Trans couple feels ‘their dreams came true’ after having children | British News

A composition of Jake and Hannah Graf, one carrying a Trans Pride flag and the other holding their child.

Jake and Hannah Graf have two children together, Millie and Teddy (Image: Paul Grace)

Jake and Hannah Graf are ready to celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride Month. However, her daughter, two-year-old Millie, will not be.

“Lesbian Visibility Week!” exclaims Millie, eating a half-eaten apple in her parents’ bedroom while the Grafs talk to via Zoom.

Millie has many words for her parents: “eccentric”, “funny”, “scared”, “loving”, “cute” and the guy who “talks complete nonsense all the time”.

“She wants to go to the doctor almost every day,” Jake says before asking Millie how many daughters she has.

“Four,” Millie replied. She also has four in her stomach.

The Grafs are easily one of the most famous trans parents in the UK. Or, as the press calls them, “Britain’s first trans parents” (note: they emphasize that they are neither the first nor the last trans people to have children).

Jake, an artist and actor from London, met Hannah, once the senior trans officer in the British Army, through a friend in 2015.

After three years they married. In two instances, they welcomed their first child, Millie, via surrogate. Last year they welcomed their second daughter, Teddy.

“We have jobs. “We have children,” says Hannah. “It’s sort of everything we’ve always worked towards in a lot of ways, it’s beautiful.”

“It’s totally normal.” It’s just two wonderful, beautiful, challenging kids and life with them.”

For Jake, it’s a life he thought he’d never live as a trans man.

“All my life I’ve wanted to be a parent,” he says, “but as a trans man, I never thought I could find anyone to fall in love with and that that would happen.”

Interview with Jake and Hannah Graf, Britain's'first trans parents', about raising their two children amid transphobia

The couple are described in the press as “Britain’s first trans parents”. They insist they are anything but ‘firsts’ (Image: Paul Grace)

“Every day I look around at the children to see where we are. “We have a little garden out there with all the flowers and the babies are sitting on the grass and playing together,” he adds.

“It feels like a dream come true.”

About six years after his transition, then single Jake opened up the possibility of having children later by freezing his eggs at a clinic.

From the start, Jake made his intentions clear: He wants a wedding ring on his hand while holding his mug that says “World’s Greatest Dad.”

Hannah wasn’t so sure at first, but she had her reasons.

“I never thought I would ever be loved, go on a date, have a relationship, let alone have kids,” she says.

Interview with Jake and Hannah Graf, Britain's'first trans parents', about raising their two children amid transphobia

Hannah says Jake’s “urge” to get married and have children opened her eyes to the “possibility” that she can have the same (Image: Paul Grace)

“So it was outside of my frame of reference until I was well into my transition phase.’ I was happy with who I was and where in the world my destiny lay.’

But Hannah found love in Jake, whose “urge” to become a father “opened my eyes to the possibility” of becoming a parent.

“Ten years ago I thought I was going to be single for the rest of my life,” she adds, “and now I’m with two kids.”

The couple’s deputy is Laura, who was keen to help the Grafs again when it came to Teddy’s birth.

Telling Millie about it was a tall order. “We’ve been preparing Millie for months,” says Jake, adding, “Obviously, mom’s tummy isn’t growing a bulge.”

“It’s hard for her to comprehend. We bought her all the books – she wasn’t interested in any of them. She just wanted to read The Gruffalo.

“We kept pushing the books on her, ‘How to Become a Big Sister,’ and she was just like, ‘Whatever, Gruffalo, please.'”

Interview with Jake and Hannah Graf, Britain's'first trans parents', about raising their two children amid transphobia

Jake says it can be ‘frustrating’ when the press calls him half of ‘Britain’s first trans parents’ (Image: Paul Grace)

Life, says Jake, has been “hectic” to say the least since Teddy got home.

“Suddenly a newborn comes and you realize that there are sleepless nights and you worry: is it still breathing?” Is she okay? And tries to protect her from her big sister, who just wants to stick his fingers in her eyes,” he says.

Jake admits that not all trans people have the money to afford surrogacy, which can cost up to £20,000.

Her path to parenthood isn’t engraved on newspapers or given out as a cellphone notification, either.

“We’re not ‘first trans parents’, it’s so frustrating when the press keeps calling us that,” says Jake, adding, “I know that’s a great headline and it sells newspapers and people think : “Oh, how fascinating it is that trans people can be parents.”

