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23rd Jun 2023

‘I got pregnant after Grindr one night stand while transitioning to become a man’

Steve Hopkins

‘It was complicated and uncomfortable to carry a baby while transitioning and the dysphoria was horrible – I wouldn’t wish it on anyone’

A trans man who thought he was infertile got pregnant after a “Grindr one-night stand”.

Ash Patrick Schade was born biologically female but began transitioning in 2018 to live as a man – after years of feeling like he was “in the wrong body.”

The 30-year-old had previously been married to a man and the couple had tried for a child – but had been told that Ash was infertile.

But two years into his transition, in February 2020, Ash fell pregnant after sleeping with a man he met online.

Ash says he experienced severe transphobia while expecting – and strangers would tell their kids “don’t stare” when they saw a pregnant man.

He also suffered “horrible” gender dysphoria but says the struggles were “worth it” after giving birth to daughter, Ronan, in October 2020.

Ash is now married to husband Jordan Schade, 29, a stay-at-home dad – who he met while three months pregnant.

They are raising Ronan, two, together and Ash describes his daughter as his “little miracle.”

Ash, a mental health worker and PhD student, from Huntington, West Virginia, US, said: “This was never what I anticipated, but I love my tiny family.

“I gave up on my dreams of being a parent, then lo and behold, this kid comes out of nowhere.

“It was complicated and uncomfortable to carry a baby while transitioning and the dysphoria was horrible – I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

“But now my daughter is the light of my life, and it was all worth it for my family.”

Ash grew up Charleston, West Virginia, and felt like he was “in the wrong body” because he was born female.

He said he was picked on and attacked by classmates and their parents – leaving him with lifelong trauma and PTSD.

In 2014, he married a man, and they began to try for a family but Ash – then living as a female – struggled to get pregnant.

Ash said they spent “a few thousand dollars” on specialist fertility treatments over several years and eventually gave up trying – concluding he was infertile.

Ash’s mental health began to deteriorate as he realised he was born the wrong gender – and after telling his then-husband, he began to take testosterone in 2019.

“I had known my gender for a long time but I didn’t want to lose my spouse so I felt I couldn’t get help,” he explained.

“Eventually it became inevitable – I didn’t want to live with suicidal ideation from living in the wrong body anymore.”

By early 2020, Ash and his husband had separated but were still living together as he continued to undergo his transition.

It was during this time that the trauma led him to share his feelings with his social media friends, including old high school classmates.

So when one of them he hadn’t seen for years then popped up on his Grindr profile, he decided he had nothing to lose and hooked up with them for a night. Ash had been unable to get pregnant with his former spouse and had been told the testosterone would make him infertile too – so he thought nothing of a casual hook-up with the old acquaintance.

But after spending the evening with his Grindr date in January 2020, Ash started feeling particularly emotional – and hungry -and decided to take a pregnancy test.

He was stunned when it was positive.

The biological father chose not to be involved as he is not “out” as a member of the LGBT community, Ash claims.

Ash said: “In the moment I was like ‘am I dreaming?’, it just seemed so surreal. “All I could do was stare at the test. It totally blindsided me.” Ash decided he would carry his “miracle” to term. When three months pregnant, he met his now-husband, Jordan, who stuck by his side to support Ash and raise the baby as his own.

He said: “All I could think about was my baby. “That’s what a father should do – make a sacrifice to be there for his child, even if it damages his perceived manhood.”

Ash went through a divorce from his previous partner while pregnant.

He said he faced transphobic slurs every day from members of the public – to the point he was eventually “numb to it”.

It was a psychological struggle for him too – facing intense gender dysphoria.

Ash said: “It was complicated and uncomfortable to carry while transitioning, it hurt. “The dysphoria was horrible. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.”

But he described how he was forced to “put blinders on” and focus on having a safe and healthy pregnancy. He said: “I didn’t go out much anyway because it was during Covid. “When I did, with each encounter, all I thought was ‘do they have a weapon?’ and if not, I tuned them out.”

Ash gave birth to a healthy little girl, Ronan, weighing 7lbs 4oz, on 15 October, 2020, with Jordan by his side. He says Ronan is “the happiest little kid ever.” He said: “She’s climbing on things and laughing hysterically – she runs to the door and says ‘my daddy’ when I come home from work.

“She wants to curl up on our chests at night and whenever we have guests, she likes to dance for them in her little dress and boots.”

Ronan hasn’t reached an age yet where Ash and Jordan need to start explaining things to her, but they will do one day.

Ash said: “Right now I’m letting her enjoy her innocence, but when she starts asking questions we’ll explain it in an age-appropriate way.”

While Ash said he’s unlikely to carry another child himself, the couple may look at adoption in the future.

Ash said: “I do have pretty chronic PTSD from dealing with some traumas in my life, but I just focused on making sure Ronan was happy and healthy. “She makes my world go round and I’m really sorry that when some people hear a story, they see nothing but ugliness or an agenda.

“We’re just human beings and parents doing our damnedest with what we have. All we have to give is love.”

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