No, health care professionals aren’t being ‘urged’ to call vaginas ‘bonus holes’
If your time is short:
– There is no widespread push for health care professionals to use the term “bonus hole” instead of “vagina.”
– Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, a U.K.-based charity, listed the term “bonus hole” on its website as an alternative word to vagina that some transgender and nonbinary patients may prefer. The glossary encourages health care professionals to talk with patients about the language and terminology they are comfortable using.
Social media users are claiming there’s a widespread push for health care professionals to replace reproductive anatomy terminology with gender-neutral language. But this misconstrues what industry guidance says about treating transgender and nonbinary patients.
The headline is from a July 8 Daily Mail article that references an LGBTQ+ glossary on the U.K.-based charity Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust’s website. The glossary, which was made in partnership with the U.K.-based LGBT Foundation, advises health care professionals on language to use when supporting trans men and nonbinary people.
The first entry in the glossary, which is organized alphabetically, is the term “bonus hole,” which is described as “an alternative word for the vagina.”
The glossary does not say health professionals should use this term instead of vagina, nor is this term a recent addition to the glossary, as the Daily Mail and social media posts suggest.
Rather, the glossary encourages health professionals to use terminology that patients are comfortable with. The entry for this term says, “It is important to check which words someone would prefer to use.” Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust’s website says the glossary was last updated September 2020.
A spokesperson for Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust told PinkNews that the glossary includes terms health care professionals may hear some patients use, but it is not promoting the use of these phrases with all patients.
This is in line with health care industry guidance on how to treat LGBTQ+ patients. The World Professional Association for Transgender Health recommends in its latest Standards of Care guidelines, published September 2022, that health care professionals discuss with transgender and gender diverse people what language or terminology they prefer.
PolitiFact found no mention of the “bonus hole” terminology in guidance from the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, or the National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center.
We rate the claim that health care professionals are being “urged to call vaginas ‘bonus holes’” False.
Promote Inclusive Language: Empowering Health Professionals to Support Transgender and Nonbinary Patients
In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of inclusive language in healthcare settings. This is particularly crucial when it comes to supporting transgender and nonbinary patients. Language plays a significant role in shaping our perceptions and experiences, and using inclusive language can empower health professionals to provide the highest quality care to all individuals, regardless of their gender identity. In this article, we will explore the importance of promoting inclusive language and discuss strategies to empower health professionals in supporting transgender and nonbinary patients.
Understanding Gender Identity:
Before delving into the significance of inclusive language, it is essential to understand the concept of gender identity. Gender identity refers to an individual’s deeply felt sense of being male, female, or something outside of the traditional binary understanding of gender. Transgender individuals identify with a gender different from the one assigned to them at birth, while nonbinary individuals do not exclusively identify as either male or female. Recognizing and respecting these identities is crucial for providing appropriate and sensitive healthcare.
The Impact of Inclusive Language:
Using inclusive language is not merely a matter of political correctness; it has a profound impact on the well-being and healthcare experiences of transgender and nonbinary patients. When health professionals use incorrect pronouns or misgender patients, it can lead to feelings of invalidation, distress, and even avoidance of seeking healthcare altogether. Inclusive language, on the other hand, fosters trust, respect, and a sense of safety, enabling patients to disclose vital information and engage in open and honest conversations about their health concerns.
Empowering Health Professionals:
To promote inclusive language and empower health professionals in supporting transgender and nonbinary patients, several strategies can be implemented:
1. Education and Training: Healthcare institutions should provide comprehensive education and training programs to enhance health professionals’ understanding of gender identity and the importance of inclusive language. This should include information on appropriate terminology, pronoun usage, and cultural competency.
2. Policy Development: Institutions should develop and enforce policies that explicitly state the importance of using inclusive language and outline consequences for non-compliance. These policies should be communicated clearly to all staff members and integrated into regular performance evaluations.
3. Language Resources: Providing health professionals with access to language resources, such as glossaries and guides, can be immensely helpful in navigating inclusive language. These resources should be regularly updated to reflect evolving language preferences and terminology.
4. Role-Modeling: Leaders within healthcare organizations should lead by example and consistently use inclusive language. This can create a culture of inclusivity and encourage other health professionals to follow suit.
5. Patient Feedback: Encouraging patients to provide feedback on their healthcare experiences, including language use, can help identify areas for improvement. Institutions should establish mechanisms for patients to voice their concerns and suggestions, ensuring that their feedback is taken seriously and acted upon.
Promoting inclusive language is a vital step towards empowering health professionals to support transgender and nonbinary patients effectively. By recognizing and respecting individuals’ gender identities, health professionals can create a safe and inclusive healthcare environment where all patients feel valued and understood. Through education, policy development, language resources, role-modeling, and patient feedback, healthcare institutions can foster a culture of inclusivity and provide the highest quality care to all individuals, regardless of their gender identity.