02.03.2024

ABC health article about endometriosis sparks outrage over use of one word

The ABC has sparked online debate after using gender-inclusive language in an article about a debilitating condition affecting one in nine women. The national broadcaster urged the federal opposition and health advocates to improve access to pelvic pain services in a report on a review by the Australian Coalition of Endometriosis (ACE).

The report found major inequalities in service and support across the nation, with many patients suffering from the debilitating condition forced to travel hours for care.

However, the ABC’s call for improved care received backlash on social media from Aussies because of its use of gender-inclusive language.

The article referred to ‘more than 50,000 people with endometriosis’ and outlined the condition affects ‘around one in nine Australian women and people assigned female at birth’.

The ABC has sparked debate online after using gender-inclusive language an an article calling for greater care and treatment for Aussies suffering from endometriosis

The ABC has sparked debate online after using gender-inclusive language an an article calling for greater care and treatment for Aussies suffering from endometriosis

The article was shared by the national broadcaster to its Twitter account on Monday, with many readers reacting to the use of the word ‘people’.

‘Oh come on (ABC) – it’s not ‘people with endometriosis’ – the word you are missing here is WOMEN,’ one woman wrote.

‘I thought endo was a condition affecting women. Thank you for enlightening me. I had no idea men could get it. Thank god our national broadcaster is here to enlighten us,’ another person wrote.

‘People or women? You’ve clearly chosen to de-sex language around a very sex specific condition. How odd,’ a third chimed.

Australian media personality Sall Grover, who is the founder and CEO of app Giggle wrote: ‘WOMEN. JFC.’

Others defended the gender-inclusive language explaining the condition is not ‘sex specific’ and in rare instances can affect men too — with about 16 cases of men reported in medical literature.

One tweet claimed ABC chose to use gender-inclusive language around a 'sex specific condition'

One tweet claimed ABC chose to use gender-inclusive language around a ‘sex specific condition’

Another woman wrote the word 'women' was missing

Another woman wrote the word ‘women’ was missing

Another sarcastically thanked the ABC for enlightening them on who the condition affects

Another sarcastically thanked the ABC for enlightening them on who the condition affects

Australian media personality Sall Grover, who is the founder and CEO of Giggle - an app designed to exclude transgender women - simple wrote: 'WOMEN. JFC'.

Australian media personality Sall Grover, who is the founder and CEO of Giggle — an app designed to exclude transgender women — simple wrote: ‘WOMEN. JFC’.

Social media personality Leonardo Puglisi wrote those outraged by the term ‘people’ can easily google who the condition affects.

‘Believe it or not (to the people in the replies) men can get endometriosis too — very rare but this is something you can easily google… also does the term ‘people’ not include ‘women’ now lol,’ he wrote.

‘Thank you for using inclusive language; endo is primarily known as a cis women issue, but they are not the only ones who can be affected and hopefully this will help raise awareness so that others can get it checked out if need be,’ another wrote.

A third person added: ‘All these commenters triggered by the word ‘people’ couldn’t give a stuff about people with endo (a condition also suffered by children, trans men, intersex people and occasionally men).

‘I’m a woman with endo and we need more services. Stop derailing our much needed conversation.’

Others claimed debating the word ‘people’ was taking away from the discussion about additional care for those suffering from endometriosis.

Crikey News editor Gina Rushton wrote people were ‘having a sook’ and should rather concentrate on the message of the article.

‘As someone who spent last night curled up in debilitating pain it is so cool to see people having a sook about inclusive language rather than the contents of this story,’  Rushton wrote.

Australian author, cartoonist, and fellow endometriosis patient, Kaz Cook slammed the critics claiming they should ‘GFY’ (go f*** yourself).

‘If your response to this was ‘it should read women, not people’ instead of ‘Oh, I hope this will help people avoid more pain’ then as a woman who lived with endo for 20+ years I invite you to GFY,’ she wrote.

Social media personality Leonardo Puglisi wrote those outraged by the term 'people' can easily google who the condition affects

Social media personality Leonardo Puglisi wrote those outraged by the term ‘people’ can easily google who the condition affects

Crikey News editor Gina Rushton defended the gender-inclusive language, claiming arguing about the word 'people' was detracting from the issue

Crikey News editor Gina Rushton defended the gender-inclusive language, claiming arguing about the word ‘people’ was detracting from the issue

Another person added arguing about who the condition affects was 'derailing' the needed conversation

Another person added arguing about who the condition affects was ‘derailing’ the needed conversation

Australian author, cartoonist, and fellow endometriosis patient, Kaz Cook slammed the critics claiming they should 'GFY' (go f*** yourself)

Australian author, cartoonist, and fellow endometriosis patient, Kaz Cook slammed the critics claiming they should ‘GFY’ (go f*** yourself)

Endometriosis is a disease in which cells similar to the lining of the uterus grow outside the uterus — often on ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder or intestines.

The condition causes excruciating and debilitating pain in the pelvis especially around menstruation and during sex. It also makes it more difficult to fall pregnant.

In cases affecting men, endometriosis was commonly found on a patients’ bladder, lower abdominal wall and inguinal region.

Cases linked to men are thought to be the consequence of prolonged hormone therapy, with two cases recorded in men who received prostate cancer treatment.

The condition, if left untreated, can lead to serious health complications, scarring and infertility.

Daily Mail Australia approached the ABC but the national broadcaster declined to comment.

Endometriosis is a disease in which cells similar to the lining of the uterus grow outside the uterus - often on ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder or intestines. The condition causes  debilitating pain in the pelvis especially around menstruation and during sex

Endometriosis is a disease in which cells similar to the lining of the uterus grow outside the uterus — often on ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder or intestines. The condition causes  debilitating pain in the pelvis especially around menstruation and during sex

The ACE review found there were major gaps in education and treatment for patients who suffer from endometriosis across Australia.

Chair of ACE Jessica Taylor said the review’s findings proved a ‘national approach’ is needed as there a discrepancies in care within and across states and territories.

‘We heard an enormous and overwhelming response from people who are living with endometriosis, like those in WA who just cannot access care in a way or in a place that is close to them,’ Ms Taylor told the ABC.

‘This is why we need a national approach, there are national programs that are run out of states and territories but we need to extend them even more.’

The Albanese government rolled out a trial of 20 endometriosis and pelvic pain treatment clinics in March this year.

Labor and the Coalition increased the number of clinics from 16 — promised during the 2022-23 budget as part of a $58.3million endometriosis and pelvic pain package.

The federal opposition is calling for the trial to be expanded with more clinics after the ACE’s findings.

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