Inclusive care for family planningby Jessica Halem, MBA
Becoming a parent can be one of the most life-affirming, joyful times we experience. Making new life together can bring parents closer and make them more connected to the larger human family.
For those who have suffered from familial or societal rejection, making a family can also have the power to heal and transform.
Nearly 1 in 6 Gen Z are queer or transgender
Transgender or gender non-conforming people are parents
Transgender individuals with family or parenting needs
It takes just a little extra thought to ensure a positive experience every step of the way for patients who are transgender or gender non-conforming.
The good news is that when we shift our thinking and language, we can make the world of family-building truly inclusive for all.
Motherhood or Fatherhood
Non-birthing parent / co-parent
Gestational parent / birthing parent
“Anyone with a uterus / cervix / ovaries needs screening”
“Women need screening”
Pelvic health / pelvic area / pelvic anatomy
Vaginal health / vagina / vaginal anatomy
Person / people who menstruate
Update forms and advertising.
Using the terminology guide above, ensure that intake forms, signage, advertising, and website are updated. Make sure the whole office uses this updated language and understands the importance of the inclusive language.
Find out their preference.
The above guide contains suggested terms, however every person may have different preferences. As such, you can ask what language new patients use for themselves, their relationship, and their bodies. Make note of it and ensure the entire care team uses it.
It’s okay to make a mistake.
Making mistakes happens, but when you or a member of your team makes a mistake, correct it immediately with grace and humility.
Knowledge of terminology may be limited.
Teach transgender and gender nonconforming people the names of the organs, processes, and systems involved in baby making. For many patients who experienced some level of “dysphoria” throughout their life, they may not have learned about this in health class, from family, or on their own.
Not everyone will get it.
If patients outside of the LGBTQ+ community are confused or offended by this new language, remind them that your clinic serves a diverse range of patients and your language is meant to be inclusionary, not exclusionary.
Family history may be limited.
Some patients may not have relationships with birth families, therefore it’s better to assume that not all your TGNC patients can find out their own birth family’s health history.
Things to consider
The core values and goals we bring to women’s health are also crucial to queer women, transgender men, transgender women, and nonbinary people.
These are also patients who are greatly affected by the power imbalance in health care settings, have had their unique health needs ignored or maligned throughout history, experienced higher rates of sexual assault and violence, and have not had their life experiences understood or valued by experts.
For many of us, we have grown up with a strong sense of what mothers and mothering looks like. How can we start to change and expand our notions of what babies need from both the birth and non-birth parents?