July 27, 2022 - 1:30pm

If anyone should know the difference between men and women, it is surely the people who work in Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. According to the NHS, “Doctors in obstetrics and gynaecology (O&G) care for pregnant women and unborn children, and look after women’s sexual and reproductive health.”

Perhaps someone needs to remind the Royal College because RCOG proposals on the “Care of Trans and Gender Diverse People within Obstetrics and Gynaecology” go way beyond being sensitive towards women who do not like to be reminded of their sex. A challenge, perhaps, during childbirth? But it’s not rocket science to avoid certain language if that’s what the patient prefers. For example, while only women give birth and become mothers, both sexes can be parents.

However, these draft guidelines go beyond care and compassion; they bear the hallmarks of transgender activism, heralded yet again by pronouns. Without irony, the RCOG recommended “using their preferred pronouns when addressing someone”. But wouldn’t that be the pronoun “you”? We have never had different second-person pronouns for men and women because when someone is standing in from of us, let alone giving birth, we do not need words to tell the difference.

Deeper within the documentation the RCOG uses the term “chest feeding” repeatedly. Why? Elsewhere, the NHS is clear that both sexes have breasts. But a political lobby group has become so powerful that it has been able to insert its preferred words into the language used in medicine. Perhaps rather predictably, the term “cis-women” also appears, and no fewer than 16 times. It is a sad situation when women are redefined as people who are not transwomen by the professional association devoted to their health.

The document is not all bad. Clinicians are reminded that transwomen like me may still experience “prostate problems” even after gender reassignment surgery. We don’t really change sex, despite what some might claim.

But the RCOG should stick to its remit — women. Yes, clinicians should be sensitive to the needs and desires of all their patients — including those who call themselves transmen or non-binary. But however female people might think of themselves, they all have female bodies. That is the reason why they might need the services of an obstetrician or gynaecologist. Some people might try and deny their biology but none of us can escape our bodies.

The document is open for consultation until 7 September, and anyone can comment. Potential service users comprise 51% of the population. Perhaps the RCOG needs a first-hand reminder of their views?

Debbie Hayton is a teacher and a transgender campaigner.