At the end of 2020, transgender man Ash Patrick Schade, age 28, gave birth to his first child. He’d become pregnant after a Grindr date. When he was 28 years old, Ash Patrick Schade never considered having children. Life, however, had other plans. After going on a Grindr date with an unknown person in February 2020, this young transgender man from Huntington, West Virginia, got pregnant.
“I went through a difficult period between 2019 and 2020. I had ᴍᴇɴᴛᴀʟ health concerns due to my divorce. I ended up on Grindr and got pregnant. Nothing, however, predestined Ash to become pregnant one day. Born with a gender identity different from his gender assigned at birth, the young man was undergoing heavy ʜᴏʀᴍᴏɴᴇ ᴛʀᴇᴀᴛᴍᴇɴᴛ when he learned that he was expecting a child.”
“I was on ᴛᴇsᴛᴏsᴛᴇʀᴏɴᴇ and ᴀɴᴛɪ-ᴇsᴛʀᴏɢᴇɴ and never thought I could get pregnant from taking them. It really rarely happens.”
Despite the sʜᴏᴄᴋ, Ash decided to carry the pregnancy to term. He was excited to start a family of his own as a seahorse parent. A seahorse parent is a term used to describe a gestational parent who is transgender or non-binary. The term comes from seahorses, of which the males carry and birth their young.
But it was a very difficult task for the future dad, who had to face the judgment of others and the lack of confidence of doctors while suffering from ɢᴇɴᴅᴇʀ ᴅʏsᴘʜᴏʀɪᴀ.
“Nobody wanted to take care of my case when I discovered my pregnancy,” he says. “There were a lot of ʀɪsᴋs, the pregnancy could go wrong. But when I was assigned a doctor, he took the time to understand how I felt and what I was going through. When ʟᴀʙᴏʀ started, the medical team had already been briefed on my situation and were wonderful until other professionals arrived. They must have been surprised by my hairy legs because they were like, ‘Maybe you should rethink your gender identity.’”
A year later, Ash is the happy hippocampus dad (name given to gestational fathers) of a little boy named Ronan Shiva, a wonder he is raising with his husband, Jordan. “I had concerns about my ability to parent and how people would judge me. But my husband’s love, Jordan, supported me from start to finish, he even cut Ronan’s ᴄᴏʀᴅ, he was there every step of the way.”
Today, Ash feels more of a man than ever and looks forward to one day telling his daughter the incredible story of his ᴄᴏɴᴄᴇᴘᴛɪᴏɴ.
“It may sound illogical, but giving birth is one of the most masculine things I’ve ever done. For me, being a man has never been about ᴘᴇɴɪs size. It was always about what I could do to help others, what I could accomplish. Giving life as a seahorse dad has been amazing. (…) I want to be completely honest and open with Ronan, and explain to him that sometimes trans men can have children.”