When you’re passionate about an issue, it’s easy to develop tunnel vision. When that issue is everywhere in the news, it’s even easier. It’s easy to get caught up in how people’s decisions affect you and those like you while ignoring those affected who aren’t just like you.
Recently social media has been flooded with people are talking about the various abortion bans being enacted in states like Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Kentucky. People are up in arms about how this will affect women, and about the idea of men regulating and legislating women’s bodies.
But abortion affects more than just women.
Transgender men who still have uteruses can still get pregnant. Gender neutral people with uteruses can still get pregnant. Nonbinary people who have uteruses can still get pregnant. Any afab (assigned female at birth) person who still has a uterus can still get pregnant. These abortion bans affect them, too.
In fact, they might even be more damaging to that group of people than anyone else. As a cis woman, I cannot imagine the mental toll it would take on a transgender man, nonbinary, or afab person already dealing with body dysmorphia to find themselves unwantedly pregnant.
I also, as a cis woman, can’t imagine what it must be like to log on to social media to find everyone passionate about an issue that affects your life and health – only to find that nearly everyone is leaving you out of the conversation about it.
To every transgender, nonbinary, or afab person who may have felt invisible, ignored, or left out of any piece that I have written or posted in recent weeks, I apologize. I see you. I hear you. I’m listening, and I’m learning.
After hearing from some transgender friends that they were feeling left out of the conversation, I began making an effort to comment on any social media post I saw, reminding friends, family members, and even strangers that all people who have a uterus need to be included. It very quickly became exhausting.
There are people who live with that reality every day.
Imagine living a life where you constantly have to remind someone that you exist. Where you constantly have to tell people that issues that affect others affect you, too. Imagine looking around only to see that people you consider friends and even family have suddenly forgotten the reality that these important issues affect you, too.
I can’t imagine how that must feel – but I can try to empathize.
So please, when you’re talking about an issue like abortion, stay aware of your language.
Perhaps instead of the “War on Women,” we could talk about the “War on Wombs.”
Perhaps we could limit ourselves to phrases such as “Abortions save lives.” (Gender neutral and comprehensive).
“No one without a uterus has the right to decide for those who do.”
Jenn Bentley is a writer and editor originally from Cadiz, Kentucky. Her writing has been featured in publications such as The High Tech Society, FansShare, Yahoo News, Examiner.com, and others.