June is Pride Month in the U.S.
It is a time to honor the years of struggle for human rights, civil rights, health equity, and equal justice for the LGBTQ+ community and to remember that families continue to face these same struggles today. This month also reminds us of the importance of creating more inclusive health care, including lactation support, for LGBTQ+ families.
Language matters! Inclusive language is important, because words make a difference. Words have the power to recognize and affirm a person’s identity or to deny or disregard their identity, to support a lactation journey or to create barriers to successful lactation. Inclusive language respects, acknowledges, and welcomes the breast/chestfeeding and human milk feeding family.
… it is so important to be aware of the impact of the language you use and the context in which you are using it, and why people need to make a conscious effort to use language that is inclusive and validating for everyone — especially the LGBTQ community. Affirming and supporting people for who they are and how they identify is an integral part of creating equal space for the LGBTQ community; inclusivity within language is just as important as any other kind of inclusivity within a culture.Speaking of Identities: The Importance of Inclusive Language and the LGBTQ Community
In addition to recognizing the power of the words we use, building inclusive health equity and lactation support requires an awareness of the inequities. It also demands a commitment to changing practices in order to address the inequities.
…inclusion of the diversity that exists within gender, sex, and family structure requires more than just substituting words…we must first become aware of discrimination and inequities based on gender, sex, and normative assumptions about family structure.Journal of Human Lactation, Sex and Gender Inclusiveness in Lactation Research
Breastfeeding Family Friendly Communities (BFFC) supports breast/chestfeeding and human milk feeding families. In celebration of Pride Month, we offer resources to build awareness and to promote changes that support equity in lactation for LGBTQ+ families.
- Lactation Education Resources
- Michigan Breastfeeding Network
- US Breastfeeding Committee
- Milk Junkies – Breastfeeding and parenting from a transgender perspective (Trevor MacDonald)
- Where’s the Mother? Stories from a Transgender Dad. Trevor MacDonald. 2016. Trans Canada Press, Winnipeg.
- Journal of Human Lactation article (limited free access)
- Center on Halsted