WA Health Dept urge 'transmasculine persons with cervix' to get smears

Forgetting something? Washington Department of Health urges ‘transmasculine persons with a cervix’ to seek out smears during cervical cancer awareness month – but DOESN’T ask women to do the same

  • Washington State Dept of Health is facing backlash over a public service message about female sexual health yet the word ‘woman’ is not used once
  • The tweet, which was posted on January 9, urged vaccination against HPV, which can cause cervical cancer – although the word ‘woman’ was not used
  •  In a follow-up tweet, the Dept posted a photograph urging ‘transmasculine persons with a cervix’ to talk to their doctors about getting a smear test 
  • The tweets led to criticism on social media with users expressing offense and concerns about use of the word ‘transmasculine’ and lack of female pronouns

The Washington State Department of Health is coming under fire from members of the public outraged and astounded that in a public service message about ‘cervical cancer awareness month’ the department urges ‘transmasculine persons with a cervix’ to talk to their doctors about getting a smear test.

The tweet from January 13, features a photograph of at least one ‘transmasculine’ person looking at their phone.

‘Transmasculine persons with a cervix should talk to their doctor about #CervicalCancer screening and the #HPVvax,’ it states.

A transmasculine person is an individual who was born female at birth but identifies as masculine or as having a masculinity that is different from the gender they were assigned at birth. 

Yet the tweet manages to avoid the use of any female pronouns despite only those born as such have cervixes.  

A follow-up tweet from January 13, features a photograph of at least one ‘transmasculine’ person looking at their phone.

A tweet features a message which urges vaccination against HPV which can cause cervical cancer, although in the January 9 message, the word woman is not used at any point

Dr. Umair Shah, is the Secretary of Health in Washington State

Days earlier, in another public service announcement encouraging people to be vaccinated against the HPV, despite being about female sexual health, no words relating to women are used at all. 

‘Almost all #CervicalCancer is caused by HPV. That’s why it’s so important to get vaccinated against HPV. Talk to your doctor to see if the #HPVvax is right for you,’ reads the January 9 message.

The Department is headed by Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, who was appointed Secretary of Health for Washington State. 

The avoidance of using the word ‘woman’ or even any kind of female pronouns has led to people seething on Twitter. 

‘This is mental illness,’ declared Twitter user Jeremy Knauff.

‘This is a joke,’ added Cory Proctor. 

‘Disturbing. Disgusting. Sickening,’ wrote John McGlone.  

The avoidance of using the word ‘woman’ or even any kind of female pronouns has led to people seething on Twitter.

Other Twitter users were far more straight forward about what they had read.

‘If you have a cervix you are a female of either the girl/woman variety. There is no other option except in your imagination. Depts of Health should know better than to pander to imaginary whims,’ wrote one user.

But the offense appeared to run deep: ‘Why are you misogynists trying to cancel women?’ asked another poster.

‘Just when I thought my faith in the medical community couldn’t get any lower, WADoH proves me wrong!’ wrote Chickie Plissken. 

The use of the word ‘transmasculine’ appeared to irk the majority of users.

People who identify as ‘transmasculine’ are individuals who identify as having a masculine gender identity, but who were assigned a female sex at birth. 

It may involve taking steps to transition to a more masculine appearance such as hormone therapy, surgery or identifying as male. 

Twitter users continued to pile on the Health Department following their message.  

‘Women. Only woman have a cervix…’ stated TakemetoTexas, getting straight to the point. 

Twitter users continued to pile on the Health Department following their message that avoided all use of female pronouns

‘What in the upside down world is this? You have to be kidding. What has happened to our institutions? I can say with almost 100% certainty that a white woman is behind this,’ asked UnderCvrTherapist. 

‘Please say “women”. A lot of people don’t know what “transmasculine” means and all women should get regular screenings,’ pleaded Hollaria Briden.

‘That’s called a FEMALE. WOMAN. Those other made up words are actually referring to mental illness, but you know this. No one should EVER trust the “experts” or “science”… ever. again. What a bunch of sinister frauds y’all are,’ stated another Twitter user.  

‘The thing about this is that anyone who has grown up in a female body, regardless of how they feel about it or whether they have transitioned will be fully aware of this, so these posts are just a mixture of infantilising and virtue signaling,’ declared one outraged follower. 

Last month Dictionary.com revealed that its 2022 Word of the Year was ‘woman’ which is defined as ‘an adult female person. Searches for the word increased to its highest point

Last month, Dictionary.com revealed that ‘woman’ was the 2022 Word of the Year after searches for the word increased more than 1,400 percent. 

Searches for the word increased when a question about the definition of the word was posed on the national stage during a Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.

The leading online and mobile English-language educational resource, defines ‘woman’ as ‘an adult female person.’ 

