Hospital tells staff to stop using gendered terms such as ‘breast milk’

An England hospital has advised staff to not use the term ‘breast milk,’ in order to be more inclusive to trans parents, the Washington Examiner reported.

The more acceptable terms to use at the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals (BSUH) NHS Trust are ‘human milk,’ ‘breast/chest milk,’ or ‘milk from the feeding mother or birthing parents.’

Brighton and Sussex Hospitals are the first in the country to formally implement a gender-inclusive language policy for its maternity services department, which will now be known as the “perinatal services” department.

According to the new policy, the service will be “using gender-neutral language alongside the language of womanhood, in order to ensure that everyone is represented and included.”

Other changes include using the term ‘mothers or birthing parents’ instead of ‘mother’ and ‘parent,’ ‘co-parent’ or ‘second biological parent’ instead of ‘father.’

The word “woman” with also be replaced with the phrase ‘woman or person.’

The language changes will be implemented on hospital webpages, leaflets and letters and emails. Staff will be asked to use language which reflects patient’s “own identities and preferences.”

In a statement, the BSUH said, “Gender identity can be a source of oppression and health inequality. We are consciously using the words ‘women’ and ‘people’ together to make it clear that we are committed to working on addressing health inequalities for all those who use our services.”

“As midwives and birth workers, we focus on improving access and health outcomes for marginalised and disadvantaged groups. Women are frequently disadvantaged in healthcare, as are trans and nonbinary people,” the BSUH said. “By continuing to use the term ‘woman’ we commit to working on addressing health inequalities for all who use our services.”

Follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy

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