appreciate that, the constant need for checking in, and that you guys made it a joint priority and had clear expectations of what you needed from each other. So then, how did you know it was… How did labor start?
Reese: Oh my God. Well, my mother was… Well, my mother had a traumatic first birth experience, and so she at 40 weeks decided to be induced for me, and loved it, and then my older sister was not induced for either of her pregnancies, and she went to 42 weeks with her first and 43 weeks with her second. And I was really certain that that was not something that I wanted to go through, and as I approached my due date, I think it was at 37 weeks and I started to have rib separation, and the baby was measuring quite large, and so I was… I mean, I just begged them. Please, just induce me. I ain’t going to 42 weeks, 43 weeks. I’m dying. And they were like, “No, we will not do that. We cannot induce you before term unless it’s a medical emergency.” And I’m like, “It is a medical emergency! I’m dying!” And they were like, “Unfortunately, the comfort of the pregnant person is not something, a factor that we take into consideration.”
Lozada: People who are listening who’ve been pregnant, they understand. Like, “Oh, my baby’s right underneath my ribs. That hurts. Oh, baby’s kicking me in the ribs. We’ve experienced that.”
Lozada: Your ribs splitting and actually separating is a different… That is pathological. That’s not discomfort, that’s actual damage.
Reese: It’s interesting. I didn’t think about it necessarily at the time. It felt like there was an element of transphobia in it. The dismissal of my pain. And then finally, when I hit exactly my due date was the next day, I called the OB overseeing the whole pregnancy clinic at Kaiser and I was just like, “I’m in excruciating pain. Will you induce me?” And he said, “Okay, you’re at 40 weeks tomorrow. We’ll schedule an induction.” And I was like, “Oh, thank God.”
The next morning, I called the labor and delivery ward. I said, “I’m coming in today.” And they were like, “No, you’re not. We’re full.” And I just cried. I was like… I just cried and I think having a crying, pregnant man on the phone was too much for them, so they were like, “Well, we can call the West Side hospital and see if they’ll take you.” And I was like, “That sounds great!” And the West Side hospital called me and they were like, “Can you be here in an hour?” And I was like, “Yes, absolutely I can.” And I said, “And can you put me on with the head nurse?” And I talked to her and I said, “Listen. I’m a transgender man. I did not get to tour your facility. I did not get to meet your staff, but between now and when I get there, my expectation is that you’re gonna prep everyone to deal with a pregnant person, a birthing person who is a man. From the person who delivers my food, to the person who changes the trash, to the phlebotomist, like whoever I interact with, I want to be… I want them to be 100% clear. I’m not gonna be doing some education at the same time as trying to also bring a human into the world. Is that something that I can count on you to do?”
And so, I just deputized her. You know, I put her in charge of it and she was like, “Yep, totally.” And she took care of it.
Lozada: And did it work?
Lozada: Did you receive the respectful care that you were asking for?
Reese: Yep. She handled it. And my birthing team, in addition to their medical staff, was my partner, my partner’s mother, my mother-in-law, and my dad. And so, I made everyone… I made sure that everyone knew, “This is what I would love from you.” You know, and so with my partner, I said, “I need you to do any interventions around transphobia, so if anyone calls me the wrong pronoun, or calls me mama, or whatever, I want you to take them outside and handle it.” And I told my dad, “Listen, you’re a doctor. You’re like the straight white man in the room. If there are any medical issues, any medical complications, I want you talking to those people who are making decisions about what to do.”
And you know, for my mother-in-law, I was like, “You’ve given birth four times. I want you to reassure me that whatever’s happening, I can do it.” You know, so I just made sure everyone knew what exactly I needed from them to sort of get through the process.
Lozada: I really hope that everybody that hears this takes to heart how that can apply to their realities. As say a Black birthing person, a disabled birthing person, as a poor birthing person, a young birthing person, all of these… Just not the normative ideal, quote unquote, person for whom the system is designed, and understand that they need to step up or put things in place. That just showing up is not gonna be enough.
