Trans parents Hannah and Jake Graf on baby number two and their message for the next generation
Hannah and Jake Graf aren’t the UK’s first trans parents, nor will they be the last – and they want to show those who come after them that you can be trans and happy.
Nearly every morning in the run-up to the holidays, Millie Graf tugged the tinsel off the Christmas tree, threw it around herself as if it was a “boa constrictor” and paraded around the living room.
Her parents, of course, couldn’t be more proud of the free-spirited person their one-year-old is becoming.
Hannah and Jake Graf, often mislabeled by the press as “Britain’s first trans parents,” have never forgotten how lucky they are to have Millie, who they welcomed via surrogate in April 2020.
Now they’re preparing to do it all over again by having a second child.
Over the moon to announce that Hannah and I are expecting baby number 2! The hugest thanks to our amazing surrogate who wanted to do it all again for us!❤️🙏🏼👶🏻 pic.twitter.com/umH8fEnPBS
— Jake Graf (@JakeGraf1) January 31, 2022
They tried again early last year, but the pregnancy was ectopic (when a fertilised egg implants itself outside the womb, usually in one of the fallopian tubes).
They and their surrogate, Laura, were devastated.
“About three months later,” Jake said, “Laura said: ‘Let’s give it another go’.”
Laura “knows the power of having a sibling”, given that she has two kids. Jake added: “We were really cautious because we had a positive response the last time and there was a heartbeat, but we allowed ourselves to be excited.
“And now we’re preparing for a new arrival.”
Hannah and Jake announced the good news back in January.
But among the well wishes, the couple fielded barbed comments from so-called “gender-critical feminists” for going down the surrogacy route to have a family.
“We got people saying, ‘you’ve ripped this baby out of her family’s arms,’ and ‘how much have you paid to rent this woman’s womb,'” Jake recalled. “So much of this transphobic ideology is anti-feminist, making the [surrogate] seem mindless.”
“They’re trying to tell a woman what she can and can’t do,” Hannah added, “as if that’s feminist.”
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Somewhat surprisingly, they encountered a “kind” response in the British media.
“Despite the fact they insist on calling us the ‘UK’s first transgender parents’,” Jake said, “no matter how many times we tell them, please don’t say that!
“Trans parents have been around for decades and decades, and well done to you all. It’s not an easy life, and that goes for all LGBT+ parents and all parents. You know the media loves to do ‘the first’, but once again, we are not.”
They aren’t the first – and they certainly won’t be the last. As Hannah explained: “What we feel is privilege, we know how fortunate we are to be in this position. There are many, many trans people out there who are doing amazing things going unnoticed.”
When Hannah came out as trans, she became the highest-ranking trans person in the British army, serving as a serving in the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers. The papers had a field day.
“The Sun blasted me on the front page when I came out,” she recalled. “It wasn’t my choice but it gave me a platform which, since then, I’ve been lucky to hold.
“Jake and I have always tried to use our visibility to show the world that you can be transgender and happy, transgender and married and have a family.
“Hopefully, we will show those transgender kids, their friends, their families, that their future can be one of hope and not of despair.”
But the sad fact is that Britain has become engulfed by transphobia, with lawmakers, our national human rights groups, the press and pressure groups launching attack after attack on the community. Trans rights have been thrust into a national “culture war” so bitter that human rights activists have warned it is harmful to society.
Is this the world that Millie Graf and her sibling will grow up in? Hannah and Jake both hope not. “For anyone LGBT+, we’ve all felt the same – that we don’t belong,” said Jake. “That it’s our fault.
“Yet there are adults who have chosen to make it harder for trans kids and adults. I think that shows a woeful lack of self-awareness. When push comes to shove, they’re all coming for us. They may start off with us, but we’re the smallest group.
“But believe me, they will be coming for the rest of you after they’ve done away with us.”
Hannah added: “Divide and conquer is a very good military tactic.”
For now, the pair are focussing on preparing for baby number two. They have a shortlist of names – all of which are, accidentally, “quite androgynous” after they prepared a shortlist of typically boy’s names for Millie.
Hannah says they suspect their approach to parenting their new arrival will be “a little more relaxed”, adding: “Because we’ve seen when it goes wrong and we know it’s not the end of the world.”