Yuval Topper-Erez has embarked on a significant mission: to uplift and empower gestational fathers, particularly within the LGBTQ+ community. By sharing his personal birthing experience with his third child, Tig, Yuval aims to inspire and represent his community more broadly. To document his labor journey, he collaborated with Tara Leach, a photographer based in England.
Reflecting on his experience, Yuval shared on Facebook: “This was my fourth pregnancy and I was expecting my third child. The journey was challenging, both physically and emotionally… Initially, I thought these photos would be a personal keepsake for myself and perhaps my child. But upon seeing them, I felt a strong urge to share them publicly. They beautifully represent two causes I am deeply passionate about: the normalization of home births and of transgender and non-binary individuals giving birth.”
Yuval, aware of the increasing threats to transgender rights globally, felt a strong responsibility to share his story. “In a time when the rights of transgender individuals are under threat in many parts of the world, I felt compelled to speak out,” he expressed.
Although initially hesitant to share his birthing experience immediately after welcoming Tig into the family, Yuval gradually felt ready to share the powerful photos with a wider audience. “At first, I shared them with close friends. Now, I’m prepared to share them with the world. It took me over a year to feel ready for this step. My hope is that these photos will not only inspire birth workers but also future seahorse dads. For me, seeing images of other birthing trans and non-binary people remains profoundly meaningful.”
Yuval’s birthing experience with Tig on May 8, 2019, was marked by a quick and intense labor. He was supported by two midwives, one of whom had assisted him through a miscarriage and a previous challenging pregnancy and postpartum experience, as well as a doula.
Given recent global developments affecting the rights of transgender individuals, Yuval recognized the importance of sharing his journey now. “Just last week, Hungary blocked the option for transgender people to change their documents to reflect their gender identity, and in England, there have been movements to restrict transgender individuals’ access to appropriate changing facilities. Sharing these photos is my way of affirming our right to exist, make choices, love, and be respected,” Yuval told POPSUGAR.
The photos from Yuval’s home birth are a testament to his journey, showcasing the strength, beauty, and uniqueness of his experience. They stand as a powerful statement in support of the rights and dignity of transgender individuals everywhere.