LGBTQ+ community and Birth
These days when you say that you work with the LGBTQIA+ community, most people know that you work with Lesbians or a Gay couple but, what about the rest of the alphabet? By definition the LGBTQIA+ community is; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (or questioning), Intersex, and Asexual. Education around this community usually stops at Gay, and sometimes goes through Bisexual, and even within the community there is a lack of education around the range of identities. As a doula, and in my daily life, I try to be as inclusive as possible of the far ranging identities that people hold. As a queer femme who has done her fair share of reproductive and social justice work, I found that large parts of my community were vastly underserved and underrepresented.
What do I mean when I say that? If you open almost any book about birth, you see the words “Mother”, “Breast Feeding”, and the books are littered with she/her pronouns. The act of gendering birth, excludes an entire population of folks that may not identify with any of those terms. I have committed to use gender neutral terms in my birthwork, as one of the many ways to be more supportive and inclusive. I hope that my clients will feel safe to be the truest version of themselves with me. Here is a great blog post by Tynan Rhea, addressing a few easy ways to integrate gender neutral language into your birthwork.
The act of gendering birth, or assigning terms to someone's partner (or assuming that someone has only one partner, or any at all!), is actively harming many members of my communities. As a doula, I want to incorporate my personal knowledge of the communities that I am a part of to better serve my clients, and to help educate other birthworkers, so that we are more accessible to anyone who may seek out these services.