Trans men and non-binary people also have abortions
Health services do not respect their gender identity or sexual orientation, thereby causing impacts on their self-esteem and mental health.
Photo: Alejandra Balaguera
“There was a case of a trans man who had an unaccompanied abortion and without adequate information and when we found out about the case, the boy was already in the emergency room and they did a curettage and all the time they were denying his identity, talking to him about she or girl After that event, he came to us for psychological treatment for the violent process he experienced. Currently, he is still in therapy ”. The quote is from Rita Tirado, from the Periferia Subversiva de Sinaloa collective, one of the few organizations in Sinaloa that support the abortion of trans men and non-binary people.
“Every day we have the difficult task of trying to make these people visible on the subject, because there has always been the idea that only women can gestate and that therefore only women can abort, when this is not the case,” she says. thrown away Aborting: deciding about the body, maternity, the future, has been a long way of fighting for women, due to the constant re-victimization, violence and social stigma they face. But this path has not been easier for those who identify as trans men, transmasculine people and non-binary people with the capacity to gestate, because, in addition, they face a lot of discrimination and invisibility for being who they are.
Health services do not respect their gender identity or sexual orientation, thereby causing impacts on their self-esteem and mental health. It is because of this and because of the transphobia that exists in some feminist abortion support groups that fear seeking help to access a termination of pregnancy and, therefore, often carry out the process alone, without sufficient information, taking unnecessary risks. .
“The person who is looking for help, to avoid a situation of discrimination, stress and violence on the part of the person who is going to accompany them, call them a companion or a doctor, decides to do it on their own and that is when they end up bleeding or going to the hospital because the situation got out of hand,” says Marce Casman, from the Dissident Mutants Collective / Aborta Segurx Guasave, Sinaloa.
Also read: Mexico City: 15 years after the decriminalization of abortion
In Mexico, in eleven of the 32 states, abortion is not a crime. In Mexico City, Oaxaca, Hidalgo, Baja California, Baja California Sur, Veracruz, Colima, Guerrero and Quintana Roo, the interruption of pregnancy is legal up to 12 weeks of gestation, while in Sinaloa it is possible before 13 weeks and in Coahuila the deadlines are yet to be specified.
However, only four states: Sinaloa, Baja California Sur, Quintana Roo and Colima, take pregnant persons into account within the legal framework that regulates abortion. This, despite the fact that in September 2021, the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) ruled that it is unconstitutional for the law to criminalize pregnant women and people who voluntarily decide to terminate their pregnancy.
Furthermore, no law approving abortion in the country explicitly names trans men or non-binary people assigned women at birth (AFAB), but their existence is grouped under the term: “pregnant people”. A reality that, according to some groups, is an expression of the symbolic violence they suffer, which does not recognize their rights and makes them invisible. “The health system, in its attempt to include trans men and non-binary people (AFAB) in the issue of abortion, only violated them more, grouping them only as pregnant people. We think that this terminology should be changed in the General Health Law of the State of Sinaloa”, adds Rita Tirado.
come out of the shadow
The refusal to recognize trans and non-binary people in the laws led to the filing of two collective amparos in October 2022 before a Federal Court for the Chihuahua State Government to implement the necessary health services to guarantee pregnant people, access to a free and safe abortion.
“Many times the idea that a trans man has the capacity to gestate is not even conceived,” says Marce Casman, from the Mutantes Disidentes collective, from Sinaloa. This invisibility is part of cisnormativity (from the prefix “cis”), which alludes to the fact that people who were assigned female at birth always “grow up to be what is expected of women”, and those who were assigned female at birth as masculine, they “always grow up to be what is expected of men.”
In this sense, Dante Ureta, a trans man from Sinaloa (a state where it is specified that abortion is also legal for pregnant people) says that medical care focuses on this duality, woman and man, and generally does not think about the rest of the people with a non-normative gender identity. For example, Ureta explains, the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) issues health cards, which specify that if you are a man you have the right to certain consultations and if you are a woman to others. Ultimately, gynecological consultations, for example, are not included in men’s health cards, so it becomes a bureaucratic task for trans men to access this type of care when they have already legally changed their names.
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“This is without mentioning that when we already have hormone replacement processes and others, doctors do not know how to treat or care for our bodies, they do it in total ignorance, because from school they are not taught that we exist, because medicine does not care. The issue of trans health has interested us,” adds Ureta.
Ninde MolRe, a lawyer specialized in gender and accompanist in sexual and reproductive justice processes in Mexico, agrees with this and believes that abortion in trans men and non-binary people: “is not even a right that is publicly discussed.” “When we talk about the right to abortion we are talking about cis women and that is what we have in the imagination and this leaves out all the people with reproductive capacity who are part of the non-heterosexual and non-cisgender spectrum”, MoIRe thinks.
Ignorance and discrimination
Discrimination in health services is visible for trans men and non-binary people who decide to terminate their pregnancy, since they are often victims of not referring to them with the gender they identify with. It usually manifests itself with the incorrect use of pronouns and with the refusal to recognize and use the name they have chosen.
“If they don’t have their name fixed, so to speak, in the legal situation, there is the part of having to say ‘I’m a woman, I need a consultation’ and enduring that they are speaking to you with your legal name and not with your chosen name or your social name, and therefore that they are making you misgender, which would be that they are speaking to you in a way that does not represent you”, explains Marce Casman, as a companion of these processes in the health system.
Mariel Yee, head of the department of the Sexual Diversity and Gender Orientation area of the Secretariat for Women in Sinaloa, commented that misgender in health services occurs mainly due to the lack of knowledge of medical personnel about gender identities, sexual orientations and gender expressions.
“Well, it’s also like this ‘you’re not supposed to be transitioning, why would you date a cis man’ bias?” like these things or thinking how they can see it as impossible, thinking that we could face situations or comments where they are discriminated against or violated based on this,” commented Mariel Yee.
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A situation that is not new. For the National Commission to Prevent Discrimination (Conapred), transgender and transsexual people face systematic exclusion from the health and social security system. According to a diagnosis by the CEAV and Fundación Arcoíris (2016), three out of five trans people considered that there are no adequate public establishments for the LGBT+ community. While in the results of the Situational Diagnosis of LGBTIQ People in Mexico (2015) it was found that 46% of trans women and 44% of trans men reported difficulties in accessing medical services.
If all the groups that work to make visible the existence of trans men and non-binary people, with the capacity to gestate, agree on something, it is the need for differentiated care protocols to be created in Mexico and other countries so that , in the case of abortion and other medical services, their rights are recognized and respected.
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*#Let’sTalkAboutAbortion is a digital and journalistic conversation, between Mexico and Colombia, that fights against the social criminalization of abortion in Latin America and the effects it leaves on women, trans men and non-binary people. It was organized by Mutante, in alliance with El Espectador in Colombia, and in collaboration with Lado B, Página 3, Istmo Press, Revista Espejo, Amapola Periodismo Transgresor, La Marea and Pie de Página, from Mexico. He had the support of the Information Group on Chosen Reproduction (GIRE). If you are looking for more information, we invite you to chat on the social networks of allied media.