Well done Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals. Here is the truth about what language BSUH staff are being asks to use.

Having just got the ‘womb’ word onto LinkedIn by sharing #mywombstory, I was concerned when I heard the recent #chestfeeding news. If you hadn’t heard, Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust (BSUH) have recently updated their Gender Inclusive Language in Perinatal Services mission statement and guidelines.

Having worked so hard to campaign to save lives through #wombawareness, I was concerned that the word ‘womb’ would soon disappear; had political correctness finally gone too far? News reports were saying that midwives had ‘been told’ to use new transgender language. 

Alarming headlines include:

  1. The Times (Shriver L, Feb 13): “Breastfeeding is now chest feeding: Why are the language police trying to wipe out women?”.
  2. The Express (Feb 10, Kelly H): “‘Nonsense!’ Piers Morgan fumes as NHS nurses told to swap breastfeeding for chest feeding”.

Therefore, using my inside-out philosophy, I decided to get to the heart of the matter and do my own research. It wasn’t difficult – I downloaded Brighton and Sussex University Hospital’s document: Gender Inclusive Language in Perinatal Services released on 12th February 2021. It wasn’t long before I could see that the heated Twitter rants and such like were based on hearsay rather than facts. If you haven’t read the Gender Inclusive document –  I recommend you do so because I am confident that like me, you will become supportive of BSUH’s approach.

Before reading this document, my thoughts were blinkered (now you understand why I used the horse in my graphic); I am previously guilty of including wombs belong to women-only in my vlogs and blogs. The BSUH document opened my eyes to a plethora of interesting and alarming information about endometrial cancer in other people including transgender men. I will be sharing this on my website in due course.

The BSUH document lists many organisations who have already embraced inclusivity through Transgender Additive Language. The Association of Ontario Midwives in Canada says: “Discrimination in the provision of services can cause trans, genderqueer, and intersex people to delay or avoid necessary health care services often to the point of putting their overall health at risk.” Surely this one reason alone is good enough for us all to be more inclusive in our choice of language.

Here’s the truth about what staff are being advised in the transgender additive guidelines (unless you prefer to believe the biased rants):

  1.  Gender-additive language is being promoted – not gender replacement language! This means that BSUH staff are recommended to choose the most appropriate language when communicating with patients to make them feel comfortable. For example, “The value of breast or chest feeding as protection, comfort and food”. The term breast-feeding is not disappearing! When addressing women, staff can still use the word ‘breast-feeding’. Hallelujah!
  2. ‘Mid-wives’ are staying as ‘mid-wives’! I had expected this to be replaced because there are male mid-wives.
  3. The word ‘human milk’ is replacing ‘breast milk’ – this is biologically correct – I don’t have a problem with this, do you?
  4. ‘She’ is being replaced with ‘they’ – this is commonplace – not just at BSUH. This decision promotes inclusivity to everyone which is fair.
  5. ‘Women and people’ is replacing ‘Women’ only. Where is the harm in this?
  6. There are more terms on page 14-19 of the BSUH document, and you will see that on the whole, breasts and women are here to stay!

In my opinion, the Gender Inclusive document is not just common sense, it is good marketing practice and as a Fellow member of The Chartered Institute of Marketing, I am confident that CIM also supports it. Adapting and tailoring language to be relevant to the person, is common courtesy and also ensures they understand and process the language more easily. This encourages everyone to seek medical treatment and protect their health. Whilst on the subject of gender-neutral language, I wonder when the term ‘Fellow member’ will be replaced to a more gender-neutral term?

Finally, thank you once again Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals for opening my eyes and for giving me the opportunity to make #mywombstory vlogs and blogs more inclusive and for giving me more interesting #endometrialcancer research to do. Also more thanks to the BBC. You published one of the few reports I’ve seen that support gender additive language.

If you enjoyed reading this, then contact me, then subscribe to my vlogs and blogs. And next time you read something in the news, please do yourself a favour and check the facts. I am not a doctor or medical expert, I am simply sharing #mywombstory and using my #marketingskills to research and collate #wombsafety insights and information. I am using my website and Instagram page, Blooming Wonderful Wombs as a platform to keep everything in one safe place in an effort to raise #wombawareness and save lives.

Warm wishes, Vicky.

Please also see this articleWHO: Risk of certain cancers is higher in transgender communities


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Victoria A. Vaughan FCIM FInstLM

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CEO Blooming Wonderful Wombs | CEO The Brand Surgery | Combining my personal story, marketing psychology, creativity and technology to save lives