Birth coach in UK resigns over Facebook post stating 'women birth all people'

Transgender activists and their supporters rally in support of transgender people on the steps of New York City Hall, in New York City, October 24, 2018. | Getty/Drew Angerer

A birth coach in the United Kingdom has resigned from the national association for birth coaches, Doula UK, after she was “ostracized” for a Facebook post that claimed that “women birth all people.”

A four-month investigation by Doula UK found that Lynsey McCarthy-Calvert’s comments on social media breached its equality and diversity guidelines, according to The Daily Mail.

“I am angry and sad,” McCarthy-Calvert, 45, recently told the newspaper. “I was effectively ostracized for saying I am a woman and so are my clients.”

McCarthy-Calvert worked as a doula to provide support and guidance to women going through labor and delivery for six years. She also served as the organization’s spokesperson. 

Troubles began for McCarthy-Calvert when she commented on Facebook about a change that Cancer Research UK made last year to its advertisements encouraging women to get routine pap smears. 

The ad campaign dropped the word “women” and instead called the gynecological exam “relevant for everyone aged 25-64 with a cervix.”

According to Mail Online, McCarthy-Calvert posted a since-deleted photo to Facebook of a woman wearing a negligee somersaulting underwater. Included in the photo was the comment: “I am not a ‘cervix owner’ I am not a ‘menstruator’ I am not a ‘feeling.’ I am not defined by wearing a dress and lipstick. I am a woman: an adult human female.”

“Women birth all the people, make up half the population, but less than a third of the seats in the House of Commons are occupied by us,” she wrote. 

McCarthy-Calvert also contended that women were accused of transphobia more than men because men are not “subjected to cries of bigotry and transphobia when they say they don’t want to have sex with a woman with a penis.”

The birth coach’s post was met with criticism from followers online and transgender activists. Some accused her of using a “transphobic dog whistle” by defining “women” as “adult human female.”

In the following days, The Daily Mail reports that about 20 transgender activists organized a letter accusing McCarthy-Calvert of posting “trans-exclusionary comments” and breaching Doula UK’s policy that stipulates that members shouldn’t post anything that colleagues, clients or affiliates would find offensive.

Soon after, McCarthy-Calvert was removed as the spokesperson of Doula UK and an investigation was launched into her social media post. 

After the four-month investigation, Doula UK’s board of directors reportedly ruled that McCarthy-Calvert’s post did breach the association’s policies. 

While Doula UK maintains that it did not expel McCarthy-Calvert from the association, The Daily Mail reports that the organization threatened to suspend McCarthy-Calvert unless she deleted the Facebook post. 

Although McCarthy-Calvert deleted the Facebook post, she also resigned from the association and accused it of caving to the demands of LGBT activists. McCarthy Calvert also accused the organization of refusing to stand up for women’s rights. 

“I have been very disappointed by Doula UK’s response,” McCarthy-Calvert told the newspaper. “The leadership are paralyzed by not wanting to upset transgender rights activists. They have fallen over themselves to acquiesce to their demands."

In a statement to The Daily Mail, Doula UK denied that it “acquiesced” to trans activists or that McCarthy-Calvert had been “in some way driven out of the organization.” 

“We are proud to say that we seek to listen to the lived experience of marginalized groups and make changes – including changes to the language we use – if we believe it is necessary to make the Doula UK community more welcoming and supportive,” the statement reads. 

The Daily Mail report on McCarthy-Calvert follows a legal victory for transgender activists in the United Kingdom. 

In early October, a U.K. tribunal ruled against a Christian doctor who was ousted from his job for refusing to use people’s preferred names and transgender pronouns. The tribunal ruled that the biblical belief in God creating humans as male and female as laid out in Genesis is "incompatible with human dignity.”

A mother who was arrested last year after misgendering a transgender activist on social media was formally charged earlier this year with malicious communications. On Twitter, the mother not only called the trans activist a male but also “racist, xenophobic and a crook.”

In the United States, a Virginia teacher sued his school district earlier this year after he was fired for refusing to use the preferred pronouns of a trans-identified student. 

Follow Samuel Smith on Twitter: @IamSamSmith

or Facebook: SamuelSmithCP

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