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A volunteer counsellor claims she has been sacked from the Australian Breastfeeding Association for ‘hate speech’ after she repeatedly using the word ‘mother’ instead of the transgender inclusive term ‘parent’.
Jasmine Sussex said she lost her role because she ‘excessively’ used the word mother in social media posts, after the association partnered with Rainbow Families NSW to promote the use of gender neutral language.
The move has divided members of the nation’s peak breastfeeding group, which has previously introduced course material for counsellors encouraging them to advise transgender women, who were born men, that they can induce lactation.
However, despite her claims, the ABA has denied that Ms Sussex was ‘disciplined for the use of the word mother’, suggesting there was another reason for her departure from the group.
During a Radio 2GB segment on Thursday, Ms Sussex said of the saying ‘mother’: ’95 per cent of breastfeeding counsellors use that word.’
‘That is our language. We know only women can breastfeed.’
Jasmine Sussex (pictured) was fired from her volunteer counsellor position with the Australian Breastfeeding Association
‘It is a really small group in the association that are struggling with reality.’
The association has said emerging research suggests biological men can breastfeed, and have introduced a training booklet titled: Breastfeeding, Chestfeeding and Human Milk Feeding.
However, the mother-of-three, who has worked for 15 years advising mums on breastfeeding, argues there are only a ‘couple of cases’ worldwide of men producing nipple secretions and the unknown liquid is ‘not mother’s milk’.
‘ABA says we should support all parents who want to human milk their babies,’ Ms Sussex told Daily Mail Australia.
‘But men shouldn’t breastfeed because breastfeeding if for the baby.
‘Natal males can take feminine hormones to grow breasts. But there is no evidence that any male induced milk is equivalent to mother’s milk.
‘We have no idea if the substance is even milk. It’s absolutely a human experiment on babies.’
The association has provided course material (pictured) to counsellors urging them to advise transgender women they can induce lactation
Ms Sussex said the ABA has brought out training videos urging counsellors to support biological men to breastfeed, with one clip saying transgender women are often eager to do so.
The mother said she supports human rights for all people but believes it is a delicate balance between ensuring transgender women’s gender identity rights are met as well as babies’ rights to safety and welfare.
‘I’m happy to support how people identify, but sex matters when it comes to birthing and breastfeeding,’ she said.
‘A [biological] man doesn’t have a right to breastfeed a baby, [that desire] it’s a psychological demand.
‘Men will never be able to breastfeed babies, and they need to stop trying.’
Ms Sussex said she was told by the ABA when she lost her position that counsellors are bound by code of ethics stating they will not discriminate on the basis of gender identity.
She is currently fighting to remain a part of the association and is waiting to find out if her membership will also be cancelled.
Ms Sussex said she supports human rights for all but her concern lies with the welfare and safety of babies
‘We are at the stage that they are looking at whether I should be expelled as a voting financial member of the association,’ she said.
‘This is really serious. This is about women having freedom of speech, freedom of conscious, freedom of association.
‘All of these things are being taken from us.’
A spokeswoman from the Australian Breastfeeding Association told Daily Mail Australia ‘no breastfeeding counsellor has been disciplined for their use of the word ”mother” or ”mum” within the ABA’.
‘The Board has found certain conduct of certain counsellors that contravened its Code of Ethics and Constitution, leading to their resignation as volunteer counsellor,’ they said.
‘It is possible for a person who has never been pregnant (including those who are past menopause or who have never had ovaries), to produce some milk to varying levels. This is called induced lactation.
‘We do not advise on the use of medications, or other treatments to build a milk supply, these should be discussed with person’s doctor, as there is the chance of adverse side effects.’
The spokesperson said that breastfeeding counsellors are qualified to provide general breastfeeding information only and denied the ABA had erased sexed language in relation to its breastfeeding information and support services.