The Canadian Association of Midwives’ (CAM) Board of Directors published a statement today about the inclusion of trans, genderqueer, and intersex people in midwifery care. The message is loud and clear. CAM sees no contradiction in providing woman-centred care and respecting diverse identities. The Board acknowledges the organization's feminist roots in its first sentence and goes on to declare,
“We are aware of recent events in the United States and the claims of some that the important steps being taken to ensure that trans, gender queer and intersex people in our care and in our communities are not marginalized, denied or made invisible, are somehow undermining our ability to provide woman-centered care. CAM refutes this statement completely. We believe that it is critical for midwives to honour and respect all people’s right to self-determination and their right to receive health care that is free from discrimination, transphobia and prejudice. Women and women’s health care will not benefit by refusing to recognize or include the rights of others.”
In the statement, the Board mentions that CAM is taking action in order to serve marginalized populations better. CAM is currently reviewing its own language to insure inclusion of people of all genders. The organization is “committed to providing resources and education for our members” about the needs of trans, genderqueer, and intersex people.
I am thrilled to be helping contribute to education on this front by speaking at CAM’s annual conference this November. My session is titled “Some men haveuteruses: a qualitative study about transgender men who experienced pregnancy& birth.” My presentation is paired with one I’m excited to attend by lesbian midwifery clients Jenna Jacobs, a trans woman, and Eby Heller, a cis woman.
CAM’s Board finishes with a powerful conclusion to its statement: “We believe that ensuring that our work and our language reflects the existence and inclusion of trans, gender queer and intersex people does not erase the existence of women, it simply extends basic human rights to all midwives and the people they serve.”
It will be interesting to see what language they decide on.