Pink News, a United Kingdom-based publication marketed to gay and lesbian readers, was met with derision after claiming it was a “disgustingly transphobic lie” to say that “only females get cervical cancer.”
Writer Vic Parsons argued Monday in a piece titled “UK’s biggest cervical cancer charity shuts down disgustingly transphobic lie that ‘only females get cervical cancer,’” that “anyone with a cervix can get cervical cancer. … That includes trans men, trans masculine people, intersex people and non-binary people, as well as some trans women who have had gender confirmation surgery.”
The article was a response to the hashtag #OnlyFemalesGetCervicalCancer, which spread across Twitter on Saturday. The U.K.’s leading cervical cancer charity, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, responded that it was “aware a hashtag is trending that raises the issue of gender identity and cervical health. The organization added that it wanted to “ensure everyone with a cervix has access to the information and support they need to attend #CervicalScreening, regardless of their gender identity.”
We’re aware a hashtag is trending that raises the issue of gender identity and cervical health. At Jo’s we want to ensure everyone with a cervix has access to the information and support they need to attend #CervicalScreening, regardless of their gender identity. (1/2)
— Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust (@JoTrust)
July 12, 2020
The story sparked by the tweet was mocked by some on Twitter.
Conservative writer Allie Beth Stuckey said, “We are living in an alternate universe ruled by immoral idiots.”
Conservative commentator and podcast host Matt Walsh suggested the debate around transgender issues was “easily the most anti-science phenomenon the modern world has ever seen.”
It is common to criticize science deniers by comparing them to flat Earthers. But this is exponentially worse than being a flat Earther. This is easily the most anti-science phenomenon the modern world has ever seen. It’s breathtaking to behold. https://t.co/CJCyj51Md5
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog)
July 14, 2020
Australian columnist Rita Panahi said the statement brought up questions about free speech, tweeting “’Only females get cervical cancer’ is now considered a disgusting lie that must be denounced. But please explain again why Trump & the popular right are the biggest threat to free speech.”
The story comes as a broader conversation on inclusive language has taken hold both in the United States and abroad.
In a publication titled “Safer Sex for Trans Bodies,” the Human Rights Campaign recommended replacing the word “vagina” with “front hole.” In 2019, the American Civil Liberties Union tweeted: “Men who get their periods are men. Men who get pregnant and give birth are men.”
In the U.K., the debate over transgender issues is raging after the government scrapped plans to allow transgender people to change their birth certificates without a diagnosis from a doctor. The government also plans to protect “female-only spaces,” including women’s shelters and public bathrooms, preventing people with male anatomy from using them.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes cervical cancer as a condition for which “all women are at risk for,” adding that it occurs most often in “women over age 30.”