Trans-Inclusive Language and Midwifery

Right. So we’re going to try a radical (and radically simple) act here. From here on out, Bloody Show will only use trans and genderqueer inclusive language to talk about pregnancy and birth.

Yes, the majority of people who are pregnant or who have given birth identify as women. But really that’s no excuse for not using trans-inclusive language when writing/talking about pregnancy and birth. Once upon a time I read a birth book and the author wrote a disclaimer in the beginning recognizing that although there are queer women with female partners who give birth, she was just going to use “he” and “father” to refer to the partner of the pregnant person since most partners were male. It made me outrageously mad to read that as a queer woman and to see my reality and life erased and made lesser than simply because I was not in the majority. So in that way, I’ve decided it’s outrageous for me not to be actively inclusive when I write and talk about pregnancy and birth.

I’ve been seeing more and more discussion about this in birth blogs through the interwebs, and it makes me excited. Like Mom’s Tin Foil Hat in her post Collaboration Can be Cool:

Being an ally can be a good thing, and can be really gratifying and worth it. I know it can be potentially irritating for members of these groups to point out obvious things to people like me (e.g. If you don’t have to mention gender, don’t mention it! When in doubt, leave it out. It’s easier than it seems. Pregnant woman Pregnant patient. See how simple?

I’ve just gotten to the point where I recognize that I can’t call myself a trans-ally or say that I’m interested in intersections of sex and gender and birth unless I am actively conscious about using inclusive language. So that’s what I’ve decided to do an I hope you’ll join me. Like I said, it’s a surprisingly radical act (What? Men can give birth?) and incredibly simple and easy to do. Just switch a pronoun here and, drop a reference to gender there, and you’re all set.