British doctors have been told not to use the word “mother” when referring to pregnant women in case it offends transgender people.
New guidelines issued by the doctors’ trade union the British Medical Association to its 160,000 members say expectant mothers should be called “pregnant people” instead. Another reason cited for using the term “pregnant people” is that it will “celebrate diversity”.
The controversial advice features in a 14-page booklet called “A Guide To Effective Communication: Inclusive Language In The Workplace.”
It says: “A large majority of people that have been pregnant or have given birth identify as women. However, there are some intersex men and trans men who may get pregnant. We can include intersex men and trans men who may get pregnant by saying ‘pregnant people’ instead of ‘expectant mothers’.”
The guide, available to all public doctors working in the National Health Service, also tells doctors that they should not use the terms “born man” or “born woman” in relation to trans people as these phrases “are reductive and over-simplify a complex subject”.
There is currently only one known case of a transitioning person in Britain becoming pregnant. Hayden Cross, 20, was born a woman but is legally male and has had hormone treatment but not sex-change surgery. Mr Cross is now believed to be four-months pregnant.
The guidelines have upset some. Michael Nazir-Ali, the former Bishop of Rochester, told the Mail on Sunday: “I think it is sad that society is being pushed in this direction. God has made us man and woman, and mothers relate to their children in different ways than fathers. This ruling will confuse people about the vital role of mothers in bringing up their children.”
Featured image via Flickr/Hugrakka