‘Pregnant man’ to open Stockholm Pride

American Thomas Beatie, better known as the "pregnant man" after he gave birth to three children, is set to hold the opening speech of this year’s Stockholm Pride festival on Monday.

'Pregnant man' to open Stockholm Pride

Beatie is in Stockholm to talk about his experiences as a transgender male being pregnant with three children and giving birth to them naturally even though he is legally classified as a man.

“My family and I are very honored, humbled and excited to be invited out to Stockholm Pride this year. Sweden seems like an evolving and progressive country regarding human rights and civil liberties,” Thomas Beatie said to the Stockholm Pride website.

Undergoing a sex change operation in 2002, Beatie decided to retain his female reproductive organs in the hope of one day having a child after finding out his wife Nancy was infertile.

Beatie, a former model and beauty queen from Hawaii is now a proud dad of three, achieved through the insemination of donated sperm.

The organisers are hoping that Beatie’s speech will raise awareness of the important issue of transgender people’s rights. In Sweden transgender couples are not allowed to adopt and are forced undergo sterilization after a sex change operation, preventing them from ever having children.

“I hope that the choice of this opening speaker will result in a long wished-for push forward for trans people’s rights, and I am very proud to be able to welcome Thomas Beatie and his family,” said Stockholm Pride chairperson Pär Wiktorsson in a statement.

The opening of the 13th Stockholm Pride Festival, the biggest in Scandinavia, will take place in Kungsträdgården on Monday evening and the celebrations will last for a week with debates, seminars, parties and culminating in the popular parade that attracts thousands of people.

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Sweden: A land of hairdressers and writers

Sweden's capital Stockholm is full of hairdressers and writers, and sometimes even writers in hairdressers. And it can be a disturbing city when you're a bald Frenchman who happens to be a writer, observes Luis de Miranda.

Sweden: A land of hairdressers and writers

As a bald French writer exiled in Stockholm since last year, I have rapidly noticed that 50 percent of the Swedish population is either a hairdresser or a writer – or both.

In Stockholm, there is a frisör every fifty metres, where you usually find a lonely person getting a blond hair colour or a new cut, while reading the newspaper.

In the newspaper you will find many articles about people who engage in many different activities but who are also often designated as författare (writer): Sven Svensson, actor and författare; Camilla Johansson, yoga instructor and författare; Fredrik Reinfeldt, prime minister and författare.

It seems that any kind of printed material entitles you to be a författare, and some daily newspapers need to display book reviews in every edition in order to keep the pace and make all the författare happy.

Let’s be honest: I can understand that everybody agrees to call everybody else

a writer – that is an interesting form of collective vanity – but why so many

hairdressers? Some say it’s about money laundering. Or is it also about vanity?

People want to have nice blond hair and it is understandable. But as a bald French writer, I simply don’t exist here in Sweden: having little hair makes me invisible and

being a writer makes me very common.

I am considering wearing a wig and stopping my Swedish classes in order to remain relatively illiterate in the language of Swedenborg (no, this is not the name of my hairdresser). I shall refrain from writing even the slightest memoir on beard shaving.

But please don’t misunderstand me. I love Sweden and the Swedes. I respect any författare, any frisör, and I like fika, folkhem, filmjölk and feminism…

Sweden is just…fantastic.

Luis de Miranda is a French novelist, philosopher, editor and film director who has been in Stockholm for a year. He is also bald.