Category Archives: Queer & Transgender Activism

4 Opportunities to Participate in Doula Research

There are four exciting opportunities to participate in research on the full spectrum & radical doula movements!  Each of these studies presents a chance to spread the word about the value of doula support throughout the whole spectrum of pregnancy outcomes.


Call for Birth Stories from LGBTQ parents

In the world of pregnancy and birth, there’s not much space devoted to the voices of queer or trans birthing folks.  When’s the last time you read a transman’s birth story, or noticed a lesbian couple’s birth photos floating around the ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ world of Facebook?

Kristen Ethier of Chicago’s Kaledioscope Doula wants to change that!  Here’s her call for submissions of birth stories from lesbian, queer, gender non-conforming, or FTM transgender parents:

What’s this all about?

There are vast collections of birth stories written by heterosexual folks.  It is time for your stories to be heard & recorded as a part of our queer history.  I am asking you to share your story with me because I am passionate about your story of the day you welcomed your child to the world being heard, in your own words. Send me your story whether you were the parent who gave birth or the co-parent who supported your partner when your baby was born.

I am not certain about the direction this collection will take & I will respond to your e-mailed story to ask permission before posting/publishing it.

Who’s asking?

Hi. I’m Kristen. I’m a queer feminist birth doula and childbirth educator in Chicago. I am passionate about the power of queer voices in pregnancy & birth culture. You can learn more about me at

All submissions can be e-mailed to

Smiling at Fred Phelps

How the fuck do you smile at Fred Phelps?

Scotty Weaver was an 18 year old gay Alabaman who liked to dress in drag. He was brutally tortured & murdered by 3 teenagers in 2004. Fred Phelps is glad he's dead.

I’m watching the documentary Small Town Gay Bar, and there’s this loooong interview with the infamous Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church.  He’s smiling and happy and cheerful as he describes the wrath that God is bringing down on us all for our acceptance of “fags.”

And the kicker is, you can hear the (liberal, LGBTQ friendly) filmmakers chuckling along with him as he spews his hate to their camera with a huge grin on his face.

I get that they did what they had to do to get the interview.  I can identify with having to compromise yourself for a moment in order to accomplish a larger goal.

But imagining myself sitting across a table from Fred Phelps, smiling and chuckling along with him–EVEN just for a few minutes, for a fantastic purpose–makes my skin crawl.  My head is spinning at the thought of it.

End rant.

Gendered Language in this Safe Space

This post originally appeared today at the Full Spectrum Doula Network, so the language is directed toward that particular community.  But the message applies to the larger reproductive health community as well–and is a key element to the work we have to do to create an inclusive movement that fully represents the vibrance and diversity of this world.

One of the core goals of this community is to create a safe space for the full spectrum of doulas and other reproductive health workers.  For transgender or genderqueer folks working in the reproductive health world, part of feeling safe is not being asked to constantly, on a minute-to-minute basis, identify within the conventional gender binary of male and female–and not constantly, on a minute-to-minute basis, having your gender assumed as female because of your work as a doula or midwife.

This post is just a gentle nudge to remind folks here that your language matters.  To remind folks that part of creating a safe space lies in challenging ourselves to change our behaviors that might be alienating or denigrating to folks we really don’t mean to oppress.

Here, in this safe space, you don’t have to be a ‘lady’ or a ‘she’ or a ‘woman’ (or even a ‘womyn’ for that matter) to be a doula or a midwife or an advocate.

Many of us have talked about how Continue reading

this is THE conference to be at. see you there!

The annual conference ‘From Abortion Rights to Social Justice: Building the Movement for Reproductive Freedom’ is the closest thing to a major radical reproductive rights conference out there.  I suspect that a good number of you have already been to it before, and I’ll be there in April 2011.  Come! 

Every year 1,000+ reproductive health advocates gather for an Abortion Speakout, plus workshops on incredible topics like:

  • Expanding the Doula Model of Care: Training and Being Abortion Doulas
  • Abortion Care
  • Abortion Access Internationally 
  • Abortion Funding and Access in the U.S. 
  • Mothers Among Us 
  • Empowering Birth 
  • Politics of Family Creation 
  • Healthcare for All
  • Translating the Gender Landscape: Creating Awareness and Activism 
  • Trans Feminism
  • Beyond the Gender Binary: A Trans 101
  • Blogging for Reproductive Justice
  • Self-Help/Self-Exams
  • Demystifying Reproductive Health
  • International Reproductive Rights Roundtable 
  • Organizing for Health Care Access

These workshops are from last year, but this year’s schedule promises to be even more ridiculously great–it’s the conference’s 30th anniversary.  It’s hosted by the Civil Liberties & Public Policy program at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. 

The real kicker is that this amazing event is free.  Yeah, I said free.  So, no cost for the conference, plus a bunch of meals are included, plus free transportation around the area, means this is probably one of the most accessible (as well as the most fly) conferences around. 

So join me!  Come and share and learn and grow and network!  Who’s in?

Supporting Trans Folks in the Childbearing Year

One of the growing areas of interest (and need) for doula support is the birthing population of trans folks.  This great post from discusses the specific needs of transmen during conception, pregnancy and birth, but there’s a serious lack of resources for both the transfolk experiencing the childbearing year, AND the care prodivers (doulas, in this case) looking to support them.

The list below is from the new Resources page at the Full Spectrum Doula Network.  The page is private and only openable by FSDN members, so I wanted to go ahead and make the list of resources available to you, too.  The info below provides a wealth of information for and about the birthing trans community:

Many, many thanks to Abigail, Danny, and everyone else who contributed to compiling this list!  And it’s only a beginning…

Call for Submissions on Transgender Pregnancy & Conception

Stephanie Brill is currently calling for submissions for a book about transgender pregnancy & conception. This book will include:

• Using transwomen as donors
• Transmale pregnancies
• Transmale partners of biowomen
• Transmen/transwomen parenting together

Please send submissions to:

The back story on this call for submissions is pretty interesting.  This upcoming trans book follows Stephanie Brill’s previous book, The New Essential Guide to Lesbian Conception, Pregnancy & Birth.  When it was being published, evidently the publisher, Alyson Books, ditched out on Brill’s trans-pregnancy & conception topics. 

Brill is co-founder and director of Maia Midwifery and Preconception Services, which serves lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered and heterosexual families.  Here’s the statement from Mai Midwifery’s website about the exclusion of trans material from her book:

Stephanie Brill's previous publisher excluded her chapters on transgender issues

This Book is Trans Inclusive

and inclusive of all gender expressions and identities. However, the publisher declined to include the two new chapters dedicated to issues of transgender conception and pregnancy. They also declined to use a more inclusive subtitle to reflect the breadth of this book (bisexual, single, trans and gender queer parents). For this we apologize. However, Stephanie is now calling for submissions for another book in the works specifically addressing trans issues. To contact Stephanie Brill, click here.