In a bizarre incident, a hospital trust in the United Kingdom has instructed its staff to adopt 'gender-inclusive language' for its perinatal services, including referring to 'breastfeeding' as 'chest feeding" and "mother" with "mother or birthing parent".
As per reports, the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust has decided to be more ‘gender-inclusive’ to respect ‘trans and non-binary birthing people’. In doing so, they have now changed the post-natal terminologies and instructed their staff to use phrases such as “human milk”, “chest milk”, and “milk from the feeding mother or parent” instead of the word “breastmilk”. They have somehow concluded that the word ‘breast’ is discriminatory.
This particular health trust has become the first to formally implement the “gender-inclusive” policy for its maternity services, which will now be referred to as “perinatal services” because the word ‘maternity’ is not ‘gender-inclusive’.
The trust has also changed terminologies of “woman” with “woman or person”, “father” with “parent”, “co-parent” or “second biological parent”.
A policy document of the trust said that gender identity could be a source of oppression and health inequality. It further said, “We also recognise that there is currently biological essentialism and transphobia present within elements of mainstream birth narratives and discourse.”
The trust has also said that the staff need not stop using the word “woman” or other terms describing motherhood, but they should consciously start adding in the word “people” and other more inclusive languages.