Transgender issues: Why not ‘pregnant men’ and ‘pregnant fathers’?

Jillian Page
LGBT Perspectives editor

QUEBEC — I don’t think you can blame the “transgender lobby” for this one:

As reported by Briebart.com: “Last year, the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) conducted a politically correct purge of their guidelines, removing any reference to fact that mothers are women, for fear of offending (pregnant trans men). But now, an alliance of midwifes, mothers and experts have begun to fight back, insisting that it is “dangerous” and “harmful” to deny the “biological reality” of motherhood. In 2014, with little consultation, MANA decided that being a woman was not a necessary or relevant factor for being a mother. They edited their core competencies document, and in effect ordered practitioners to stop referring to clients as ‘women’ and ‘mothers’ demanding they say ‘pregnant people’ and ‘birthing individuals’ instead.”

Apparently, other birthing organizations are considering making similar terminology changes.

As you might imagine, there is a backlash. A group has petitioned MANA to reverse its decision, and let pregnant women be called ‘women’ and ‘mothers.’

Does this all seem somewhat absurd to you?  What made MANA make such a ridiculous decision in the first place?

Well, I don’t think you can point the finger at any one individual or organization. The Briebart article does cite one case of a pregnant (FtM) man who has objected to the former age-old policy of referring to pregnant women as “women” and “mothers.” And it points to a petition — signed by 85 people — seeking to censure a speaker at a birthing conference because she has called for pregnant women to be recognized as mothers.

It all sounds like political correctness gone mad.

Thing is, nobody can pin this on the so-called “transgender lobby.” We’re talking about a very small number of trans supporters who have spoken out and supported the change. And, after all, everybody IS entitled to their opinions.

But nobody forced MANA  to change its terminology.  It elected to make the changes.

I’m all for inclusiveness — but not at the expense of other people. And there is another solution to this somewhat rare situation, i.e. pregnant trans males. We don’t need to wipe out the rights of women to call themselves “women” and “mothers.” Why not refer to  the FtM males in question as “pregnant fathers” and “pregnant men”?

The case bears some similarity to a proposition put forth in Canada this year by a group of trans people in British Columbia. Their idea: don’t put any sex marker on the birth certificates of newborns. As you might imagine, that idea drew a lot of negative feedback, including from trans people who have fought long and hard for the right to change their sex marker on documents. Now a group was proposing that nobody has a sex marker.

Hey, the group was entitled to its opinions, views and suggestions. But you know that governments will shrug it off. They are not going to institute such a change because a few people called for it.

So, why did MANA do something that they surely must have realized would alienate a lot of women? And why did they, inadvertently, make the greater trans community look like nutcases by doing it? As the Briebart article points out, there are trans people speaking out against the move by MANA. There are trans people showing their support for pregnant women to be called mothers by midwives.

The moral of this story is: Trans people should have equality, but not at the expense of the rights of others. Because then it is not equality any more. And organizations like MANA should not be so quick to buckle to the demands of a few who do not represent the majority of trans people.

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“Let harmlessness be the keynote of your life.” — Alice Bailey

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