BEHIND THE SCENES with Kristin Nelson

What was the appeal of telling this story

I have to admit I was first drawn to this story by its novelty. I figured since most people don't get to interact regularly with trans people (at least not that they know of) this documentary would offer listeners a window into an unfamiliar world. But I soon realized that the true power of the story came from its ordinariness. Pregnancy is relatively commonplace and the highs and lows associated with bringing a baby into the world are intimate and shared by many. I think the universality of j and Bear's experience was what was so compelling in the end. And this is one of those stories where radio is such a gift. Radio simply does not enable voyeurism in the same way as TV. I don't think this documentary would have had nearly the same impact if it were on TV

Bear seemed to be an enthusiastic partner in the process of the documentary -- talk about what it was like to work with the two dads

Working with j and Bear was honestly the best part of making this documentary. They were firm in their convictions and very clear about their boundaries. Both passionate educators, they wanted to share their story to de-mystify and inform. Since the media has exploited stories like this in the past, they were wary in the beginning and it took a while for me to earn their trust. They told me I needed to educate myself about the issues and if I stumbled with the right language or ventured into areas beyond their comfort level they would firmly, but gently put me off (with a full explanation of why). I learned a great deal from them and feel grateful to have come across them. The fact that j and Bear are charismatic, natural-born storytellers didn't hurt either

When, if ever, did you venture past j and Bear's comfort zones

Neither j nor Bear were interested in talking about their transition from female to male. From their point of view, they are often asked inappropriate questions about their bodies that is intrusive and somewhat base. They did not want to feed that curiosity and they didn't feel it was particularly relevant to the story. They met each other as two trans men and that's where the story truly begins. I didn't want to put words in their mouths when describing their identity so I asked them to introduce themselves in the way that felt authentic and respectful

Did Bear and j's perception of themselves as men change through the pregnancy? Did either/both of them struggle more with identity while j was pregnant

If they did, it wasn't something that they were willing to talk about with me. Bear anticipated that j might run into some gender identity issues, but the worst part turned out to be all of the physical challenges of pregnancy – from the heartburn to the swollen ankles. Of course, he ended up needing to buy a bra (which wasn't exactly his idea of fun) and he ran into some conflict with the medical system and government bureaucracy. But those problems turned out to be pretty minor in the grand scheme of things. And more than once, j talked with me about how pleasantly surprised he was by how sensitively people handled the situation

There was a pregnant man, whose story was all over the news a year or so ago. How did Bear and j manage to control the media attention that they received around this? The spectre of Thomas Beatie hung over us through the length of the project. He was supposedly "the world's first pregnant man" and he created a bit of a feeding frenzy when he appeared topless (and pregnant) in magazines and told his story to Oprah. Bear and j were worried about becoming a spectacle in the same way as Beatie, but in the end those concerns were for naught. According to Bear and j, they received nothing but kindness and openness from their friends, family members and neighbours at the dog park who heard the documentary

What was your response from listeners

The documentary received a lot of feedback from listeners, primarily positive feedback. I anticipated a nasty letter or two, but that didn't materialize. The documentary has been shared by several organizations concerned with queer politics and human rights. Personally, many people I truly respect told me how much they enjoyed the documentary and it is by far best I've felt about a story in my career thus far