Unwelcoming to men

The Atlantic has an extraordinarily ridiculous piece about trans men who have babies and breast feed them, and (this is the ridiculous part) the resulting need to stop talking about pregnancy and breast feeding as something that women do.

The writer is someone called Britni De La Cretaz, who calls herself Britni De La Cretaz, Writer on Facebook.

[Trevor] MacDonald began blogging about chestfeeding from his home in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and soon discovered a whole community of transmasculine people around the world in the same boat, looking for guidance. For trans men and transmasculine folks, putting a baby to their chest to suckle can lead to complicated feelings about their gender. Many lactation support services are available for “nursing mothers,” which sounds unwelcoming to men and non-binary individuals.

But lactation support services are for nursing mothers. It strikes me as very “unwelcoming” to women for trans men to object to the word “mothers.” Lactation support services are not for men, because men don’t lactate. Some trans men do, but that’s not a good reason to delete women from the discourse about nursing.

So what can be done? Kribbe feels that one of the most important points of this research is urging care providers to be especially attentive to the terms they use. Part of that, she says, starts with the kind of education that obstetricians, midwives, and lactation counselors receive, but another part involves providers being willing to educate themselves about terminology that is gender neutral, as opposed to the gendered-female language that currently dominates lactation support. Even acknowledging that the need for change exists in the first place is an important step, the researchers contend.

There. That. Don’t do that. Don’t agitate to remove women from discussions of pregnancy and childbirth and nursing – and abortion rights and contraception. That’s the All Lives Matter version of trans activism, and it stinks.

In response to whether or not there were any questions about providing lactation support to transmasculine or non-binary individuals on the exam to become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, Sara Blair Lake, the executive director of the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners, offered a content outline, which shows that the gendered language “maternal” and “mother” is still common, as opposed to the neutral terminology like “parent.” Meanwhile, Melissa Cole, an Oregon-based International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, said in an email that, to her knowledge, there aren’t educational requirements for IBCLCs about how to support transmasculine folks who want to nurse their babies, and that she has received no such training. Cole, who has not yet provided lactation support to a trans person in her practice, wishes she could receive more formal education around inclusive language so she can provide better care.

Maybe it’s just not an issue. Ever think of that? Maybe trans men should just be able to grasp that the vast majority of people affected by pregnancy are women, and that women are not the dominant sex around here, and that it’s not cool to try to get them removed even from areas that affect them the most profoundly. Maybe they should be appalled at themselves, wanting to shove women out of the way.

The comments are uniformly scathing.

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