As an LGBTQI lactation provider, I sometimes feel that I live in a parallel universe to those colleagues who are unaffected by, and largely unaware of, the kind of prejudice and discrimination LGBTQI people experience and how this affects our lives and our work.

Two days ago, on December 4, the state of Michigan passed the “Michigan religious freedom restoration act”. The passing of this bill means that lactation professionals, such as IBCLCs, in that State can now legally refuse to provide services to LGBTQI families. Many health professionals, lactation consultants, breastfeeding peer counsellors, and doulas, by their own accounts and documented in health research, already refuse services to LGBTQI patients and clients and legislation like gives them legal protection to do so. Refusal of health services or the provision of inadequate or sloppy services impacts LGBTQI people’s health and that of our families, and impacts the work environment

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Many of you may already know that some very exciting news was announced a couple of days ago by the world’s largest ‘mother-to-mother’ breastfeeding support organisation, La Leche League. They have revised their applicant policy to include men ‘who have breastfed.’ From the LLL International website:

As the cultural understanding of gender has expanded, it is now recognised that some men are able to breastfeed. In the spirit of non discrimination and with this awareness, La Leche League International has refined the eligibility qualifications for its volunteer breastfeeding counsellors to include men who otherwise meet the prerequisites for becoming a volunteer applicant. Prerequisites include organizational experience, personal experience breastfeeding a baby for at least nine months, and a demonstrated commitment to La Leche League philosophy.”

For the full press release read here.

Although LLL announced this rather quietly, the news was received joyously, loudly and proudly by those of

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I’m not exactly sure what people have in mind when they use the term ‘biologically normal’. I know that it comes up frequently in discussion on access issues regarding LBTBQ people which is why I am so aware of it, but I am having a hard time finding a definition of it. If this is a term you use, then feel free to add your definition below.

Normal has so many definitions. The Free Dictionary (1) tells me that normal is being something that is common. Common behaviour can be a standard or ‘norm’. Common is something that most people do. If I dig a little bit deeper, I start to feel a little uncomfortable. Normal becomes a standard, a measure. After normal we then have ‘abnormal’. Do we use abnormal to mean ‘uncommon’, or differing from what most people are doing? Is it a word that is

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LGTBQ, put simply, is an initialism that stands for Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Bisexual and Queer. It is an umbrella term which attempts to describe a diverse group of people. You may have come across many other versions; LGB, GLB, GLBT, LGTB+, LGTBIQ……the variations are endless and controversial. Each version has its own reason for being and none is all-inclusive of the people who are frequently referred to as part of the LGTB umbrella – it should perhaps read LDGTBIPAGFGQA+. Being left out is not only exclusionary, those letters can be important for funding of projects and determines who has access to the services provided by funded projects.

Things become particularly complicated when people from outside the LGTB/Queer community begin to criticise those within and the terms we choose (yes, really).

My suggestion to anyone who is unsure what term to use; ask, or wait until the person you are talking

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Recently I  have met people online who are from without the LGTBQ community who have approached or initiated conversations on LGTBQ issues, to then withdraw when they have received what they perceive as people ‘coming-down’ on them. I have written this post with these people in mind, as a peace offering, and some suggestions for the well-intentioned ‘would be allies’ who are having trouble entering that sometimes ‘hostile-seeming-to-outsiders’ LGTBQ world.

My suggestion is – stay here – don’t withdraw. Hold that feeling of people ‘coming-down’ on you. If you are straight or cisgender – then the issue you were discussing was not about you. The people you think have ‘come-down’ on you probably haven’t. What you might be feeling is the weight of our issues and it might be one of the rare chances that you get of feeling what we are up against on a daily basis – by

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This morning I happened to read an article about ‘why reproduction is a women’s issue’. At the bottom of the article was a disclaimer about language which stated that the author had chosen to use the terms ‘woman’, ‘women’, and ‘mother’ and related pronouns while at the same time recognising that some people who give birth ‘may identify with another gender term’. I have seen other disclaimers of this type recently and I wonder;  why not change the gendered terms to the gender neutral ‘person’, ‘people’ and ‘parent’ or ‘birth parent’ and related gender neutral pronouns? Would that not be more inclusive than such disclaimers?

Later today I had a discussion with an author who had used a similar disclaimer in an article about ‘dads’ – her disclaimer stated that she did not want the term ‘dads’ to make lesbians feel excluded, but that was the term she was going

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A nice straightforward story of how co-nursing (via induced lactation) worked for this pair of mothers. The author (the non gestational parent) talks about bonding, confidence, the convenience of nursing, going back to work, donating surplus (from a double supply), the practicalities of induced lactation, balancing the beginnings of breastfeeding in the early days, and the relationship with her co-nursing partner.

How two lesbian mamas share breastfeeding duties – by Liesbeth Koning, from ‘Offbeat families’

Co-nursing may not be an option for all lesbian couples and there are a variety of ways to go about it which I will post about in the future. If you have co-nursed then please leave a comment about your experience, or send me your story if you would like to recount it here on this website.


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Today is national coming out day. I thought it might be a good way to celebrate by offering some suggestions on how to save your clients coming out to you.

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It can be fun to come out, it can be a cause for celebration – when you get to choose your own moment. Often, though, we come out because we or our partner have been ‘mislabelled’, because someone assumes we or they are straight*, cisgender*, or that we identify within a gender binary*. There are moments, especially moments of vulnerability – and vulnerability is a typical situation for new or expectant parents – when coming out can be annoying, scary, humiliating, or even dangerous.

These days, with more and more celebrities coming out, it might seem that coming out is easy, and I hope it is easy for some – especially for the younger generation. I hope there is

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The journey that led me to starting this blog began when I enrolled in university, a couple of years ago, with the aim of becoming a professional lactation consultant (IBCLC). Perhaps because I have spent most of my adult life in a foreign country isolated from the English language, or perhaps because I was living as a heterosexual, somehow I missed out on, or never noticed, the word ‘heteronormativity’.

The first course I enrolled in at university was an introduction to the social sciences. Digging around in the Open University website trying to learn more about  what I was getting myself in for I came across this free online course, or something similar  – the word heteronormativity glared back at me very loudly. Simple concept really, and perhaps I’m the only person to have missed it and I’m now making an idiot of myself across the internet….? Here

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If this blog were to have a soundtrack then it would be this  – the song I turn to while tapping away at the keyboard those days and nights when I need some energy and inspiration to keep going. For me, personally, it has become an anthem for change and acceptance – it’s a song that doesn’t let me sit here in my own home and ignore the discrimination happening outside.

“This song is a humble submission to help bring this conversation to the surface, so that we can reflect on the language we use, and how powerful it can be. Rethinking, and understanding the gravity of how we communicate with each other. Change happens when dialogue happens. When we confront our prejudice and are honest with ourselves, there is room for growth, and there is room for justice” – Macklemore

The brave thing about this song is that it

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