Canadian Cancer Society Issues Apologetic Note For Failing to Refer to Female Anatomy As A “Front Hole”

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The Canadian Cancer Society has affixed an apologetic note to a page on cervical cancer addressed to trans-identified females, assuring them that men can have cervixes as well. In a section titled “Words Matter,” the non-profit organization acknowledged the “mixed feelings” trans-identified females and non-binary individuals may have when hearing anatomically accurate terms.

“We recognize that many trans men and non-binary people may have mixed feelings about or feel distanced from words like ‘cervix.’ You may prefer other words, such as ‘front hole,’’ reads a webpage dedicated to answering questions about cervical cancer screenings for “trans men [and] non-binary people assigned female at birth.”

“We recognize the limitations of the words we’ve used while also acknowledging the need for simplicity,” concludes the apology, adding that the organization sometimes uses the term cervix to “normalize the reality that men can have these body parts too.”

In addition to highlighting the importance of cervical cancer screening regardless of a person’s gender identity, the Cancer Society’s website also acknowledges the “barriers transgender, non-binary, and gender-diverse people face” when accessing healthcare as compared to the general public.

“Trans, non-binary and gender-diverse people face significant barriers to accessing healthcare and are less likely than cisgender people to be screened for cancer.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, cervical cancer occurs in the cells of the cervix. It is often transmitted sexually through strains of the human papillomavirus and is detected through regular screenings called Pap smears, where a doctor uses a small brush to collect cells from the surface of the cervix to be tested for cancer.

Continuing, the Canadian Cancer Society’s site notes some of the challenges members of the LGBT community encounter that may prevent them from participating in cancer screenings, including “transphobia, discrimination, a lack of trans-specific knowledge and available resources,” and “concerns about emotional and physical safety,” before emphasizing the importance of getting tested.

“If you have a cervix and have ever had sexual contact with anyone, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, you should start having regular Pap tests by the time you’re 25. You’ll need a Pap test every three years or as recommended by your healthcare provider, whether or not you’re taking testosterone.”

The cancer society’s disclaimer made its rounds on social media, sparking backlash from many who believe its position is offensive to women.

“Canadian Cancer Society apologizes for not calling cervix, a “front hole”,  in THEIR non-binary disclaimer. Everybody drop everything and go read George Orwell’s 1984 now,” wrote one Canadian political commentator by the handle @Martyupnorth_2.

Others, such as True North journalist Cosmin Dzsurdzsa called the apology “an insult to women who suffer from this terrible disease.”

This is not the first time Canada’s largest cancer charity has raised eyebrows for catering its recommendations to transgender individuals. As previously reported by Reduxx, the society faced backlash last year for suggesting that men who identify as women should get routine pap smears to screen for cervical cancer. 

On a section of its site titled “As a trans woman, do I need to get screened for cervical cancer?” The cancer charity lists advice for males who identify as transgender and are curious about receiving a cervical cancer screening.

“If you’re a trans woman, you may not have given much thought to Pap tests and cervical cancer. And if you haven’t, that makes a fair amount of sense. After all, in order to get cervical cancer, you need to have a cervix — that is, the organ that connects the vagina to the uterus,” reads the site, adding that “trans women” who have undergone “bottom surgery to create a vagina and possibly a cervix” should talk to a medical professional to “figure out specific cancer-screening needs.”

A member of the Reduxx team contacted the Canadian Cancer Society posing as a trans-identified male seeking cervical cancer screening information and spent over 30 minutes on the phone with the operator who provided recommendations for where to receive gender-affirming care in Canada.

According to True North, gender-neutral language has become widely popularized in other medical establishments in North America. In 2022, the Boston Children’s Hospital used the term “front hole” to describe female anatomy.

“A transgender male teen may still have a vagina. He won’t call it a vagina. He may use the term ‘front hole’ or a different term,” explained transgender sex educator Dr. Elizabeth Boskey in a video for the hospital.

In another video by the hospital, Boskey describes the eligibility requirements for trans children wishing to transition to another gender surgically.

“For top surgery, you are requested but not required to have been on gender-affirming hormones for at least a year. If you are a trans woman, it’s really encouraged that you’ve been on estrogen for at least a year because you really want to maximize your natural breast growth.”

Concluding, Boskey explains that, unlike most hospitals, which require youth to be 18 before surgically transitioning, The Boston Children’s Hospital allows patients as young as 15 years old to get so-called ‘top surgery,’ or a double mastectomy to remove healthy breast tissue.

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The post Canadian Cancer Society Issues Apologetic Note For Failing to Refer to Female Anatomy As A “Front Hole” appeared first on Reduxx.


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