“Trans people have been quietly raising children for decades.”

Jake and Hannah are big on visibility, but that can take its toll.

Transgender activists take part in a demonstration outside Portobello Library in Edinburgh, where parents are attending a meeting organized by Concerned Adults Talking Openly About Gender Identity Ideology to discuss transgender ideology in Scottish schools. Picture date: Tuesday March 14, 2023. PA Photo. Photo credit should read: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Trans lives are increasingly ‘debate’ in the UK (Image: PA)

Both Jake and Hannah emphasize that they recognize the “privilege” they bring as they have nearly 30,000 combined Twitter followers and are doing their best to show trans people have “a happy and live full lives with families and that we deserve love and respect”. “Just like everyone else,” says Hannah.

“There are times when you see all kinds of meanness online, and it’s especially terrifying when that meanness is directed at your family,” she adds.

“Our kids have received death threats online and we have received death threats online, horrible things.”

“That’s why Hannah and I share our stories, because we know it’s stories that connect us,” says Jake. “They are stories that make people realize that we are all only human, they are stories that hopefully will put an end to all this bigotry and hate in the future, because right now everything is in high gear.”

The couple feels it can be difficult to keep track of all the transphobia these days. From trans people briefly barred from a long-sought ban on conversion therapy, to trans athletes who have been banned from playing sports and whose healthcare options have been increasingly restricted.

Adding to these problems is that in the year to March 2020, England and Wales were twice as likely to be victims of crime, according to the Office for National Statistics. They also face staggering years of waiting for gender-sensitive care and are more likely to suffer from domestic violence and homelessness.

All this for a parish of just 262,000 people, around 0.5% of the UK population according to the census.

Jake and Hannah add that transgender people don’t get the best press reviews. Research from Press Gazette in 2020 found that coverage at the beginning of the decade was “respectful” before turning “heated” towards the end.

epa10420585 Trans rights protesters protest outside Downing Street in London, Britain January 21, 2023. Trans rights protesters gathered outside Downing Street demanding more rights from the British government. EPA/ANDY RAIN Transgender

Despite transgender people making up 0.5% of the UK population, more than 6,000 community rights articles were written in the press in 2018 and 2019 (Image: PA)

This was particularly the case in later years, according to a 2019 study by linguist Paul Baker, a professor at Lancaster University.

The press wrote more than 6,000 articles about trans people between 2018 and 2019, the report says, with the majority of them “to be critical of trans people,” whom they see as “irrational and aggressive.”

The Grafs worry about how their children will feel when newspapers and politicians ask if a trans woman is a woman.

“We don’t want them to feel for one second that their parents are being attacked or that their parents are bullying them,” says Jake.

The screenwriter adds that he and Hannah hope to sit down with Millie in a few years to talk everything through.

“It’s important for her to know that there’s nothing wrong with us being trans, there’s nothing wrong with how she was born,” he says.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 17: Jake Graf and Hannah Graf pose in the winners room with the Campaigner Or Influencer Of The Year award during the Rainbow Honors 2023 at the National History Museum on May 17, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Shane Anthony Sinclair/Getty Images)

Jake and Hannah Graf have had two children through surrogacy (Image: Getty Images Europe)

He adds, “It’s an amazing story of two little girls who will hopefully support each other if there’s ever adversity, but hopefully we can dodge it all and just grow up in a really happy, loving world.”

Outside of their own families, Jake and Hannah worry about today’s trans youth, who “walk by the newsstands and see the hate and the bigotry.”

“There will soon come a time when the media will get bored of spewing this rhetoric,” says Jake, “and until then, parents and guardians will have to take care of these kids.”

How about afterwards? Hannah is hopeful. “A lot of people are trying to harm our community, but ultimately the future is looking really bright,” she says.

Just Like Us, an LGBTQ+ charity for young people, found that just knowing a trans person makes someone twice as likely to be an ally as someone who isn’t.

“No kid grows up hating and hopefully we’ll get to a point where parents stop teaching their kids to hate,” says Jake, holding Millie in his arms, “and when parents start teaching their kids to love and accept. “

Until the world is ready, Hannah is just making the most of being a mother.

“Those moments where everyone’s happy — Teddy’s crawling around, Millie’s running around — and everything’s relaxed,” she says.

“Such moments of a simply stress-free life with your children, very, very valuable, and you just think: That’s what it was all meant for.”

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Justin Scaccy

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