Being a parent is one of the most exciting and challenging parts of life for anyone who decides to have a child. The struggles are real for even the most traditional family but when the whole world is looking at you it becomes even more challenging. This was most certainly the case for Trystan Reese and Biff Chaplow, who both identify as male, when Trystan who was born a woman became pregnant. This story instantly went viral taking their already intense pregnancy to the next level.
Trystan and Biff are a gay couple that live together in Oregon with their adopted and biological children. Biff is a social worker that has worked with the homeless and mental health challenged individuals. Trystan is a gay trans man, meaning he was born female but identifies as male, who currently works in social justice.
The couple were already parents when Trystan became pregnant with their first biological child. One of their sisters had two children, one boy and one girl, but was no longer able to take care of them so she asked Trystan and Biff to raise them instead. The couple loved this parenting role and were excited to expand their family.
When they adopted their niece and nephew WNYC's podcast decided to do a four part series on this non traditional family unit. This was a great form of publicity for LGBT families because Trystan and Biff's story shows two loving gay parents stepping up for children in need and providing a loving stable family home.
Although they were already semi in the spotlight for their appearance on the WNYC podcast they were not prepared for what was about to happen. When news of Trystan's pregnancy broke their story instantly went viral and they were covered by news outlets from Buzzfeed to CNN.
In response to their newfound fame Trystan and Biff seized the moment as a perfect opportunity to spread their positive influence as best as they can. They created their own website for their fans to follow their lives, www.biffandi.com , and use it as a platform to, in their own words, "share their story of love, courage, and family."
When their pregnancy story first broke Trystan and Biff were thrilled to receive overwhelming amounts of positive reactions from online commenters. Parents around the world, both LGBT and straight, non binary and cis, reached out sharing how inspiring Trystan and Biff's love and dedication to their family is.
Unfortunately, like with most other non traditional topics on the internet this news had its fair share of haters as well. The couple shared that they also had a lot of responses from people who were alarmed or confused by the non traditional nature of their new family and developing pregnancy.
One thing that in particular bothered Trystan was that after he became pregnant he noticed that people began to question his masculinity. He noticed that once they found out he was pregnant people actually looked at him differently, literally. When looking him in the face people would stare longer and search his face as if looking for remaining female features.
Although it was frustrating for the couple to be getting this type of feedback they decided to not focus on it. They knew that the most important thing was not how other people perceived them but rather the way their family worked. Instead of paying attention to online commentary they decided to focus on their relationship and parenting.
Trystan and Biff's story first was covered in a podcast in early 2015 and they have barely had a break since. Between media coverage, working, and full time parenting the couple has had a lot of ups and downs. However, they choose to stay positive and take everything in stride with high spirits and are constantly sharing goofy family pictures.
Underneath the media and slightly unusual family dynamic they really are a family like any other. Both their social media accounts and website share an image of a family model that we are all familiar with; Two loving parents, sometimes a little bit tired from all of the running around, happy while raising three healthy children.
Although they feel that for the most part they are just like any family, Trystan and Biff recognize that not all LGBT couples have this same chance. In an NBC interview Trystan spoke of his interaction with a older gay man from Texas who was not able to adopt or have a biological children because of different social norms at the time.
Through their work in social care and as a social justice professional they both are trying to share the ways that they are able to incorporate self love and familial love into their daily lives. Their strong media presence builds off of that and makes it possible for that message to spread around the world.
As for right now Trystan and Biff are taking things day by day. Being a parent to one child can be hard enough, let alone three. In multiple interviews the couple has said that they enjoy being able to share their story to the world but what they are most focused on right now is making sure their kids feel loved and taken care of.
Trystan and Biff's story is one that we all can learn lessons from. They have taken two children out of a bad situation into a loving home, grown stronger as a family, and learned to push aside the negativity they receive from the outside. More power to them and we hope they continue to have the best of luck!