'Chestfeeding': Hospital trust becomes first in UK to adopt gender inclusive language for perinatal services Changes at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals include referring to "breast/chestfeeding" and "human milk" where applicable.
'The Black Boy' in Newtown, Powys, dates back to the 17th century and was named after chimney sweeps who would emerge from local properties covered in soot. Wetherspoon bosses confirm it will KEEP its 17th-century name - despite anti-racism campaigners demand for changes across Britain.
‘ Academics at an Australian university, it was reported this week, not only endorse the term “chestfeeding” – they recommend alternatives to “mother” and “father”, too. The proposals appear in Australia National University’s Gender Institute Handbook. Instead of “mother”, the authors suggest “gestational parent” – and instead of “father”, they suggest “non-birthing parent”.
A spokesman for the university says the document is not official policy. Which is a relief. Quite apart from anything else, the idea sounds deeply impractical. After all, if we had to replace every instance of “mother” and “father”, it would be a terrible bother. Just think how many phrases in our language contain those words.
Welsh choirs would be forced to sing Land of My Non-Birthing Parents. On Christmas morning, families would open presents left under the tree by Non-Birthing Parent Christmas. At bedtime, children would hear about how Old Gestational Parent Hubbard went to the cupboard.
On TV, viewers would relive the hilarious mishaps of Frank Spencer in the classic BBC sitcom, Some Gestational Parents Do ’Ave ’Em. Alternatively, they could turn over to Channel 4, and enjoy the side-splitting misadventures of three Irish priests in Non-Birthing Parent Ted. Then again, since priests tend not to be parents, perhaps the title would have to be Non-Birthing Non-Parent Ted instead.
At any rate, I do sympathise with those midwives having to learn this unwieldy new lingo. Sooner or later, of course, someone is bound to decide that the word “midwives” is non-inclusive, too. So either midwives will become known as midspouses – or the job will have to be opened up to midhusbands. I’m sure they’ll come up with something. As the old saying goes, necessity is the gestational parent of invention.
The most peculiar thing about the whole business, though, is this. The new words are designed to avoid causing offence – but in reality, they may well cause more offence.
Take the term “gestational parent”. As well as ugly, it’s terribly reductive. It reduces motherhood to pregnancy. As if that’s all a mother is: a womb.
Which is, of course, nonsense. On Mothering Sunday – or, as future generations may know it, Gestational Parenting Sunday – we don’t send cards thanking our mothers for how well they gestated us. Nor do we present them with novelty coffee mugs decorated with a love heart and the phrase “World’s Best Gestater”.
Personally, I don’t believe for a moment that anyone actually is offended by the words “mother” and “father” – or indeed the words “breastfeeding” and “breast milk”. I doubt anyone on Earth – no matter what their gender identity – has ever claimed to feel hurt or excluded by those words.
All that’s happened, I suspect, is that some high-minded busybodies have decided to take offence on other people’s behalf. And by doing so, they’ve managed to create a fuss out of nothing.
Still, you never know. The busybodies may yet get their way. Their contrived jargon may end up supplanting plain English everywhere. In which case, just imagine how sex education will be taught.
“When a person and another person wish to produce a tertiary person,” the teacher will begin, “they effect the temporary conjoinment of the reproductive organs conventionally located in the prospective gestational parent and the prospective non-birthing parent…”
Pupils won’t have a clue what the teacher’s on about. Then again, maybe that’s not such a bad thing. After all, if the pupils don’t know what it is, they might be less tempted to try it. ‘