With A Baby On The Way, This Black LGBTQ Couple Is Expanding The Definition of Family and Gender
In June, Alphonso Mills, 30, and his fiancé Ja’Mel Ware, 33, will become fathers. They shared the news of their expanding family in a short video posted on their respective social media accounts on Feb 22, marking the 22nd week of their baby’s development. While Black queer couples are frequently raising children that are both biological and adoptive, especially in the South, Ware, who identifies as a queer transmasculine man and was assigned female at birth is carrying the couple’s first child. On testosterone for over a decade, Ware says he never imagined that he’d one day have to decide to stop receiving gender-affirming hormones in order to conceive, but that was before he met Mills.
Ware proposed in November 2020, during a trip to Walt Disney World after dating Mills for two years. It was a surprise affirmation of their commitment to each other that Mills later reciprocated with a proposal of his own.
“There was just something about our connection that made me realize as long as I could do this, I would do it,” Ware says.
The expectant fathers tell The Reckoning that expanding their family to include children has always been a topic of discussion from the very beginning of their relationship. And for Ware, the reality of birthing a child as a transmasculine man has been filled with both joy and an incessant need internally, and externally from others, to further interrogate his gender identity as his body changes throughout his pregnancy.
“I know who I am,” Ware says. “I am firm in my belief, in my understanding of who God made me and how I present myself in this world. But what does it mean for the world to see a pregnant man? For the world to know a man menstruates? What does that mean? I’ve been trying to figure out this language—how to explain to people the difference between sex and gender,” he said.
In the United States, sex and gender are often incorrectly viewed as interchangeable; whereas sex has been traditionally used to place individuals in one of two categories based on their genitalia, gender denotes a range of identities that may not always align with an individual’s established sex.
“Ultimately, the concepts of gender and sex are socially constructed. This means that we as a society assign sex and gender to people based on socially agreed-upon characteristics,” writes KC Clements in a medically reviewed article by Alana Biggers, M.D., MPH and published in Healthline.
“I have no issue with my sex. And I’m not speaking for all trans people. I'm speaking for myself because there are some trans individuals whose sex and gender must align, and that is their journey. But it's never been a huge thing for me for my sex and gender to align,” Ware adds.
And because the pair are aware of how cruel society can be towards transgender people in general, much less a visibly pregnant Black transgender man, Ware has made the decision to isolate himself from the world for his own safety and to shield their unborn child from any potential negative energy.
“I don't feel the need to put myself in a place every single day to have to fight for who I know that I am because the world is not ready to accept that one's gender does not have to align with one’s sex,” Ware says.
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