By Robin Jones
How mothers lose out when the organisations set up to support them decide sex no longer matters.
In the last few years, have you found yourself having difficult conversations with other people, many of whom you thought believed in things much the same as you do?
Have you found yourself ‘policing’ your language in situations where previously you wouldn’t have? Have you found yourself feeling astonished at reading or hearing something that well, just doesn’t seem possible being passed off as real? Have you ever thought “what is happening here and why?”. You are not alone!
For most of us, when we went to school as children, we were taught facts, figures, history, how to use whatever language was native to our country and how to understand increasingly complex concepts. For example, if you want to teach children about time zones you must ensure they understand basic concepts around time (and how to tell it), geography and about the earth as a sphere before teaching the more complex concept. We were all taught the difference between facts (the earth is a globe) and fiction (the earth is flat and the early seafarers thought you could fall off the edge).
Unfortunately, things have changed both in schools and in society. Under the aegis of modern philosophical thought in the form of queer theory, there is no longer such a thing as “truth”; there is only social construction. This ideology posits the radical claim that feelings determine reality and that language is a tool of oppression. From these ideas come extreme demands for society to play along with the claims of subjective reality.
The social contagion of this movement – known as transgenderism or gender ideology – has infected many birth and breastfeeding organisations around the world. After decades of promoting the use of scientific, evidence-based research to support our women-based intuitive mothering and birthing experiences and skills, many organisations are now promoting an ideology that denies the reality, and the importance, of biology.
When questioned about the use of this ideology and the desexed language that reflects it, plus the impact these changes have upon the the birth experience or breastfeeding relationship, theorganisations resort to silencing through threats of discreditation and job loss (if the questioners work or volunteer). There have been many instances of people being a bullied out with slurs – these start with nasty name calling online and escalate all the way up to death threats. Conformity of speech is demanded across the organisation and only those willing to capitulate to political ideology are deemed worthy of having a voice.
Why use desexed language – language that purports to be ‘gender neutral’ and which deliberately avoids the use of terms which denote a specific sex? Because this is how you can pretend that biology doesn’t exist, that sex is irrelevant to reproduction and that feelings are the most important aspect of a person’s humanity.
We know it’s not possible for any mammal to change sex.
Our sex is determined at conception and remains static and and unchanging from this point until we die. Our sex is not just the obvious features such as genitalia; sex is there in every cell of our bodies and plays a part in every aspect of health and wellness. The transgender movement denies this reality. They conflate trans with DSDs (differences/disorders in sexual development. They ignore contrary evidence and competing interests, they disparage alternative practices, and they aim to muffle skeptical voices and shut down any disagreement . Many birth and breastfeeding groups have enthusiastically jumped onto this bandwagon.
This entire ideology undermines women and privileges men. And babies hardly feature at all except as props for adult fantasies. There is a move away from focusing on the needs of the maternal-infant dyad, which harms both.
No man can get pregnant, birth a baby or breastfeed, but even breastfeeding stalwarts such as La Leche League (LLL) have stated that male lactation is an area that needs more research. Why?
They don’t question the massive increase in girls and young women trying to abandon their natal bodies by means of invasive surgery. They don’t ask why so many take male sex hormones to appear as men. Some go on to have children, but these groups have made the choice to rewrite all their global policies to cater to them at the expense of the real needs all women share for good care, communication and support.. This harms all mothers, and makes communications difficult, especially in socially-conservative parts of the world.
Who profits from following this belief system? Not the children who are told lies about how they can ‘fix’ their very real distress. Those who cash in are drug companies, health professionals and health systems that are guaranteed ongoing profits from turning young people into adults who will require a lifetime investment of ongoing and complex medical care.
The next frontier in breastfeeding research, according to some, is the creation of biomilk. This is a breast milk substitute that is either created in a laboratory or some form of altered breast milk. It is already being marketed. Will groups who previously existed to support mothers to breastfeed be seen to be supporting this business venture as well? What a gift for artificial baby milk producers; you can’t buy this sort of advertising.
One of the Ten Concepts which formed the foundation of LLL philosophy is: “Good nutrition means eating a well-balanced and varied diet of foods in as close to their natural state as possible.”? Can you see the irony in eating a healthy diet while at the same time undergoing medically unnecessary surgery and flooding your body with hormones it was never designed to cope with?
Believing that ‘gender identity’ is self-created is not the problem. The problem is requiring that everyone accept others’ gender identity as reality and allowing it to alter the entire approach to birth and breastfeeding support. That is how you get “birthing persons”, “lactating parent”, and “parents” and “families” breastfeeding. This leads to confusing and even incorrect and dangerous messaging. Words like “chest feeding” which has no universally understood definition are bandied about in the name of inclusivity. This is the result of conflating and deliberately confusing gender identity and the actual, real biology of sex.
If we are free to choose our own gender reality, why can some people impose their idea of reality on others, just because they identify as transgender? Why do policies around diversity and inclusion include everyone except those who believe in biology – leading to those ‘diversity’ forms that ask us about our ‘gender’ and not our ‘sex’ or require pronouns in the email signature? Why are opposing views the ones dismissed? Usually if a philosophy is legitimate, debate is welcomed. A light shining on differences illuminates the issues and does not threaten anyone.
Why have groups that were founded to support women in birth and breastfeeding adopted a strict ‘no debate’ policy? Why do they seem to have abandoned their strengths (mother to mother support, the importance of the breastfeeding relationship, respect for the agency of babies) for a political agenda that denies the reality of sex-based oppression of women that if anything, is getting worse, not better?
Nevertheless, we can challenge, and refuse to pretend to agree
The next time you find yourself under attack for views that do not align with an ideology that you do not subscribe to, feel free to respectfully decline to be complicit. There is no requirement for you to deny your own reality to cater to the beliefs of others.
We should respect the choices of individuals needing support for physiological processes that only biological women can participate in. This does not mean we have to accept without question an ideology that denies the existence of women.