Let me say it again for those in the back to hear: REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS ARE FOR EVERYONE.
After attending the 2017 National Young Feminist Leadership Conference (NYFLC) in DC last weekend, and having some intersectional discussions, I reflected and realized how I cis-washed issues regarding abortion, birth control, feminine hygiene products, STI’s, and more.
What does this mean?
Not only cisgender women have reproductive organs. There are FTM, nonbinary, gender non conforming, trans, and more individuals who also have reproductive organs (specifically referring to uterus/ovaries/cervix/vagina/vulva). By calling reproductive health clinics “women’s health clinics”, we are excluding many individuals.
But why do I (BreakingLinea), a cisgender woman, care about this?
Because everyone deserves a chance to feel safe and legitimate. I am not okay with my friends and family having their rights denied because they don’t conform to the male/female gender binary. Silence is violence, so I’m speaking up. This is a problem because health centers should be safe spaces for people of all identities.
On that note, we need to stop calling menstruation pills “birth control” and menstruation products “feminine hygiene products.” It’s 2017, we shouldn’t be afraid to mention menstruation or vaginas, and we know that birth control is used for much more than just “controlling birth.”
But why should you care?
Well, one, you should always treat others as you want to be treated (for example: treated as equals)! Two, it’s the right thing to do. Three, you have absolutely no reason to not care. It doesn’t hurt anyone to care, but by not caring you might be hurting other people.
What can you do about it, though?
The first step is acknowledging that people identify outside of the narrow binary of male-female. Next you can contact women’s health clinics and request a name change. You can also call or email companies that market feminine hygiene products and request name changes for those as well.
You can also introduce yourself and state your pronouns, for example: “Hi, I’m BreakingLinea, my pronouns are she/her/hers.” It’s important that you normalize being omg up pronouns, rather than being shocked when they are mentioned.
There are other genders besides male and female, and they deserve to be recognized. Welcome the diversity and make sure your friends and family feel comfortable!
Featured image credit: Hey Paul Studios, Flickr CC