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Why Do We Use Gender Neutral Language?

Pregnant person? Laboring parent? What’s gender-neutral language all about? Is it rejecting gender? We talk about why it’s important and offer 10+ resources for further learning.
by 
The Educated Birth Team
photo credit:  

About a year or so ago, Inside Your Pregnant Body, Stages of Labor, Stages of Labor from Baby’s Perspective, After Baby’s Born, and Hormones Naturally Produced in Labor were all updated to ensure gender neutral language.

In light of Pride Month and recent events including the
Supreme Court prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and the Trump administration finalizing a rule that would remove nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people when it comes to health care and health insurance — we’d like to reiterate why this evolution of our work was so important.

As we continue to grow (especially in this new section of our site) we look forward to centering the voices of parents, professionals, and other folks within the LGBTQIA+ community — speaking to the many topics that we so rarely speak to.

why does gender neutral language matter? for who?

Gender neutral language is for everyone. It is not a rejection of feminine identities, or masculine ones. Rather, it seeks to recognize and respect the broad spectrum of identities held in our communities by excluding none.

why does The Educated Birth engage in this conversation?

Because it impacts the providers and birth workers who use our materials as well as the people our materials are created to speak to — who are trying to conceive, are pregnant, are giving birth, and are beginning their journeys as parents (link; link). Everyone deserves to feel welcomed and to be treated with compassionate, high quality care — language is a part of that.

if you don’t understand gender neutral language or the spectrum of gender identity here are some resources for you to use to start to learn more:

Note: As an entity in community with people with varying identities, and more so creating content that can impact those across the gender spectrum — we share these resources from a position as learners as well (within and beyond The Educated Birth). Do you have suggestions for removals or additions to this list? Or context to add? Contact us!

Understanding Gender
Gender Spectrum

The Genderbread Person
It’s Pronounced Metrosexual

What is Intersex?
Intersex Society of North America

How Science is Helping Us Understand Gender
National Geographic

The Science of Being Transgender
Science Vs, Gimlet Media

Paiges Story
Invisibilia, NPR

Gonads: X & Y
RadioLab, WNYC Studios

Sex Isn’t Binary: And We Should Stop Acting Like it Is
Massive Science

if you’re a birth worker or care provider who wants to learn more and provide better care to LGBTQIA+ folks, here are a few resources:

About Gender + More
(Extensive list of additional resources!)
Birth for Every Body

8 gender-neutral birth terms and how to use them
Tynan Rhea

birthing beyond the binary: lgbtq+ 101 for birthworkersOpens in new tab.
king yaa: queer birth worker

Gender, Sexuality, and Inclusion of All Families in Midwifery Practice
NACPM Conference, presented by Jamarah Amani + Jaqxun Darlin

Caring for Transgender and Genderqueer Clients with Cultural Humility
Maia Midwifery

Providing Culturally Sensitive Care for LGBTQ Families
Maia Midwifery

Politicizing and decentering the cisheteropatriarchy in womb health
La Loba Loca

A Clinician's Guide to Gender-Affirming Care: Working with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Clients
By Sand C. Chang PhD, Anneliese A. Singh PhD LPC, lore m. dickey PhD

National Transgender Health Summit
UCSF

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