...here I was, arguing with friends about language: the example was raised of a training course for doulas (freelance, new age birth partners). A trans woman wanted to join the class, and while the teaching doula had reservations, she assented.
I didn’t get what the reservations were, to be honest: a doula is privately engaged – if you had a problem with a trans woman, you simply wouldn’t hire one.
Or bake that cake..?
The only objection I could divine was if you thought anyone who wasn’t a cis woman didn’t belong around childbirth; but that space has been unisex for years.
Yes, but the men there aren't pretending to be women, are they?
But back to the language problem: my friends told me the trans novice doula had gone on to object to the word “mother”, and this made the class impossible.
Of course he did. What did anyone think would happen as soon as he got a foot in the door?
Well, of course you do, because you're not very bright, are you?
It’s true that, in a medical context, trans men don’t want to be addressed as mothers, since it forces them to choose between their identity as an individual and as a parent, but it doesn’t follow that they want to police all of us into never again mentioning our mothers.
You've just been shown how a desire to be inclusive has backfired, with the inch-taker now demanding their mile. You've seen how language is policed, by first protest and then violence. You'd have to be wilfully blind or stupid not to see the direction of travel here...
Sometimes language does have to change.
And sometimes it doesn't. This is once such time.
The important thing, always, is to operate in good faith.
The important thing is to realise when your opponent has no such qualms, Zoe.