Pro-choice activism should represent all gender identities, not just cis women

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Since the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wademeaningful discussions surrounding human rights, abortion access, and reproductive healthcare have increased. 

It’s promising to see many passionate people working to defend reproductive rights and abortion services. However, the dialogue surrounding the pro-choice movement often focuses only on cis women and ignores other groups who suffer from abortion restrictions, such as trans men, nonbinary, and Two Spirit people.  

Too many media outlets and social media posts make the harmful choice of using solely female pronouns when discussing abortion and reproductive healthcare. Doing this excludes trans men and nonbinary people from the battle for what should be a basic human right.

Restrictive laws and accessibility issues surrounding abortion absolutely threaten the lives of cis women, but all gender identities must be empowered in the fight for bodily autonomy and abortion access to achieve full equality within the reproductive healthcare system. 

Using gendered language when discussing abortion can cause trans and nonbinary individuals to feel excluded from pro-choice activism and from the healthcare system—a system which already has a long history of failing patients who fall outside cisgender norms.

Whether it’s being turned away, mistreated, or misgendered by medical staff, many trans and nonbinary individuals continue to face negative and even traumatic healthcare experiences. 

Similar barriers exist to sexual and reproductive care due to systemic problems like poor or incorrect treatment, ignorant usage of pronouns, harassment, and refusal of care.

Trans individuals, especially trans people of colour, are also often more likely to struggle with poverty and job discrimination, making abortion access difficult even in areas and communities where restrictions aren’t severe. 

We all deserve access to safe, reliable healthcare and full autonomy over our bodies. 

When acknowledging that this isn’t the reality for more than half the population, we can’t forget how the healthcare system, and the laws that impact it, have consistently failed the LGBTQ2S+ community.

Using gendered language only reinforces the damaging systems which have historically psychologically, emotionally, and physically harmed trans and nonbinary people.

It’s time to shift from our use of gendered language and move toward a more inclusive way of speaking, like using terms such as pregnant ‘people’ rather than ‘women or ‘people who may become pregnant’ when referring to those who may wish to access abortion clinics. 

Body autonomy is a human right relevant to everyone, regardless of gender identity. The fight for the right to choose won’t be won until all bodies are recognized as equal, so we must include all gender identities in our pro-choice arguments.

Slight alterations to how we think and speak can significantly impact how we understand abortion care and its importance in the lives of people of all genders.

Mackenzie is a third-year Film & Media student and The Journal's Senior Video Editor.

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