This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
Photographed by Megan Madden.
Unfortunately, the burden of stigma and discrimination can often keep transgender and non-binary people from getting adequate health care — and can sometimes even keep them from going to the doctor in the first place. But a set of guidelines put in place by the British Medical Association may help to ease some of that stigma.
According to The Telegraph, the British Medical Association has issued guidelines in its internal network warning doctors to refer to people as “pregnant people” instead of “expectant mothers,” to avoid offending or excluding transgender or intersex individuals.
“Gender inequality is reflected in traditional ideas about the roles of women and men,” the internal document reads. “Though they have shifted over time, the assumptions and stereotypes that underpin those ideas are often deeply-rooted.”
It adds, “A large majority of people that have been pregnant or have given birth identify as women. We can include intersex men and transmen who may get pregnant by saying ‘pregnant people’ instead of ‘expectant mothers’.”
The document, titled A Guide to Effective Communication: Inclusive Language in the Workplace, also included that someone who is “biologically male or female” should be called “assigned male or female.”
Though a spokesperson for the BMA told The Telegraph that the guidelines were meant only to promote inclusive language in the workplace for BMA staff and “is not workplace guidance for doctors which is clear from the fact it does not refer to patients,” it’s still a step forward. By promoting more inclusive language in the workplace, the BMA may influence doctors and other medical staff to adopt more inclusive attitudes towards patients as well as each other — and if you ask us, that’s always a good thing.
“We know that biological females are the pregnant ones but trans people are parents too, and this is massive step forward to prevent discrimination against them,” Heather Ashton, from the transgender support group TG Pals, told the Telegraph. “The fact that the terminology is changing can only be a positive thing for everyone who wants to be a parent and has the right to be a parent.”
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