The photo of a trans dad breastfeeding his son has gone viral as it is celebrated as a brilliant image of a modern family.
Evan Hemel and his partner decided back in 2011 that he would come off his testosterone in order to carry their child.
"My brother's pregnancy and the making of a new American family" https://t.co/xQzoqTAomw
— TIME.com (@TIME) September 2, 2016
According to People, Hempel had always planned to carry his child, even after transitioning to mae.
Speaking to TIME, his sister Jessi talks about how he decided to carry the child and about coming to terms with being a dad to the kid he gave birth to.
“It was a gamble,” Hempel says. “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.”
Hempel speaks in the interview about going to human resources to tell them he was pregnant.
“It wasn’t that I expected her to have a negative reaction,” he recalls. “I just had no idea at all.”
But he says the HR representative was supportive immediately, congratulating him, and saying: “Well, this is unexpected, but that’s great!”
The photo and the interview both carry extremely positive messages of acceptance, with most people showing him acceptance throughout his pregnancy.
“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.”
He also struggled with issues 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.”
Hempel now says he plans to take testosterone again, after finishing breastfeeding, and his breasts will shrink again.
His sister Jessi adds: “To outsiders, his family will look like any other – a tossed-together group of kids and adults raising one another.”