I want to take a moment to publicly applaud MANA (Midwives Alliance of North America) – under the leadership of Marinah Farrell – for making their core competencies inclusive of non-binary gender identities.
I also want to acknowledge the friends and colleagues of mine who have a very personal stake in this dialogue of inclusiveness; who not only regularly endure personal attacks for the way that they experience and interact with the world, but who also, through the controversy of the inclusion of gender neutrality within this dry administrative document, have witnessed folks fighting over scraps of identity as though inclusion translates to one’s own extinction.
The pain involved in bearing witness to people advocating for one’s erasure is immense.
And let’s be clear, *inclusion* is not *subtraction.* Women still get to represent and be represented in not only this document, but in the conversations about pregnancy and birth. Gender, as it relates to feminism and reproductive justice, is muddy because of the ways in which we have conflated gender – how we define it, how we interact with it, and how it all has been fed to us under The Patriarchy.
No matter one’s identity, misogyny is still at the root of the oppression we face in our reproductive health choices and in maternity care. Dismantling these systems of oppression is bigger than saying women matter. It means insisting that women DO, in fact, matter, AND insisting that our devaluation hinges on the dominant paradigm of binaries and rigidity that is the root of women’s oppression.
Feminism wins when we side with fluidity and say ‘fuck off’ to conformity. It is within the shackles of conformity that women have been defined and confined. A gender evolution is the Patriarchal Fuck You that almost no one can handle. It is the revolutionary Middle Finger that women must embrace to grow this movement and to secure our freedom.
No one is selling out women by being inclusive; but women have the potential to further marginalize others – to enact and extend oppressive paradigms by insisting this is “us vs. them.” Inclusive means AND. I want freedom for women AND for everyone else who suffers under systems that operate on a mentality of #howwehatewomen.