A prestigious association of medical professionals in Great Britain has urged its staff to avoid the use of the term “expectant mother” to avoid offending transgender and intersex patients.
Published late last year and found inside a 14-page booklet, the British Medical Association’s guidelines instead recommend the use of “pregnant people.”
The guidance on inclusive language, in the subsection “pregnancy and maternity,” states that gender inequality reflects in traditional man-woman roles.
Then it proceeds to say that the language “can include intersex men and transmen” when “pregnant people” is used instead of the usual “expectant mothers.”
The group, reportedly releasing the new guidelines in celebration of diversity, also suggest using “family name” instead of “last name;" eliminating the use of “Christian name” since not every family is Christian; and avoiding masculine terms such as “mankind and manpower.” Individuals who are “biologically male or female” should instead be called “assigned male or female,” the guidance added.
Recently, the country’s first pregnant male, 20-year-old Hayden Cross from Gloucester, postponed his hormone therapy in order to conceive. Now legally a man, Cross was said to be born a woman and is currently pregnant with donor sperm.
The BMA clarified, however, that the guidance isn’t meant to apply to its almost 156,000 physician members interacting with patients directly. “This is a guide for BMA staff and representatives aimed at promoting an inclusive workplace at the BMA,” it said, as quoted by the Sun.
Transgender support group TG Pals welcomed the move, deeming it a “massive step forward” in preventing discrimination against trans people. Former Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali, on the other hand, warned that the ruling could result in confusion on the important role of mothers in raising their children.
At present, there are about 53 charities and other groups that promote transgender rights, and research on inclusion via language are being publicly funded, Daily Mail stressed.
Sarah Ditum argued in an opinion piece on Independent that it’s hardly inclusion, but instead rendering women unmentionable.
“It feels normal — even liberal! — because the unmentionableness of women is such a deeply ingrained cultural default. Male is the standard, female is the deviation,” she wrote, saying that while trans and intersex individuals deserve specific and sensitive pregnancy care, women “are also entitled to the same.”
There are now six gender types backed by a growing number of organizations in the United Kingdom.
These are transgender male, assigned female at birth and identifies as male; transgender female, assigned male at birth and identifies as female; intersex, whose gender at birth was unclassifiable as male or female and often with a combination of genitalia; gender queer/gender non-binary, any gender identity not conforming to being male or female; cisgender, whose gender is the same as the sex they were born; and transvestite, who dresses in the clothing of the opposite sex but doesn’t want to live life as the opposite gender.
In the United States early this month, a New York City agency issued 55-year-old Sara Kelly Keenan, born with male genes and female genitalia, a birth certificate that bears the term “intersex” in the gender field. The amended birth certificate is the first known intersex birth certificate issued in the country.