Father's Day 2013: Do Pregnant Man Ads Prevent Teen Pregnancy Or Offend Transgender Community?

He's not bloated. And he's not remaking Junior, Arnold Schwarzenegger's cinematic monstrosity. This boy is pregnant. Just in time for Father's Day, the Chicago Department of Public Health is reminding young lads that babies are not dropped from the beak of a storks mouth. It takes birds and bees. But it may be offending the trans community as well.

Unexpected? — the campaign's tag line — may be an eyesore, but its strategy has been proven affective outside of Chicago. To be fair the male baby bump is a retro concept. Since Europeans have always been ahead of us, it is only natural that the one of the first ads to pose this idea came out of London in 1970.


And just recently Milwaukee officials tried the same thing. The campaign launched in 2006, when Milwaukee had one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country. And every year since the city has seen a drop in pregnancy rates. 

Chicago is hoping they'll catch a little luck from their neighbors to the north. In the photos each boy is bare breasted and with child. City officials want to make the point that not only teen mothers bear the responsibility of pregnancy.


Brian Richardson, a spokesman for the Chicago Department of Health, also noted that when it comes to the children of teen mothers, the odds are against them. 

“The daughters of teen mothers are more likely to become teen moms themselves,” he said. “And the sons of teen moms are more likely to go to prison. These are challenges that go beyond one girl or one woman."

But not everyone thinks this campaign is a good idea. The Chicago Health Department has been getting a lot of the heat recently from those who consider this campaign offensive to transgender individuals. Yamani Hernandez, the executive director of the Illinois Caucus of Adolescent Health, dislikes the ads for this reason. He believes they are not trans-friendly and poke fun at what could be the actual body of a pregnant transgender male."

Another opponent of the campaign, this woman, voiced her grievances on the Public Health Department's Facebook page:


The Unexpected? campaign, which began a month ago, was launched in order to tackle what seems like a epidemic in Chicago. Teen pregnancy rates there are nearly twice the national average. And because of that, Chicago officials felt they had to be daring. 

The Chicago Health Commissioner, Dr. Bechara Choucair told ABC News, "We wanted it to be provocative. We wanted this campaign, those images, to spark conversation, and that’s exactly what we’re getting.”

So are the Chicago ads innovative or offensive to the transgender community?

Tell us what you think by commenting below or find me on Twitter: @chechkalu

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Uchechi Kalu

Uchechi is PolicyMic's Politics Intern and a senior@ Princeton University. Tweet her @chechkalu

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