Australian University Handbook Says 'Woman-Focused' Words Like 'Mother' Cause 'Harm' to Trans Persons

Brittany M. Hughes | February 16, 2021
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The leading university in Australia is following a UK hospital chain’s example and erasing womanhood from their vernacular – and their practice.

According to this, Australian National University’s latest “gender-inclusive handbook” instructs staff to use only “parent-inclusive language” when discussing labor, delivery and post-partum care, including replacing words like “breast-feeding” with “chest-feeding” and swapping “breast milk” for “chest milk” or “human milk” to avoid offending the…er, anomalously gendered.

The guidelines also suggest replacing “mother” and “father” with “gestational” and “nongestational” parent. While the handbook notes that the vast majority of people idetify as “mothers” and fathers,” “using these terms alone to describe parenthood excludes those who do not identify with gender-binaries.”

Related: UK Hospital Bans Terms Like 'Breastmilk,' Suggests Using 'Chest Milk' To Be More Trans Inclusive

The handbook also claims that “heterosexual and woman-focused lactation language … can misgender, isolate, and harm transmasculine parents and non-heteronormative families,” citing one 2019 study.

So now, not only is “gendered” language offensive, “woman-focused” words that specifically deal with women’s issues is “harmful.” So much for feminism in 2021.

When asked about the handbook, an ANU spokesperson seemed to indicate the guidelines are simply suggestions, not actual rules that staff should follow.

“The guide is an academic output produced by experts who are free to research in their field of expertise under our policies on academic freedom," she said. "This document is not an official ANU policy, process or official prescription to staff and students. It is a guide developed by expert researchers to assist anyone committed to enhancing inclusiveness and diversity.”

(Cover Photo: Natalie Amenula)