An organization in Australia known as The Equality Institute urged people on Monday to start saying "pregnant people" instead of a pregnant women," a public plea that caused a bit of controversy on social media. Although some people are offended by the proposed change, there are plenty of great reasons as to why countries around the world should be open to adopting the term "pregnant people."
The Equality Institute, in case you haven't already heard of it, is a "global research and creative agency working to advance gender equality and prevent violence against women and girls," according to its website.
Additionally, the organization aims to "incite social change across the world," something it tried to do on Monday via a very important and overdue tweet about pregnancy terms.
"People of all genders can fall pregnant, because people of all genders can have the reproductive organs to do so," The Equality Institute tweeted on Monday. "Consider all people - including trans & non-binary folk - & ensure that your language is inclusive of everyone.
The organization's tweet hinges on the principles of respect and equality, things non-binary and transgender people often struggle to receive within the medical community. Most medical forms only use the terms "she" or "he," for instance, alienating many people who don't subscribe to gender-conforming pronouns. And transgender people frequently report feeling uncomfortable or discriminated against when consulting with health professionals. In fact, one poll found that "one in five" transgender people said they had "avoided seeking medical care because they feared being discriminated against," according to the American Medical Student Association.
Considering the obstacles transgender and non-binary people frequently face in the medical world, it's understandable why The Equality Institute issued this PSA about pregnancy terms. Not only can exclusively saying "pregnant women" be offensive, but it's simply incorrect. A transgender man can get pregnant, and so can people who don't use gender pronouns.
But as much as people agree with these views about pregnancy terms, there are plenty of those who don't. In fact, there was a ton of backlash surrounding The Equality Institute's tweet.
"I identify as a jar of peanut butter. Can I get pregnant too?" one person wrote on Twitter.
"That's not how it works," another person chimed in. "It sounds like it may be time your mom & dad had the 'Talk' with you."
"Where ever I see this nonsense I have to call it out for the mind numbing rubbish it is," someone wrote on Twitter. "There are two sexes male and female and only the female gives birth."
"This is absurd!!!" another commenter added. "This insanity has to end at some point!!!"
The main takeaway from these tweets is that the people who wrote them don't believe transgender and non-binary people exist. And if you refuse to accept transgender or non-binary people, then there really is no room for debate.
Of course, these types of comments are incredibly maddening and hurtful. But what can be done to combat this line of thinking is educating young people about transgender and non-binary people. And using the term pregnant people is just one place to start in recognizing and respecting these groups.
One person explained on Twitter how the term "pregnant people" can help with inclusion, writing:
Phrases like "pregnant people" instead of "pregnant women" can help normalize our inclusion. Remember trans women and their needs when discussing women's issues. Put your pronouns in your profile. Help normalize it. Be aware of things like "boys vs girls" games.
Another good idea? Advocating for stakeholders in the film and television industries to tell diverse stories about pregnant people. It's crucial transgender and non-binary people receive representation in these areas for real change to occur.
The bottom line here is that all pregnant people deserve respect, and changing just one word can help make this happen.