“Why are some unelected sections of parliament now demanding that otherwise progressive legislation exclude minority groups?”


A debate surrounding the use of trans-inclusive language in the UK’s Maternity Bill took place in the House of Lords yesterday, sparking a great deal of concern for the wider trans community. 

Unelected Labour peer, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, expressed his desire to remove the rights to maternity care that have previously been established for trans men and non-binary people, and to continue using exclusionary language. Amongst others, he is backing new amendments that would change the bill to only include “women”.

He stated yesterday: “We heard the rather inelegant terms ‘person who is pregnant’ and ‘person who has given birth to a child’, which do not seem to add to what we understand as good English.”

Using “pregnant person” rather than “pregnant women” is a massive step forward for representation and inclusion of the trans and non-binary community, and a change that should be welcomed and protected through legislation. 

Further to this, Professor Sally Hines from The University Of Sheffield explained that: “International research shows that it is not only women who experience pregnancy and birth. One of the key findings of our research is the importance of developing inclusive language in law and policy in order to recognise the experiences of  trans masculine and non-binary people who become pregnant and/or give birth.”

Director of TransActual, Chay Brown, has also responded to the debate stating: “Why are some unelected sections of parliament now demanding that otherwise progressive legislation exclude minority groups? Have they given even one moment’s thought to the impact this will have not just on the minority excluded, but on all minorities? Because once you start to exclude one group to please Daily Mail readers, where do you stop?”

Additionally, Freddy McConnell, a trans man who took his case of seeking recognition as the parent of his child to the High Court, commented: “Everyone should be alarmed that unelected peers can propose amending the default language of a law in order to deliberately exclude a vulnerable minority.

“There are many parents like me out there. For my own part, it was only after transition that I found the inner peace and strength to become a parent. Starting my family does not change the fact I am a man; I am not defined by giving birth, anymore than a woman is. To hear legislators argue otherwise – to say that calling me “woman” or “mother” is respectful – is deeply distressing and dehumanising.”

You can keep up to date with the work of TransActual UK here.

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