An interview with Seahorse Parents

What is a pregnant body 'supposed' to look like? In the project Seahorse Parents, artist Miriam Guttmann follows the journey of four pregnant transgender men. The men proudly present themselves as 'Seahorse Parents': referring to the only species in the entire animal kingdom where the males carry the baby. With the project, Guttmann aims to challenge prevailing cultural ideas of femininity and masculinity.

Alongside the short film and a series of dreamy photographs, an interview was conducted with the four transgender men—Liam, Alex, Ruben and Jerome—in which they share their thoughts on the impact and importance of this project.

Alex en Jerome, Seahorse Parents, 2022 © Miriam Guttmann.

What is Seahorse Parents about according to you?

Liam: "Seahorse Parents is about putting our stories out into the world and in doing so highlighting how absolutely normal it is for all of us to be growing our families. This project shows our budding families in the most beautiful light. This is also a moment for our children to look back to and see how beautiful and normal and loved they are."

Alex: "It's about showcasing the differences that exist among people who are giving birth. It’s about acknowledging that those differences aren’t inherently bad, but rather, beautiful. Seahorse Parents shows that all parents deserve to create families in whatever ways feel right to them."

Ruben: "Before I was approached for this project, I had already seen a picture from the series. That picture made me so happy and proud to see that there was someone who made these stunning pictures of pregnant transgender men. This project is a celebration of pregnancies carried out by people who are not women. Seahorse Parents allows these strong and resilient people to share their stories in a beautiful and sensitive manner."

Jerome: "It is a thought-provoking exploration of gender, identity and the diversity of parenthood. It aims to challenge traditional notions of gender roles and highlight the experience of transgender individuals who embark on the journey of pregnancy and parenthood."

Liam II, Seahorse Parents, 2022 © Miriam Guttmann
Ruben and child, Seahorse Parents, 2022 © Miriam Guttmann

What does visibility and representation mean to you and why do you think it is important?

Liam: "Visibility and representation means having a place in the world. In the United States, new legislation is currently being introduced that makes it harder and harder for us to claim our spot at the table every day. It is important that we are visible and represented so that all of us know that we are here, we have always been here, and will always be here. This is how we help each other to stay strong in the wake of legislative, physical, and emotional violence."

Alex: "Visibility and representation create a sense of community and belonging. When you don’t see yourself in the world it’s hard to feel like you belong. In terms of birthing as a transgender person, representation looks like using inclusive language – recognizing that not all birthing people are moms and using the correct descriptors – and having access to safe resources."

Ruben: "When you’re pregnant, you carry a child for which you feel pride and protection, but as a visibly pregnant, transgender man, you’re not always safe. When I, as an obstetrics student, talk to fellow students or professors about non-female identifying pregnancies, there are almost always assumptions and opinions. It is critical that pregnant transgender people feel safe, heard and seen by their health practitioners."

Jerome: "For me personally, being visible and represented as a ‘seahorse dad’ means empowering transgender youth and future generations. Visibility plays a crucial role in empowering transgender youth who may be questioning their identities. By seeing individuals like themselves represented in media and society, young transgender individuals can find hope, inspiration and validation for their own journeys. As a ‘seahorse dad’ myself, I can demonstrate that it is possible to embrace one’s gender identity and still fulfil their dreams of becoming parents. Our visibility hopefully creates a world where future generations can grow up with a greater sense of acceptance and understanding."

Watch the trailer of Seahorse Parents

still Seahorse Parents Miriam Guttmann teaser

What would you want the viewer to take away from the project?

Liam: "I want the viewer to see that trans and non-binary people are actually just people and that we have the same desire to grow and love our families as cisgender people do. I hope that the viewer sees that even in the midst of hate the power of love for our children is stronger and that we are building and growing our families even so. I hope that the viewer sees Trans Joy!"

Alex: "Most of all, I hope they see joy, because I assure you, my little one has given us more joy than we’ve ever known!"

Ruben: "How proud we are of our bodies and how incredible it is that we can carry our children by ourselves. I hope that Seahorse Parents can contribute to viewers broadening their horizons and loosening up their perspectives."

Jerome: "It would be great if viewers encounter the diversity and complexity of human experience, and encourage them to question preconceived ideas about who can become pregnant while challenging the binary."

About Miriam Guttmann

Miriam Guttmann (b. 1994) is an Amsterdam-based documentary director and photographer. In her work, Miriam aims to broach sensitive subjects, such as identity, parent-child relationships, sexuality, and social injustice. Through her open attitude she strives to demonstrate the nuances of her subjects in a society prone to black-and-white thinking, to create empathy and relatability.

Visit Seahorse Parents at Foam

As part of Queer & Pride Amsterdam 2023, Foam is proud to present Seahorse Parents by renowned filmmaker and photographer Miriam Guttmann. In this project, Guttmann investigates gender and identity while challenging prevailing cultural ideas of femininity and masculinity. The artist's whimsical images highlight and celebrate the image of pregnant transgender people.

The exhibition is on display at Foam until 27 September.

Find out more
Liam, Seahorse Parents, 2022 © Miriam Guttmann
An Interview with Seahorse Parents - Article | Foam: All about photography In 'Seahorse Parents', artist Miriam Guttmann follows the journey of four pregnant transgender men. [...]
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Seahorse Parents: interview with Liam, Alex, Ruben and Jerome