Chestfeeding: Two UK hospitals are introducing gender inclusive language

NHS Trust hospitals are changing up the language in their maternity wards to better accommodate those who identify as transgender and non-binary.

Two UK have hospitals have recently announced that they will be renaming their maternity services to perinatal services in an effort to stomp out gender inequality when it comes to giving birth.

Hospitals introducing gender inclusive language

Midwives at the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust have now vowed to use more transgender and non-binary inclusive language including ‘chest-feeding’ instead of breastfeeding, ‘human milk’ or ‘chest milk’ instead of breastmilk and ‘birthing parent’ instead of mother.

A bid to tackle health inequality

The move to include trans and non-binary friendly language comes as part of an effort to reduce medical inequalities surrounding gender identity.

The policy changes put in place in the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals states that the use of terms such as ‘woman’ are still welcomed, however, staff have been urged to reassess the language they use in order to be more inclusive. The document explained:

Gender identity can be a source of oppression and health inequality. We also recognise that there is currently biological essentialism and transphobia present within elements of mainstream birth narratives and discourse.

The new move also includes additional midwiving services for trans and non-binary parents-to-be including support at appointments and personalised birthing plans, feeding plans as well as personalised antenatal classes. Following the announcement, the Trust then took to Twitter stating:

At BSUH, we are proud to care for trans and non-binary (including agender, bigender and genderqueer) people as birthing parents and co-parents, and to celebrate and affirm their journeys to parenthood.

They continued to reveal that they recognise the importance of providing inclusive perinatal services to all those who are pregnant regardless of gender:

We want everybody who uses our services to see themselves reflected in language we use.

The announcement was met with wildly varying opinions, and while some criticised the move, many more people were quick to praise the effort to conquer transphobic narratives. TransActual responded to the move commenting:

Let's hope many more trusts follow suit. Everybody deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.

Another person chimed in stating:

So wonderful, thank you for being allies!
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