Barbara Walters Uses Pregnant 'Man' to Redefine Sexes, Family

Barbara Walters is questioning the definitions of “man,” “woman” and “family,” and in the process she's playing fast and loose with the truth.

Walters's new special, “What Is a Man, What is a Woman? Journey of a Pregnant Man,” addresses these definitions through a lengthy interview with Thomas and Nancy Beatie.  Walters discloses that Thomas, widely reported earlier this year to be the world's first pregnant “man,” is pregnant again.

During the special, Walters and the Beaties deliberately attempt to convey the impression that their “marriage” is normal.  The truth, however, is that Thomas Beatie is a woman.  Born Tracy LaGondino, the former beauty queen had her breasts removed but opted to keep her female reproductive organs intact.  She used male hormones in an attempt to look more masculine.

Beatie, who is now legally recognized as a man by the state of Oregon, made headlines last spring when she announced in an Advocate article that she was pregnant. Nancy artificially inseminated her and their daughter was born in late June.

Walters insisted that the Beaties, “are to all appearances a very ordinary family,” before airing a clip of her interview with them.  In the video clip she asserted that, “Life in the baby's home is pretty typical.”  During the interview, Nancy told Walters, “we are just an ordinary, normal family.  Nothing really different about us.” 

But if the Beaties are “very ordinary,” “normal,” and not “really different,” than why is ABC lavishing so much attention on them?  The network promoted the story four different times in an 11-week period last spring.  

Walters announced Beatie's second pregnancy during a preview of her special on this morning's broadcast of The View.  Walters plans to broadcast the special on Friday, Nov. 14's 20/20.

Walters' co-hosts on The View did not appear to see the Beatie's announcement as just another cute story on pregnancy.  Sherri Shepherd admitted, “I'm a little confused.  So when he goes into labor does he curse out his wife?”  She later observed, “Normally when you go, so and so is pregnant, you have people erupting into applause, it's just like the entire audience is shocked.  You don't know whether to applaud or go 'what?'”

Elisabeth Hasselbeck told Walters, “We needed you here on 'What the H--- Wednesday, Barbara.  We certainly did.” 

Walters defended her special to her co-hosts, “This is why we have done this hour to say that we have a lot of conceptions of what's a man, what's a woman and…what's a family.” 

It remains to be seen if Walters will use her special to delve deeper into issues that a child with transgendered parents would face.  But if the pattern of previous stories holds true, Walters will use it simply as a propaganda piece to define a new normal

The transcript of Walters' announcement on The View follows:

BARBARA WALTERS:  We'll talk more about it tomorrow because we have other things. A lot of it floored me. I mean, the whole question of what's a man and what's a woman?  So but anyway we are talking and you know, how did they do it, what's their sexual life like? How do they raise the child. And then I don't know what I looked at him and I said, are you pregnant again? Thomas Beatie the pregnant man is pregnant again. The baby will be born in June and I -- I mean I just -- I had written all my questions. And I said, I'm speechless and they laughed and said we thought you would be.

ELISABETH HASSELBECK:  We needed you here on "What the H---?" Wednesday, Barbara. We certainly did.  We did “What the H--- Wednesday,” yesterday right? Yeah. We needed you here then for this moment right now.

SHERRI SHEPHERD: I'm a little confused. So when he goes into labor does she
curse out his wife? Wow.

WALTERS:  There are a lot of questions. And by the way we have movies of the birth of the baby. We will tell you how he got pregnant. How she got him – well, there's a lot.

HASSELBECK: How old is the little baby now?

WALTERS:  Five months.

HASSELBECK: That's going to be the hard part having another baby just 10 months down from now. That is hard work. 15 months apart.

SHEPHERD: But he's got a wife. It's two of them. You know what I found interesting is normally when you go, so and so is pregnant, you have people erupting into applause, it's just like the entire audience is shocked. You don't know whether to applaud or go what?

WALTERS: This is why we have done this hour to say that we have a lot of conceptions of what's a man, what's a woman and--

GOLDBERG: What's a family.

WALTERS: What's a family. Let's talk -- today we have to celebrate you. We'll talk more about this tomorrow. The special is on tomorrow night, Friday night. At 10:00. You have all seen it. It all is I think rather amazing, they are.

HASSELBECK: The meeting doesn't even do it justice, Barbara.  It's astonishing.

Colleen Raezler is a research assistant at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.