Tucked inside the new issue of SQUAT Birth Journal #5 is my latest article “We Are Not All Women: Midwives, Doulas & the Gender of Birth Work.” The article shares the experiences of a transgender midwifery student, and a male midwife who’s been practicing for 30+ years.
The article attempts to challenge our assumptions about the gender identities of birth workers, and to explore the estrogen-rich environment that is the birth world.
Here’s an excerpt from my interview with Kennedy Rollins,* a transgender midwifery student:
“Considering his experience of feeling alienated in the birth community, Kennedy wonders what effect his gender identity will have on his ability to serve birthing families. “As someone who really wants to prioritize being accessible to people, and being able to be a competent care provider, how am I potentially restricting myself by transitioning?”
There will undoubtedly be families who are not interested in having a transgendered midwife as their care provider. “I know that I would reach more people if I appeared to be female,” Kennedy admits. But at the same time, there are also birthing families who embrace gender diversity as an element of the vibrant world around us, or who are themselves gender-non-conforming. For these families, Kennedy and the handful of other publicly transgender doulas, midwives, and student midwives may be the ideal care providers.”
* A pseudonym has been used in this article to protect the privacy of the person being interviewed.