Advanced search

Whatnow? Pregnant "persons"

(102 Posts)
Nellooo Tue 14-Mar-17 20:41:44

Erm... Help. Please discuss as I'm too flabbergasted to type.

Nellooo Tue 14-Mar-17 21:06:46

Ok. I've recovered slightly now and see that it's old-ish news:

TrojanWhore Tue 14-Mar-17 21:09:17

Yes, oldish, and several threads about it.

And the BMA's clarification. That this is guidance for admin staff in suitable inclusive language when such is required. Not a directive to doctors.

But hey, let's not let that stand in the way of yet another transphobic thread.

CaoNiMartacus Tue 14-Mar-17 21:48:49

What's transphobic about raising this issue?

DJBaggySmalls Tue 14-Mar-17 21:51:04

Complaining that we are being written out of language, especially around issues such as menstruation, childbirth, breastfeeding and our sexual organs is not transphobic.

Datun Tue 14-Mar-17 22:56:56

Actually, the BMA guidelines were ambiguous. When they were questioned, the BMA then said they were for staff. Which makes zero sense. Why would the staff need to talk about pregnant persons amongst themselves, but keep to pregnant women when talking to the patients?

Particularly as there is only one pregnant transman in the entire country.

Bue Wed 15-Mar-17 06:38:24

Thankfully I don't think this is going to get very far in practice. I am part of a Facebook group organising to have insurance for independent midwives reinstated so they can provide care in labour again (a WHOLE other feminist issue).

Today a young woman in the group (maybe a student?) posted an article questioning the 'trans exclusionary' behaviour of Royal College of Midwives President Lesley Page in refusing to change some presentation slides for midwives in Canada to include only gender neutral language.

Well, the poster was given very short shrift. All I can say is there are a lot of TERFy midwives and birth people out there grin. There was a lot of well reasoned argument and a lot of rage at the suggested erasure of women. I felt quite relieved and proud to be part of the group.

TrojanWhore Wed 15-Mar-17 07:13:35

The transphobia is the continuation of the misprepresentation of the BMA's position - as initially written (though I agree that the summary was badly drafted and did not reflect the full text) and particularly after the clarification.

And the persistence in starting thread after thread, even weeks after the event (yes, it'll be different posters, but the cumulative effect is much the same)

Datun Wed 15-Mar-17 08:21:19


I'm not surprised midwives have a very robust attitude to this. They are constantly at the coalface of women's biology.

They will know only too well about how biology directly affects women. The risks, the heartache, the toll on the body, the labour, the expectations, the lack of support.

They, more than many, understand precisely what woman means and why it can never be classed as 'a feeling'.

Datun Wed 15-Mar-17 08:25:18


Any advice to replace the words pregnant woman with pregnant person, whether it is to be disseminated across the globe, or kept to the confines of the boardroom is wrong. You can't just dismiss the accurate description of something which affects hundreds of millions on the basis of offending, literally one or two people.

TrojanWhore Wed 15-Mar-17 21:25:59

Indeed it would be.

But the BMA guidance was not that.

Datun Wed 15-Mar-17 23:54:17


This leaflet was the one published at the time.

The quick reference guide introduction said:

"This guidance should be applied to all forms of communication, including conversations, committee papers, documents, letters, emails and the website. Anything that we produce reflects the association and it is vital that all our communications are free from discriminatory language, or what could be interpreted as discriminatory language."

Is this incorrect?

Datun Wed 15-Mar-17 23:58:54

The actual wording referring to intersex or transmen said:

"...we can include them by saying pregnant people".

It doesn't and never did say but just to them.

Maybe they were unintentionally ambiguous. But they considered it necessary enough to write leaflets about it.

NotCarylChurchill Thu 16-Mar-17 00:13:00

What's wrong with allowing biological women to choose what terms they want to be called? Bearing in mind it is transmen i.e. transpeople who are biological FEMALE this affects (and not the Mumsnet bogeyman, the bearded six foot bloke who saunters in to the ladies loo claiming he woke up deciding to identify as female that day).

I mean, I think the term "pregnant persons" is bollocks except in those specific very rare cases, and in my experience working with the trans community an awful lot of trans people agree. But when and if staff deal with a pregnant patient who prefers not to use female pronouns, that should be understood and respected. Sweeping changes that affect how all patients are treated/spoken of is unnecessary.

Datun Thu 16-Mar-17 00:19:37


I don't think there anything wrong with tailoring language to individuals, at the point of contact.

What I think is wrong is writing bloody guidelines about something that has an infinitesimally small chance of happening because you're worried about being accused of discrimination.

Barcoo2 Thu 16-Mar-17 04:41:25

And the persistence in starting thread after thread, even weeks after the event (yes, it'll be different posters, but the cumulative effect is much the same)


Oh, hear that? Transphobia is now defined by random people posting frequently on a topic. If it had been one or two people it's not transphobia?


