Melbourne man AJ Kearns says he’s just an ordinary father living in the suburbs with his two young children. But many would disagree.
Born into a conservative Pentecostal family in Sydney, AJ spent the first 35 years of his life as a woman.
As a teenager, Vicki-Anne thought she was gay and attended controversial church-based conversion therapy in the hope of becoming heterosexual.
“I went to conversion therapy for a number of years and basically at the end of it all that didn’t work... you are in this kind of eternal spiral of negativity because you’re trying to change some core element of yourself that you have no control over,” said AJ.
After years of struggle, AJ realised he was a man and took the courageous decision to transition and create a family with his partner Zu. But following complications with the birth of Zu’s biological child, AJ took the radical step of postponing his physical transition from female to male to become pregnant.
“I was really concerned for AJ whilst he was pregnant because I knew he had such strong dysphoria and that it caused a lot of anguish... but somehow he found the inner strength,” says AJ’s former partner, Zu White.
For AJ the birth was a life affirming moment.
“I feel privileged to create a life,” he says. “Anyone that gives birth to person will be a witness to the fact that it’s a miracle.”
Psychiatrist Dr Fintan Harte says it’s the first time in over 30 years of practice that he’s encountered a ‘trans-identified male’ who has conceived a child.
“Children have a rich fantasy lives, frogs turn into princesses, pumpkins turn into coaches and a woman turning into a man and vice versa is literally child’s play,” he said.
‘From Daddy’s Tummy’ tells the story of AJ, his former partner Zu and their family. It also showcases a stunning photographic record of his physical transition by Melbourne artist Alison Bennett.