Several hospitals in Great Britain are telling their staff to incorporate gender-inclusive language over gender-specific language in an effort to include transgender and non-binary patients.
According to Bristol Live, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust (BSUH) contended that “Gender identity can be a source of oppression and health inequality.”
In response, they are the first in the country to apply what is known as “additive use of gender-inclusive language”.
BSUH explains in a policy document on their website that the new approach involves “using gender-neutral language alongside the language of womanhood, in order to ensure that everyone is represented and included.”
“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,” they continued.
The document argued that using gender-neutral language puts the risk of “marginalising or erasing the experience of some of the women and people who use our services.”
“We understand the fear of erasure; however, marginalising other groups because they are rare will not improve care for women,” the trust said.
Hospital staff will be encouraged to adopt non-binary terms such as “chest-feeding” over “breast-feeding”. “Human milk” or “breast/chestmilk” or “milk from the feeding mother or parent”, will replace “breastmilk”.
Midwives will also start using “maternal and parental” in place of simply saying “maternal” while “woman or person” will be utilized instead of traditionally referring to birth mothers as just “women.”
According to Faithwire, the hospitals will no longer use binary exclusive terms such as “mother and father.” Alternatively, staffers will call the partner of the birthing mother “parent,” “co-parent,” or “second biological parent.”
In a statement on the matter, the NHS Trust asserted that the new approach is part of its “journey towards providing gender inclusive care for everybody.”
“We are on a journey towards gender-inclusive care for everybody during pregnancy, birth and afterwards,” the statement reads. “This journey is led by members of the trans and non-binary community. We are at the beginning of this process, which will continue over the next few years.”