Making women unmentionable

Also in the Times – Andrew Gilligan:

The government has said the term “pregnant woman” should not be used in a UN treaty because it “excludes” transgender people.

Feminists reacted with outrage to what they said was the latest example of “making women unmentionable” in the name of transgender equality.

The statement comes in Britain’s official submission on proposed amendments to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the UK has been a signatory since 1976. The UN treaty says a “pregnant woman” must be protected, including not being subject to the death penalty.

Yet in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office submission, Britain opposes the term “pregnant woman” because it may “exclude transgender people who have given birth”. The suggested term is “pregnant people”.

Only two known UK cases exist of transgender pregnancy, where children are born to trans men who have had a sex change but retained a functioning womb and ovaries.

Sarah Ditum, a prominent feminist writer, said: “This isn’t inclusion. This is making women unmentionable. Having a female body and knowing what that means for reproduction doesn’t make you ‘exclusionary’. Forcing us to decorously scrub out any reference to our sex on pain of being called bigots is an insult.”

It never ceases to amaze me that so many people – people who think of themselves as progressive and right-on and social justicey – can’t see that deleting women from discussions of the rights of pregnant women or abortion rights – is not a good (or progressive) idea. Never ceases to.

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