Butches with Buns in the Oven!

ImageI opened up my Facebook today to see this fantastic picture and the words “Look guys! It’s our first butch + bun…in the oven!”

I could not be happier with this photo! First off, Chris in the picture has got all kinds of sass, which naturally I love. Secondly, pictures of people who look like me and who are pregnant!!! Someday, maybe I can add my picture(s) to the Butches + Babies blog.

I feel so happy and through the roof because it raises awareness that butches are carrying and birthing children (along with genderqueer and trans folks). When the public thinks of childbearing amongst gender non-conforming folks, my guess is the only image that (maybe) comes to mind is Thomas Beatie sharing his pregnancy on Oprah (or maybe Scott Moore if they’re really radical) as being THE transman who is also a birth parent. THE As in the one and only. A salacious circus sideshow for the public to consume and ponder about how this is even possible. This article announces that Moore is “[t]he world’s second known pregnant man”. This claim simply isn’t true. Trans and other gender non-conforming folks have been getting pregnant and giving birth since, well, longer than Oprah has had a talk show for sure. For sure.

But ay, there’s the rub. Yes I care that there is public awareness of these pregnancies. Yes, I want people to feel like they are not alone in their parenting decisions. To me, however, that’s not the most pressing issue. Most of all, I want there to be good, qualified, culturally competent, and sensitive care givers that gender non-conforming folks can reliably turn to for their GYN and OB care. I never want someone to wonder whether their healthcare provider will mix up their name and/or pronouns, never ever to worry if their body and embodied experience in this world will be treated respectfully or even competently. And part of the problem is that if there’s not public awareness of the pregnancies and births of gender non-conforming folks, then care providers will not feel the push to become competent in this area. To intentionally change their practices to become radically inclusive of all people who need their services. I want to applaud the ACNM for their recent position statement promising to work towards inclusive and competent care for their gender non-conforming clients.

Homebirth midwives, I think, could be ideal care providers for necessary sexual and reproductive health services for trans and gender queer clients as well as for pregnancy and birth. Imagine a homebirth for your beautiful family watching Baba push his baby out in the water into the waiting hands of his love and then snuggling up with their baby surrounded by care providers who know them for who they are and love and respect them. With no social workers coming in moments after the birth demanding to know who the birth parent is, removing the non-birth/non-biological parent from the room and making them sign second-parent adoption papers instead of bonding with your child in those precious first hours. Nobody using the wrong pronouns intentionally and derogatorily. Nobody giving anybody the stink eye, looking shocked, or being confused. And nobody talking about how ideal your breasts are for breastfeeding after you had a long conversation about with your care provider prenatally and explicitly stated that you plan to chestfeed your infant. Just you, your family, and your competent, inclusive care providers that you feel comfortable being your whole selves with.

I fully intend to serve queer and gender non-conforming clients in my (future) midwifery practice. I’m so close to that reality I can taste. Now we’ve just got to get MANA the general population of homebirth midwives on board and we’d really be heading in the right direction.

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On Cultural Competency

Since we’re already on the topic:

I have long maintained that teaching cultural competence through the use of fact-learning about specific populations is deeply flawed and limits thinking.  You know, those books with the special sections on “African Americans,” “Asian Americans” and “Hispanic Americans.”

There are times when I think some facts about specific cultures are useful.  For example, I think it’s helpful to know that some people don’t wear shoes inside the house.  But you wouldn’t need to know that little factoid if you were an observant sort.  And even if you were not, you could simply gracefully remove your shoes when asked.

I used to naively believe that educated people were less racist.  Instead I found they are simply representative of the population at large.  In fact, sometimes they are more racist simply because power and privilege blind them.  Similarly, cultural competence has little to do with formal education.  I used to think that cultural competence has to do with exposure, but now I don’t believe that either.

Read the full article over at Resist Racism.