A couple who both switched gender have opened up after welcoming their second child into the world.
Jake, an actor, writer and film director, and his wife Hannah Graf, a former Army captain, have 2 daughters — 2-year-old Millie and their newborn Teddie.
Jake, 44, was born a biological female before transitioning to a man, while Hannah, 35, was born a biological male before transitioning to a woman.
The transgender couple had their children by a surrogate, using eggs Jake harvested during a pause in his hormone therapy.
Jake had his eggs fertilised by donor sperm two years before he met Hannah. However, coincidentally, he chose a donor who was just like his wife — “a tall, sporty, brown-eyed engineer”, to balance his own shorter stature and more arty aptitudes.
Speaking in an interview with a Dailymail correspondent, Jake said: “A father of two! It’s more than I ever imagined. Just saying the words seems beyond my reality.”
Hannah adds: “It’s hard to imagine I once doubted this life was possible. There are so many trans people who would love to have a relationship and family like ours. We’re really very lucky.
“Our surrogate, Laura — who carried both girls for us — has given us the most amazing gifts and she did so entirely altruistically.”
It was, in fact, Laura’s idea that she carries their second baby.
“She called us and said: ‘I really loved the experience and I would happily do it again’,” recalls Jake.
Laura, a single mum of two who lives in Ireland, has become part of their extended family.
“We speak to her regularly and Millie calls her Auntie Laura, which is sweet.”
Jake and Hannah, who were married in 2018, say they experience hate and some warn people not to have their kids around them.
They have endured death threats against their children, and have been condemned for having children at all if they “couldn’t have them naturally”.
“We’re just normal — not the freaks and weirdos we’re made out to be. People make ill-informed judgments based on prejudices without even talking to us,” Jake said.
The couple say they feel the need to protect their daughters from misapprehensions about the trans community, including the misconception that they will raise their children to be transgender, which, the Grafs point out, is no more possible than raising your child to be gay.
Jake said: “We know we have to respect our children’s individuality. But, honestly, we would never choose for them to be trans. It’s a very hard life. You face more hatred and prejudice and it’s vastly more complicated to have a family.
“I think people expect us to have rainbow flags draped all over the house and to be bringing up the kids gender-neutral, which has never occurred to us. I love Millie in pink. She wears it all the time.
“She’s just a child and she loves jumping, playing in the sandpit, picking flowers and painting. We haven’t pushed her in any direction. We’ll just support her in whatever she wants to do.”
Hannah feels particularly vulnerable due to the debate around trans women in female spaces such as changing rooms, and in women’s sports and prisons.
She was the highest ranking transgender officer in the Army before she left three years ago, and now works in finance in the City.
She served her country with distinction for ten years, rising to the rank of captain before coming out as trans in 2013.
Her fellow officers and soldiers supported her transition wholeheartedly, and she went on to win an MBE for her work with LGBT Army personnel.
However, today she doesn’t feel safe.
She said: “All I’m asking for is dignity. I’m more fearful walking down Clapham High Street than I felt in Helmand Province (Afghanistan). I had my comrades there, while here, as a trans woman who’s been in the media, I don’t know whether I’d have support if I was attacked.”
She feels so ill at ease in female-only spaces to the point that she was afraid to be in a women’s ward after Teddie’s birth.
She said: “It made perfect sense; babies are born and midwives check them out, and it’s natural they should be with their mums. But I was all too aware that there might be someone who thought I didn’t belong, as a trans woman, on a labour ward, and in the current culture might be emboldened to kick up a fuss.”
As it happened, Hannah was given a private room.
But Jake said: “I was dreading the possibility of her being alone and someone saying something upsetting.”
Jake added: “I worry about Hannah — about someone abusing or hitting her. On the Tube people have stared at her and loudly announced: ‘That’s a transsexual.’ And I’ll say: ‘That’s my wife you’re talking about.’
“Although those instances are few and far between, it makes them all the more shocking and hurtful when they do occur.”