Ana Kasparian has been in some hot water recently over her tweet saying she didn’t want to be called a birthing person. She felt it boiled her down to her uterus and took away some part of her personhood. That’s a pretty reasonable thing to say so what is the problem?
Well aside from the fact “birthing person” is not a term used outside of a medical or educational context, this denouncement is a right wing dog whistle. It means “hey fellow trans-haters, I also don’t like trans people!” Since her audience is mostly left-leaning and trans supportive they came at her hard for this tweet. Some people compassionately tried to explain their issue with it, but most people went the scorched earth, “you’re the worst,” and “you may as well be a n*zi” route because it’s the internet. She pushed back twice as hard, doubling and tripling down on her position.
Is any of this reasonable on either side? Is anyone being helped? Owen gives his perspective as someone who has dealt with severe social media backlash in the past, and someone who has always supported trans rights and inclusion.
If you’re someone on the fence in this debate- Birthing person refers to a person who births. Usually that person is a woman, sometimes that person is a man, every time that person is a person. Would it be weird and demeaning for a doctor to call you a birthing person to your face? Possibly. Has that ever happened? Not that I can find. Does it happen so often that we need to fight against it? Definitely not.
Inclusion is inclusion for everyone. It doesn’t leave anyone out. Maybe it’s uncomfortable for the people in the privileged position of having always been included, but that’s something they should probably examine within themselves. Some men have uteruses. Those men need to be included in what we’ve traditionally called “women’s healthcare” and they need to be included in studies about people with uteruses. Some women have prostates. They need to be included in what we’ve traditionally called “men’s healthcare” and included in studies involving prostates.
Many many men have complained about a shift away from gendered titles in workplaces. For example firemen, policemen, or even waiters and waitresses. Most of those terms aren’t widely used anymore. We say firefighters, police officer, and server or waitstaff. People complained about the shift, but it was even more transparently obvious they were misogynists who didn’t want any kind of power taken from them. Progress will always beat stagnation.