Phoenix, Arizona — A judge in Arizona has ruled that a woman who began converting her appearance into a man over a decade ago may not be granted a divorce over confusion regarding whether the woman was a man when she married.
In 1997, Tracy Lehuanani Lagondino began undergoing testosterone treatments and changed her name to Thomas Beatie. In 2002, she underwent a double mastectomy and chest reconstruction, but decided to keep her female reproductive organs and womb.
In 2003, Lagondino tied the knot with her partner Nancy in Hawaii, and as Nancy was unable to conceive, Lagondino underwent in vitro fertilization. The two now have three children, ages 4, 3 and 2, and live in Arizona.
During the time that Lagondino was pregnant, she became known across America as “the pregnant man,” appearing on national broadcasts such as The Oprah Winfrey Show and Larry King Live. She also released a book entitled Labor Of Love: The Story of One Man’s Extraordinary Pregnancy, which displayed the pregnant woman with a beard.
However, now Lagondino is seeking a divorce from her partner, and states that she is having difficulty finding a judge that will recognize the relationship as valid. Arizona law prohibits homosexual unions, and as Langondino “married” while still having female reproductive parts, her relationship is considered homosexual and not heterosexual. She disagrees.
The situation recently received a hearing in front of Maricopa County Family Judge Douglas Gerlach, who ruled on Friday that the divorce cannot be granted because the nuptials were not valid in the first place. He explained that in the eyes of the law, Langondino is perceived as still being a woman at the time of the “wedding,” unless she can prove otherwise.
“The decision here is not based on the conclusion that this case involves a same-sex marriage merely because one of the parties is a transsexual male, but instead, the decision is compelled by the fact that the parties failed to prove that [Lagondino] was a transsexual male when they were issued their marriage license,” Gerlach wrote.
Lagondino will be required to pay $240 a month of child support to her partner, but will not be mandated to provide alimony because the “marriage” was not considered legitimate.
Lagondino appeared on Anderson Cooper Live with her new girlfriend Amber last November to discuss the situation after a previous judge had also denied the divorce.
“It’s very frustrating,” she said, “I mean, how would you feel if the judge told you that you’re not a man? I live my life. I know who I am … [and] someone’s opinion is not going to change that.”
“I was married to Nancy for almost ten years,” Lagondino continued. “We paid taxes, we bought and sold homes, we started a family together, and I want that to be validated.”
Reaction to the situation has been mixed.
“It doesn’t have to be that hard at all: You have two people who were legally married in another state. Proceed from there,” one commenter named Loren stated. “It doesn’t matter who or what they are now.”
“So if she was not a man, then there was no legal marriage, thus no need for a divorce because you were never married to begin with,” another wrote. “Talk about abominations gone wrong. That’s why God doesn’t like abominations; they are ripe for making things go bad.”
“These people are turning America into Sodom and Gomorrah. What will these poor children be like? Our world is getting sicker every day,” a third commenter lamented. “The last chapter of the Bible is unfolding before our very eyes.”
Lagondino plans to appeal the ruling.