As 21st-century society gradually becomes more progressive, we’re seeing ever more heartwarming tales of LGBTQ people talking about their experiences. Now, a transgender man and a transgender woman have become the first transgender South American couple to have a baby, and their story is as inspirational as it is astonishing.
Fernando Machado, who’s 23, lives in Ecuador with his partner, 34-year-old Diane Rodriguez. And while that may seem like a perfectly normal sentence if taken in isolation, there is, of course, more to this couple than meets the eye.
Amazingly, both Machado and Rodriguez are transgender, having made opposite changes in sex. In fact, Machado was born as a woman called Maria before he became transgender, while Rodriguez is a transwoman who was once known as Luis.
Machado was originally born in Venezuela, and he met Rodriguez via social media in 2013. They’ve been smitten ever since. In fact, after they hit if off, Machado moved to Ecuador from Venezuela in order to live with Rodriguez.
Of course, though, that was not their greatest test. For becoming transgender can be among the biggest challenges that someone can face. After all, it’s impossible to know how your family will react, and in the case of Machado and Rodriguez, their families’ responses couldn’t have been more different.
Machado was the luckier of the two. Yes, he received love and support from friends and family after announcing that he felt more comfortable as a man. Rodriguez, however, didn’t fare so well.
In fact, Rodriguez was completely shunned by her family, who refused to accept her decision. Relatives even banished her from their home, and for a while she had no choice but to survive on the streets. Sadly, this led to her being kidnapped on more than one occasion.
Nevertheless, Rodriguez displayed her steely resolve and determination in 2013 by, incredibly, standing for congress in Ecuador. In doing so, she became the country’s first transgender candidate, and she made news headlines everywhere.
So, after bouncing back from her torrid time, Rodriguez has settled into a happy life with Machado. And, in 2015, the couple made a special announcement on Facebook: they were pregnant.
How can this be? Well, neither Machado nor Rodriguez have undergone below-the-waist reassignment surgery, so it was possible for them to reproduce as their original sexes. That meant that Machado, a transman, could carry their child.
And when he found out that he might be pregnant, Machado immediately sent his mom a photo of the positive pregnancy test. A doctor subsequently examined the fetus, and the couple had their confirmation: they were going to be parents.
Machado was understandably overjoyed at the news. “I started crying with happiness, fear and dread, all at once. It was the most beautiful moment,” he told BBC News. “I had never felt like that before. Wow, at last, I am completely happy.”
Rodriguez also expressed her happiness with the situation. She said, “Being a mother was never something I thought I would do because I am a transsexual. The law before demanded that to be recognized as a woman you had to be castrated.”
The couple, whose story has attracted a sizeable following of fans, shared photos of Machado’s pregnancy on social media. And, in June 2016, the couple welcomed a healthy baby into the world.
Today, the family of three are living very happily together. Following on from the photos they shared during their journey, Machado also courageously posted an image of his caesarean scar.
Moreover, the birth of the couple’s first child represents another milestone for Rodriguez following her run for congress. In fact, the pair are now South America’s first transgender couple to have their own biological child.
While the couple have chosen a name for their firstborn, they’re not quite ready to announce it to the world. For now, they’re affectionately referring to the baby as “Caraote,” which translates as “the snail.”
Following the birth, Machado told BBC News that his family is essentially the same as any other. “Even though we might not have the same rights, we’re the same,” he said. Rodriguez affirmed her partner’s words. “We live as man and woman,” she said. “I’m a transfeminine woman and Fernando is a transmasculine man. The process to get here was complex for each of us.”
The couple have since revealed that they intend to expand their family at some point in the future. Yes, Rodriguez confirmed to Mexican news outlets that Machado falling pregnant was no accident. “This was the wish of both of us,” she said. “There was nothing biological or legal to stop us, so we decided to do it.”
It’s truly inspiring to see this transgender couple raise their own child without facing demonization from society and, in Machado’s case at least, with so much support from family and friends. Hopefully, Rodriguez’s relatives will also eventually come round. But even if they don’t, she now has a family she can call her own.