Underserved and Often Invisible: Queer, Trans, & POC in the birth world

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about certain communities of people involved in the world of birth and parenting:
- Queer/Trans* (nonheteronormative)
- People of Colour
- Polyamorous families
- That awesome family of folks who result when those three overlap

I am wanting to feature posts on Natural Attachment Midwifery’s blog about queer/trans/POC folks, their experiences, and their advice to other people involved in the worlds of birth and parenting. I recently posted a round up of links pertaining to this topic and it’s been on my mind ever since. I’m hoping to share some people’s experiences who are not otherwise well represented, are underserved, and often invisible.

Topic suggestions:
- being a queer/trans/POC birthworker
- experience as a queer/trans person or POC giving birth (at home — mainly since homebirth is even more under represented in minority communities)
- perinatal care for queer/trans/POC clients
- how are care providers failing the queer/trans/POC community?
- reviews of media and educational materials (books, articles, studies, documentaries/films) portraying or discussing queer/trans people/POC and birth
- special needs or considerations for expectant queer/trans folks/POC & their families
- culturally significant needs regarding care for queer/trans/POC expectant families
- inclusive language and pronoun usage in the birthing/parenting world

Some topics/questions for queer/trans/POC birthworkers:
- positive and negative aspects of your career that you attribute towards your identity
- are you a more sensitive and qualified care provider for other queer/trans/POC clients because of your own identity and experiences?
- for queer/trans birthworkers: do you explicitly or implicitly share with clients that you are queer/trans? How has this worked out thus far?
- what advice would you give to other birthworkers (minority or otherwise) who are caring for queer/trans/POC clients?

Some topics/questions for queer/trans/POC expectant families:
- positive and negative aspects of your care that you attribute towards your identity- is there a care provider/place of service (concerning birth/parenting) that you have experience with that should be highlighted as a positive example for other care providers/places of service?
- do you feel under represented in media and education materials concerning the birthing/parenting world?
- general advice for care providers and other expectant people/families in regards to your identity

Some topics/questions for polyamorous families:
- positive and negative aspects of your care that you attribute to wards your family dynamic
- what are some ways the birthing/parenting world could be more inclusive of poly families?
- do you feel under represented in media and education materials concerning the birthing/parenting world?

I’m going to collect a few posts and then probably publish one or two a week on my site, which will also post them on my business Facebook page and Google+ page. If authors of submissions are willing, I’d like to include a short bio to go at the bottom of posts: feel free to include links to personal or professional websites/blogs. If an author wishes to remain anonymous (or use pseudonyms), that is fine as well.

My own experience, in a nutshell:
I’m queer; I’m a midwife; and technically speaking, ethnically, I’m a Person of Colour. However, to most people, I look like a poor to middle class liberal white woman and for the most part, I live in that social world of privilege. I’m not shy about who I am with my clients. I expect that at some point potential clients have at least read the About page on my business site, which plainly states that I am queer and that I offer my services in an inclusive manner. I won’t lie; this has been a barrier between myself and certain potential clients, but not as often as outright prejudice has been for expectant families in my community. In my own birthing community there have been midwives who have said deplorable things to their queer/homosexual clients about their clients’ orientation and about their clients’ queer/homosexual family members. I have had clients transfer their care to me and contact me seeking transfer or referral, because of the insensitivity and intolerance of fellow midwives, not to mention both the implicit and explicit racism as well. We don’t have enough midwives on the Western side of the state; the last thing we need is for some of the few we have to be bigoted. It boggles my mind and saddens my heart.

Questions, concerns, and submissions can be sent to Michele (fierylasirena at gmail (dot) com)

 

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