UK hospital staff told to use “chestfeeding” over breastfeeding, among other trans-friendly substitutions

UK hospital staff told to use “chestfeeding” over breastfeeding, among other trans-friendly substitutions
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The nursing staff at the United Kingdom’s Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust have been ordered to replace terms and phrases that could potentially offend transgendered people. Among the words they have been ordered to substitute are the terms “mothers,” “maternal” and “breastfeeding.” 

The midwives at the hospital were told to use phrases that were more “inclusive” to transgendered individuals, like “birthing parents,” to replace the term breastfeeding with "chestfeeding." Instead of referring to breast milk, nursing staff are advised to use terms as “human milk,” “chest milk,” or “milk from the feeding parent.” 

According to the Times, the new policy for gender-inclusive language for the hospital’s maternity services department is the first in the nation. The name of the department itself will also be changed to “perinatal services.”

Beyond terms that refer to mothers, other changes include replacing the word “woman” with the phrase “woman or person,” and the term father with “parent,” “co-parent” or “second biological parent.”

The policy, which was released this week, did not specifically order staff to stop using the word woman or the terms describing motherhood, but suggested that they should instead begin to consciously add the word “people” and other inclusive terms to their speech. 

“Gender identity can be a source of oppression and health inequality,” stated the hospital advisory. “We are consciously using the words 'women' and 'people' together to make it clear that we are committed to working on addressing health inequalities for all those who use our services.” 

“As midwives and birth workers, we focus on improving access and health outcomes for marginalized and disadvantaged groups,” it continued. “Women are frequently disadvantaged in healthcare, as are trans and non-binary people... By continuing to use the term 'woman' we commit to working on addressing health inequalities for all who use our services.”

“We also recognise that there is currently biological essentialism and transphobia present within elements of mainstream birth narratives and discourse,” the document states. “We strive to protect our trans and non-binary service users and healthcare professionals from additional persecution as a consequence of terminology changes, recognising the significant impact this can have on psychological and emotional wellbeing.”

“Acknowledging the cultural context in which service development occurs is vital in making trans and non-binary lives safer.”

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