You can’t call yourself an ally or an advocate of reproductive rights unless you include trans folks in the conversation. Trans individuals are the most ignored community when it comes to reproductive justice, which is why it’s even more imperative that you be more inclusive in your advocacy.
Here’s how you can do this.
Educate Yourself About Trans Specific Reproductive Issues
Trans folks experience a number of issues when it comes to their reproductive health, which may differ from what cishet folks are likely to encounter. For example, individuals who have transitioned using hormone replacement therapy may encounter specific issues pertaining to their reproductive organs. In some cases, they may forcefully undergo sterilization.
Unfortunately, we still don’t have an inclusive enough healthcare setup to accommodate trans men and women. A 2015 U.S. Trans Survey revealed that 33% of trans folks have had a negative experience when dealing with a healthcare provider. As a result, many trans folks experiencing either mild or severe health issues are deprived of healthcare services that endangers their overall health.
Don’t Forget Trans Folks Can Have Children Too
When advocating for reproductive justice, you must remember that cishet individuals aren’t the only ones who can have children. Trans folks can also parent a child. It’s also inaccurate to assume that only cis women get pregnant, as trans men who haven’t transitioned can also conceive and give birth to children.
Reproductive rights are often centered on how much access cis women have to reproductive tools and practices. It’s important to remember that trans folks can also choose to have children, either biologically or via adoption. They should be granted equal access to healthcare facilities when it comes to birthing and abortion measures.
Don’t Equate Genitals with Gender
Finally, you should reject the notion that a person’s genitals define what their gender identity is. Your genital configuration does not determine your gender and is, in fact, part of biological essentialism that’s significantly detrimental to trans folks.
Start by avoiding making problematic assumptions about an individual’s body parts. The language you use is inherently important for advocating for trans justice and can help you prevent contributing to trans erasure. Instead of saying things like “all women menstruate” or “all women have uteruses”, use more inclusive language that doesn’t erase trans women from the conversation, and doesn’t reduce them to their genitals.
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