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American Cancer Society advises ‘individuals with a cervix’

The American Cancer Society has been slammed for using the phrase ‘individuals with a cervix’ in its latest pap screening advice, rather than women.

Cervical cancer screening is now recommended to start at 25, instead of 21, and HPV testing should begin at 25 rather than 30. 

But in updating its advice, the ACS used ‘individuals with a cervix’, rather than ‘women’ in their guidance, because transgender, non-binary and gender-nonconforming individuals can also have a cervix. 

The phrasing was ridiculed online, with one Twitter user saying: ‘Individuals with a cervix is a long way to just say women.’

Blogger Matt Walsh told his 410,000 followers: ‘I’m pretty sure there’s a word for these individuals but I can’t be certain.’

Stephen Pollard, editor of the Jewish Chronicle, sarcastically asked how he knew if the guidelines applied to him.

‘How do I find out if I have a cervix? Do I need a scan? Or is there some sort of general concept that identified individuals with a cervix?’ he tweeted.

Some people, however, leapt to the defense of the ACS and CNN.

They argued that it was ‘the correct way to phrase that statement’ to make it inclusive and inoffensive. 

 The controversy echoes one involving JK Rowling last month, when the Harry Potter author mocked the global development website Devex for its report about ‘people who menstruate.’

‘”People who menstruate.” I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?’ Rowling tweeted on June 6.

She is yet to weigh in on the ACS phrasing. 

Disappointed fans and other Twitter users branded the screenwriter’s remarks ‘anti-trans’ and ‘transphobic’.

Rowling stood by her tweet as she later insisted: ‘If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction.

‘If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.’

She seemingly denied claims of transphobia as she insisted she ‘respects every trans person’s right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them.’

J. K. elaborated: ‘The idea that women like me, who’ve been empathetic to trans people for decades, feeling kinship because they’re vulnerable in the same way as women – ie, to male violence – ‘hate’ trans people because they think sex is real and has lived consequences – is a nonsense.

‘I’d march with you if you were discriminated against on the basis of being trans. At the same time, my life has been shaped by being female. I do not believe it’s hateful to say so.

‘I’ve spent much of the last three years reading books, blogs and scientific papers by trans people, medics and gender specialists. I know exactly what the distinction is. Never assume that because someone thinks differently, they have no knowledge.’

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