‘Chest Feeding’ – Brighton’s Transgender Group Demand Inclusive Language

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Brighton has become the home of the first hospital trust to invoke the use of gender inclusive language regarding its perinatal service department. 

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust has taken the move to begin referring to breastfeeding as ‘chest feeding’ and breast milk as ‘human milk’ in order to promote equality of the trans and non-binary birthing community without subsequently excluding the typical language of women and motherhood. 

Alongside these developments, other adaptations to the language used will include the pronouns ‘they/them’ where deemed appropriate as well as using terms such as ‘co-parent’ and ‘second biological parent’.

These changes will only occur where appropriate and should not affect the preferences of those who choose to be addressed in their traditional gender specific terminology.

In a 19-page document aimed at providing guidance, BSUH promoted their gender-neutral language as a move towards reputation and inclusion that has been enforced following extensive consultation with leading figures from all levels from local to international within the fields of trans and non-binary healthcare and procedures.

The parents of trans and non-binary children were also consulted with the wider local community also included in the decision which also allowed for the trust to avoid possible marginalisation or erasure of women or other people who use their services whilst ensuring a balance was achieved that benefitted the whole public. 

Via the hospital website, the trust explained “At BSUH we acknowledge the additional challenges that gender identity can have on pregnancy, birth and infant feeding and recognise the importance of providing inclusive, respectful care to pregnant people and their families”.They added -”We are on a Journey towards greater inclusive care for everybody during pregnancy, birth and afterwards”.

“This journey is led by members of the trans and non-binary community. We are at the beginning of this process, which will continue over the next few years”.

There is no known previous precedent for this level of inclusion, with BSUH believed to be leading the way in gender inclusive healthcare provisions.


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