Harvard’s Medical School has been sharply criticised after it said not all people who become pregnant or give birth are women.
In a tweet promoting one of its events, the Medical School said: “Globally, ethnic minority pregnant and birthing people suffer worse outcomes and experiences during and after pregnancy and childbirth.”
The use of the term “birthing people” attracted widespread criticism.
‘I am a woman’
One user tweeted: “Dignity for women, please. Mother is not a dirty word.” Another added: “I am a woman. No other name is needed.”
Another user said: “Your contempt for us couldn’t be more apparent. We are women, and we will not be swept aside.”
Mother is not a dirty word.
Harvard denied it was an attempt to “erase or dehumanize women” saying it used the the term “because not all who give birth identify as ‘women’ or ‘girls’”.
In June, author J.K. Rowling attracted a string of abuse when she tweeted:
‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) 6 June, 2020
Rowling was branded ‘transphobic’, but explained in a subsequent essay that not using the word ‘women’ “strikes many women as dehumanising and demeaning”.
In December, the author called for an end to the “climate of fear” around discussing transgender issues, which she says prevents people from speaking out and is silencing those who regret their transitions.
Last year, feminine care company Tampax was slammed after it tweeted that it isn’t just women who menstruate.
The company tweeted: “Not all people with periods are women. Let’s celebrate the diversity of all people who bleed! #mythbusting #periodtruths #transisbeautiful.”
Daily Telegraph columnist Celia Walden said the statement was “empty and nonsensical” and that it caused “derision and division”.