Reese: Yeah. And you know, it was just really important to me that I treated everyone that was supporting me at the hospital, the whole hospital staff, as if they had my best interests at heart. You know, really just assuming support, assuming good intent going in. I loved having super, super skilled people around to say, “Here’s what we’re gonna do next and here’s what we’re gonna expect.” And the surgeon that came in to meet with me very, very early on said, “You know, the midwife’s gotcha. You’ll probably never see me again. If you need me, I’m right here.” And you know, and I let him know, “Listen, I do not want you to avoid a birth by cesarean. If there is any distress, fetal distress, if I’m in any distress, I feel 100% great about having a surgical birth. I do not have any vision of how this goes other than my baby’s alive and I’m untraumatized. Period.” And he was like, “Okay. I hear you.”
And he actually… He said, “One option that I can give you is if you do need a birth by cesarean, I’m not saying that you will, but if you do, would you prefer a vertical incision as opposed to a horizontal incision?” The healing and birth outcomes are the same no matter what. And I was like, “Well, why would I want a vertical incision?” He said, “Oh, because you’re a transgender man, and often people might associate that horizontal bathing suit line scar as a cesarean scar, which some people might associate with women or femininity or motherhood, whereas a lot of men might have a vertical scar at their naval if they’ve had any number of stomach surgeries or procedures. And so, if that feels more gender affirming to you, I’m happy to make that adjustment and plan ahead for that to happen.”
And I had… Listen, I’m a trans health educator. I had never heard of that before. And so, I was really moved by his ingenuity and his attention to detail, and his empathy, to think, “Okay, if I were a transgender man, pregnant, giving birth, healing, and then parenting, how might my relationship with my body be improved?”
Lozada: That sounds like exceptional, wonderful care. And not just looking at the short-term outcomes, but also long-term impact of health, mental health, body health, all your humanity encompassed completely, not just one aspect. So, in terms of the actual birth, so you’re being induced-
Reese: Oh yeah. Sorry. That’s like what you’re trying to get to. Everything… The Foley bulb, and then the tiny drip of Pitocin, everything did exactly what it was supposed to do. And you know, we just sort of proceeded along, and I think I had about 12 hours of really early labor, so that was just like getting the kickstarted thing, and they’re like, “Yes, everything’s working. It’s great.” Could still kind of sleep, could still kind of eat, could still get up and move around. And then about 12 hours of active labor, and everything started going, and then they could pull back on the Pitocin, because it was like, “Cool, your body’s doing its thing now. We’re good.” And as soon as things started to get really painful, for me part of emerging as unscathed as possible in terms of my psychological experience of the birth, it was really important to me that I had an epidural. And so, they came in, they did that, that was great.
Yeah, and then at some point they were like, “Okay, we’re about two hours to pushing.” And I was like, “Oh my God, I have no idea what to do next.” I read so many books about pregnancy. Nothing on the actual pushing out thing. But they were lovely. They were like, “It’s okay. Your body knows what to do, and also we know what to do, because we’ve done this hundreds of times. We’ll coach you through it. Don’t worry.” And for me, it was a profoundly… It was an embodied experience. It was also a profoundly spiritual experience. And I did not expect that of this particular part of the process.
You know, and they’d said, “Well, we’re gonna have you push, and if you’re not able to feel where you’re pushing because of the epidural, we’ll just take the epidural out.” And I was like, “Of course you are not gonna take the epidural. Watch me push.” I was like determined that I was gonna be able to keep it in. And I did. And I did. And there was one period of time when I sort of called upon those who have passed to give me what I needed in order to get through this transformative experience. And of course, it’s like I am also throwing up with each contraction and push, like I’m puking everywhere, and I’m Canadian, so I’m also apologizing to everyone for throwing up on them. You know, and I’m holding my dad’s hand, and my partner’s hand, and I was connected to my dad, and our whole ancestry was in the room with us, you know?
And as Leo was born, it was like and my future ancestry, everyone that comes after me was in the room too. You know, it was just an incredibly powerful moment that I wouldn’t give up for anything.
Lozada: Oh, and that is just so incredibly beautiful and I think you described it perfectly, because some people don’t realize how at that moment, I mean physically, outside, it looks so mammalian, so just… this energy, and you’re putting everything into it. But that inside, you can be so deeply connected at a different place.
Reese: That’s right. And it is, it’s both. Like it is visceral, like it is mammalian, and all this happened in a hospital on an epidural. You know, so again, people think like you can’t have a spiritual birth in those settings. Not true. Not true. Your spirituality comes with you wherever you are.