TrojanWhore Thu 16-Mar-17 06:52:27

Yes, I said there was a bad summary in my first post on this thread. And of course the full guidance was pages long and covered language for many circumatsnaces (it was not issues just to cover one group of people let alone one set of circumstances).

There is absolutely nothing in it that means that means that people cannot be referred to by their preferred terms.

The (seemingly relentless) starting of threads (not all by same user name, which is why I said not same poster, though given recent deletions for all all I know it could be); and in this case weeks after the event and also perpetuating inaccuracies about that event, of course has a different effect than the threads at the time.

Multi-thread syndrome and its impact has been discussed from time to time on MN.

YetAnotherSpartacus Thu 16-Mar-17 09:26:37

This was a new and fresh thread about a new and fresh article. The BMA advice referred to is ridiculous and confusing. The issue is not a misrepresentation, but rather this. There are multiple threads on this and other topics by multiple posters, steadily gathering momentum because women have started to realise and care about their identity and rights being at stake.

Nellooo Thu 16-Mar-17 12:06:53

Ok ok. Sorry I've not been back. Also sorry that I had not come across this issue until I saw the New Statesman article cited in my op. I see that I Must Try Harder to keep up if I'm to participate here.

I'm conflicted about this and am glad for all of the responses. I will start off by agreeing that all people need to be safe, and that language, and the process of acting upon uses of language, must be inclusive and adaptable in order to take care of everyone. I think most pp here agree that the BMA guidance is ham-fisted in this respect.

I'm going to agree, though, that Prof. Page is right to say that keeping the term "woman" active in the language surrounding childbirth is an important thing. Whatever else has been said about the BMA diktat/guidance, it seems that she has felt the need to stage what has been seen as a protest in refusing to use the term "pregnant persons" on her lecture slides. She's railing against the institutionalised, medicalised patriarchy of maternity care; she has been working toward a model of "women-centred care" throughout her career. The erasure of the word "woman" certainly undermines this and everything she has worked for.

"Pregnant persons" erases identity altogether. Is that really what the trans movement want? As with the wider sex vs identity debate, reproduction and reproductive function is at the core of this, isn't it? I've seen the word "incubate" used in relation to this debate - is that what we should be moving toward? A definition of someone who births a child as "incubator"? These are genuine questions, I'm not being goady.

These terms (persons, incubate) are damaging in their coldness and detachment, and take us far from the human processes of midwifery, birthing and motherhood that Page is advocating for and working to de-medicalise. Diminishing the identity of "woman" and "mother" is patriarchy through and through.

Pleasejustgetdressed Thu 16-Mar-17 12:24:25


This is exactly the same goady and intentionally dimwitted misrepresentation as there was around that medical group advising that practitioners refer to trans men's 'front hole' rather than 'vagina'. In both cases what was bloody obviously guidance for dealing with people identified as trans was (maliciously?) read as being forced on all women.

Cue lots of 'How dare they call my vagina a front hole!!!!!' Completely missing the point, but hey, let's not get anything get in the way of trans bashing.

YetAnotherSpartacus Thu 16-Mar-17 12:32:14

Nelloo - welcome! The only people who Want You To Try Harder are the TRAs on this thread. Women welcome you and do please keep asking questions and raising points.

venusinscorpio Thu 16-Mar-17 12:51:32

A genuine tweet from excellent feminist Laurie Penny:

Also- while we're on this, someone tell me, what's a shorter non-essentialist way to refer to 'people who have a uterus and all that stuff'?

Datun Thu 16-Mar-17 13:01:03

Front hole, chest feeding, pregnant person. Are these terms in general usage? No. Are TRAs trying to make it so? Yes.

Jenni Murray was vilified for daring to use the term 'real woman'.

If you think people are scaremongering, think again. If you think TRAs cannot force anything that preposterous, how have they managed to make the legal term woman to mean 'and some men'?

It sounds preposterous because it is. But whilst you sit around saying oh nothing will happen, things are happening.

If those terms get the response they deserve then great! You were right all along. But then again, no-one thought men could end up in women's prisons and rape refuges, did they?

PoochSmooch Thu 16-Mar-17 13:03:43

Hmmm, I recall that leaflet somewhat differently, pleasejust. It was aimed at trans people having sex, but also anyone "cis" gendered who might be having sex with a trans person. Therefore the word vagina was to be avoided, both for a trans-man and a natal female and should only be used when transwoman's neo-vagina. The point was, that the word vagina was not to be linked with women, and the word linked with female genitalia was one that most women find very demeaning.

Anyone can call their hoo-ha or their winky whatever they want, of course. But I would be genuinely concerned about encouraging any natal female to refer to their vagina as their front hole (because it's not correct for a start). The leaflet also suggested cutting and blood play as being good substitutes for genital sexual contact, for those who can't bear their sex organs. I think it's pretty unhelpful to normalise that in an already vulnerable population.

PoochSmooch Thu 16-Mar-17 13:04:36

*should only be used when referring to

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: