UK: Man Who Calls Himself a “Mother” Admits to “Breastfeeding” His Child, Dismisses Concerns as “Anti-Trans Hate”

A trans-identified male who was profiled as a struggling “mother” in a recent ITV News video on soaring water bills in the UK is now defending himself amidst backlash for “breastfeeding” a baby. Mika Minio-Paluello, a man who identifies as a woman, is calling criticism of transgender breastfeeding “anti-trans hate.”

On June 28, ITV published an article about the country’s biggest water supplier, Thames Water, reporting that the company risks collapse due to soaring debt. The broadcaster shared a video along with the article that featured a trans-identified male presented as a Thames Water customer.

During the video, ITV Consumer Editor Chris Choi stated: “This customer fears that either bill payers or taxpayers will end up picking up the tab [of the failing water supplier].”

Minio-Paluello then gives his input on the current state of affairs but curiously refers to himself as a “mother” during the interview.

“The idea that we’re going to have even greater water bills, soaring bills, a time of prices already being hiked, and we have to pay a lot for food… that’s tough if you’re a mum like me already struggling to get the things that my kid needs,” Minio-Paluello says.

The very next day, UK writer and broadcaster Paul Embery shared the clip of Minio-Paluello and wrote: “ITV news did a piece about the impact of soaring water bills on an everyday mother. So naturally they got a man to play the part.”

As of writing, Embery’s tweet has garnered almost six million views.

The clip generated a massive amount of backlash, with women’s rights advocates concerned about ITV being complacent in the erasure of mothers.

Member of Parliament Rosie Duffield shared the clip of Minio-Paluello and added her own commentary, writing: “Dear @itvnews, I am sure this is a lovely, intelligent and decent human being. This was an important piece. This is not however a struggling ‘mother.’”

Early on, some users also noted that Minio-Paluello appeared to be washing a breast pump during one of the scenes in which he is at the kitchen sink.

User ‘Gender Is Harmful’ posted a close-up of the breast pump, prompting concern from users questioning why he would possess such an item.

“Okay, I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed this. It’s not there in the initial wide shot, but then it’s suddenly there for the dish washing close up. I immediately recognized it and was wondering wtf it was doing in this clip about a man concerned about his water bill,” one user wrote in response.

“Hopefully, it belongs to the child’s mother, and she’s expressing her milk before work, or whatever,” another user speculated.

As commentary continued to swell on social media, Minio-Paluello responded to the intense social media backlash following his appearance in ITV’s video.

On July 2, Minio-Paluello shared a thread of 17 tweets to address the situation, beginning the lengthy response with a photo of himself and his child watching drag queen Aida H. Dee.

As previously reported by Reduxx, Aida H. Dee, the drag name of performer Sab Samuel, has previously raised concerns on social media for his conduct around children in addition to having fundraised for the funeral costs of Darren Moore, a fellow drag queen and convicted child sex offender. 

Later in his thread, Minio-Paluello included a photo of himself “breastfeeding” his child in an apparent effort to address the breast pump questions, and asserted that “trans women can breastfeed, and I did breastfeed my child.” 

He says that the “anti-trans hate” he’s received is a “distraction from the actual issue” he was interviewed on. He calls for solidarity in times of inflation and wage loss but adds: “Adoptive mothers are mothers. Lesbian mothers are mothers, whether they birthed the child or not. Step mothers are mothers. Trans women can be mothers. It’s not up to a [Member of Parliament] or anyone else to march into a family & enforce what a child calls their parent.”

He continues in all-capital letters: “JUST LEAVE QUEER FAMILIES ALONE,” as he rejects the comments he has read online that have called for his child to be removed from him. 

Minio-Paluello then lists a slew of issues that impact women and families and inserts himself into the issues of motherhood, saying: “Mothers are always judged for our choices, made to feel guilty for not being perfect, told we shouldn’t be working, or aren’t working enough… Is this because trans women exist?”

He goes on to address the ITV feature specifically and tells readers how he was chosen for the video interview, and also reveals the breast pump that had caused controversy in fact belonged to his housemate. But he still defends the idea that if the breast pump had belonged to him, it wouldn’t be noteworthy, as “trans women can breastfeed.”

He rounds off the questionable string of response tweets with the assertion that concern over a man being labelled a mother is a “right wing distraction tactic” to “obscure the real struggle.”

He says, “Ultimately, the weird hate I’ve faced these past days is a distraction from the real fight. Water companies are ripping us off. Inflation soared with corporate profiteering. Real wages have fallen. Austerity has robbed us of safety nets. Nature and climate collapse is here. That’s the real fight. Women, black people, disabled people, queers, workers (and especially those in the intersections) face the biggest burden. Creating a safe, just, more equal society now and for our children – it’s not easy, but it’s possible.” 

He urges those reading to avoid being swept up in the “right wing distraction tactic,” stating: “Don’t fall for it.”

The controversy surrounding Minio-Paluello feeding a baby comes on the heels of multiple recent incidents involving trans-identified males inducing lactation. In May, Child Welfare Services in Illinois was contacted by concerned citizens after a transgender porn model announced he had induced lactation to breastfeed an adopted baby.

That same month, Reduxx reported that two women in Australia received notices from Twitter informing them they broke the law after tweeting about an Australian trans-identified male who had been breastfeeding a child. One of the women, Jasmine Sussex, is a veteran breastfeeding consultant with nearly 20 years of experience in maternal healthcare.

Speaking to Reduxx, Sussex stated that she believed induced lactation in males was “biologically and psychologically dangerous” for all those involved.

“Men who covet female physiology in this way are, in my opinion, either suffering from a serious delusion or sexually motivated by the idea of themselves as lactating women,” Sussex said.

“There is no evidence that drug-induced secretions from a male nipple are in any way equivalent to mother’s milk. It is more likely the secretions are akin to galactorrhea, which occurs when abnormal levels of prolactin are released from the pituitary gland in females who aren’t pregnant or males with disease.”

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Yuliah Alma

Yuliah is a former researcher and journalist at Reduxx. She lives on the American east coast, and is an avid reader and book collector.

Yuliah Alma
Yuliah Alma
Yuliah is a former researcher and journalist at Reduxx. She lives on the American east coast, and is an avid reader and book collector.