Lozada: As we wrap up, what would you like to leave the listeners with?
Reese: I think I would just say there is no one right way to do pregnancy. There’s no one right way to do labor and delivery. There’s no one right way to do postpartum and parenthood. If you look at your favorite parents, the people in your life that are like your parenting role models, who do you think has a relationship with their kids that you’re like, “Oh, that I like.” You know, interview them. I did that when I was pregnant to just hear different versions of birth stories, like what worked for people, what didn’t work for people, how did they develop the kind of relationship with their kids, and then what… Do you know any cool teenagers? Talk to their parents. What did they do? What did they do, what are your core values? Are your core values independence and self-sufficiency? Are they like deep interconnection? What do you care about? And you know, start to sort of weave those in, because I think a powerful embodied birth can happen anywhere, and getting attached to what it looks like I think is the only foolish thing to do, because the world might have other plans for you and other lessons that it wants you to learn throughout the process of giving birth.
Lozada: Absolutely. Thank you so very much for this wonderful talk today.
Reese: Of course. Thank you for having me.
Lozada: That was Trystan Reese. He’s a global educator working with a broad range of birth professionals to create a more inclusive culture through his consulting firm, which is Collaborate.Consulting. Trystan also provides information on trans fertility on his website, TransFertility.co, and if you want to see birth photos and baby pictures, his Instagram is @BiffandI.
Whatever your birth choice is, I hope one of your takeaways from our conversation is that you have every right to expect good care and good support from everyone who participates in your birth, and how helpful it can be to communicate your expectations with them ahead of time so they know how to advocate for you, whether they’re a head nurse or your mother-in-law.
One of the things you can do for yourself is write down a few ways that each person in your birth team can advocate and support you, and then communicate that to one of them this week. Do it. Do it this week. And then rinse and repeat until you’ve spoken to all of them. And then for the staff that you won’t meet until you’re at the hospital, have a pre-written sentence or two that you’ve practiced on how they can best support you so that you can share that with them when you get to the hospital or the birth center.
The one thing you can do for the rest of us is to learn more about how to be a good ally for transgender people. A good place to start is by reading The Guide to Being a Good Ally from the National Center for Transgender Equality. You can find it at bit.ly/transallyguide, and I’ve also placed a direct link in the in-depth show notes for this episode at Birthful.com.
Lozada: Birthful was created by me, Adriana Lozada, and is a production of Lantigua Williams & Co. The show’s senior producer is Paulina Velasco. Virginia Lora is the managing producer. Cedric Wilson is our lead producer. Ronald Young Jr. mixed this episode. Alie Kilts contributed to this episode. Thank you for listening to and sharing Birthful. Be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Spotify, and everywhere you listen. Come back next week for more ways to inform your intuition.
Lozada, Adriana, host. “[Birth Stories] How He Prepared to Give Birth.” Birthful, Lantigua Williams & Co., November 3, 2020. Birthful.com.
About Trystan Reese
Trystan Reese is an established thought leader, educator, and speaker, focusing on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. He is a professionally trained anti-racism facilitator and curriculum designer, studying under Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington at the Social Justice Training Institute. Trystan has also been organizing with the trans community for nearly two decades and has been on the frontlines of this generation’s biggest fights for LGBTQ justice.
Trystan launched onto the global stage as “the pregnant man” in 2017 when his family’s unique journey gained international media attention. He was invited to give closing performances for The Moth Mainstage in Portland, Albuquerque, and Brooklyn; the video of the Brooklyn event has garnered over 2.5 million views. Trystan partnered with many major media outlets, including CNN, NBC, People, and Buzzfeed, to bring his message of love and resilience to the mainstream.
The founder of Collaborate Consulting, Trystan provides customized training solutions for individuals, organizations, and communities interested in social justice. He has trained hundreds of medical providers on LGBTQ inclusion, has delivered keynotes at dozens of conferences and convenings, and is releasing his first book in the Spring of 2021.
He is married to his partner Biff and they live in Portland, Oregon with their three kids: Lucas, Hailey, and Leo. They are very happy.
For more birth photos, baby pictures, and to connect with Trystan, his Instagram is @BiffandI.
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