Earlier this year, Merriam-Webster included a new supplementary definition of ‘female’ which stated ‘having a gender identity that is the opposite of male’

But the very word came under the spotlight as the Cambridge  Dictionary updated its definition to include anyone who ‘identifies as female’.

A supplementary definition in the online dictionary now states the word can mean ‘an adult who lives and identifies as female though they may have been said to have a different sex at birth’.

Examples of usage include ‘Mary is a woman who was assigned male at birth’ and ‘she was the first trans woman elected to a national office’.

The entry for ‘male’ has also been updated to include individuals who had a ‘different sex at birth’.

Free Speech Union founder Toby Young warned the dictionary compilers had gone down a ‘slippery slope’.

‘It’s disappointing to see identity politics creeping into the way a dictionary defines words,’ he said.

The heated debate over the definition of ‘woman’ went into overdrive when JK Rowling mocked the use of the term ‘people who menstruate’.

She was ‘cancelled’ in some quarters, with many of the actors from the Harry Potter series of films also speaking out against her.

T-shirts emblazoned with dictionary-style text stating ‘woman / noun / adult human female’ have added to the controversy, with critics saying the slogan discriminates against transgender people.

One woman was barred from a pub after a complaint that the top was offensive.


A smear test detects abnormal cells on the cervix, which is the entrance to the uterus from the vagina.

Removing these cells can prevent cervical cancer.

Most test results come back clear, however, one in 20 women show abnormal changes to the cells of their cervix.

In some cases, these need to be removed or can become cancerous.

Cervical cancer most commonly affects sexually-active women aged between 30 and 45. 

In the UK, the NHS Cervical Screening Programme invites women aged 25-to-49 for a smear every three years, those aged 50 to 64 every five years, and women over 65 if they have not been screened since 50 or have previously had abnormal results.

Women must be registered with a GP to be invited for a test. 

In the US, tests start when women turn 21 and are carried out every three years until they reach 65.

Changes in cervical cells are often caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), which can be transmitted during sex.  

Girl, 17, weeps as she recalls seeing naked trans woman with penis in women’s changing room at California YMCA – and says woke staff scolded her for complaining

by Harriet Alexander

A Californian teenager sobbed before the city council as she told of her trauma at seeing ‘a naked man’ she says was a transgender woman inside the women’s changing rooms at her local YMCA.

Rebecca Philips, 17, addressed the meeting in Santee, a city suburb of San Diego, on Wednesday night to demand reform to the existing policy after encountering the unidentified individual. 

She told the council how, two weeks ago, she was getting changed after swimming at the Santee YMCA when she saw a transgender woman naked in the changing rooms.

‘As I was showering after my workout I saw a naked male in the women’s locker room,’ she said.

‘I immediately went back into the shower, terrified, and hid behind their flimsy excuse for a curtain until he was gone.’

Philips, who went on to discuss the area’s transgender policies, said she was haunted by the thought of her five-year-old sister, who she brings to the gym in the summer, encountering the same situation.

Her voice quivering, she said: ‘This is the YMCA, where hundreds of children spend their summer afternoons in child care camps.

‘This is the YMCA where my little sister took gymnastics lessons.

‘The locker room was supposed to be her safe haven to gossip with her friends, and shower and change.’  

Rebecca Philips, 17, addressed the Santee City Council on Wednesday night

 She urged them to change their policy on transgender women using whichever facilities they chose, saying it was indecent and ‘obscene’


Philips came across the transgender woman in the changing room of the YMCA in Santee, California – a city suburb of San Diego

Philips says staff told her the trans woman was perfectly entitled to be in the changing rooms, and that only those on the sex offender’s registry were banned from entering.

Women’s facilities – changing rooms, shelters, prisons – can be used by anyone in California thanks to a state law saying people must be allowed to use facilities which align with their gender identity.

And in May 2022 three Democrat supervisors for San Diego County decided to redefine the word ‘woman’ to include trans people. 

Nathan Fletcher, Terra Lawson-Remer and Nora Vargas all approved the measure. The two Republicans serving as supervisors voted against the bill.

Philips told the council she was horrified by the experience.

San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher was one of three to vote to approve the May 2022 bill which said anyone who defines themselves as female can use the facilities of their choice

Terra Lawson-Remer (left) and Nora Vargas (right), both San Diego County supervisors, also voted to approve the bill

Philips said that the YMCA management, asked about their transgender policy, told her ‘the man I saw was indeed allowed to shower wherever he pleased’.

She added: ‘A grown male can shower alongside a teenage girl at your YMCA, here in Santee.’

Philips said she was dismayed at the response from the YMCA staff.

‘I was made to feel as if I had done something wrong,’ she said.

‘The indecent exposure of a male to a female minor was an inconvenience to them.’

Philips said her father, who complained, was contacted by Teri Maas, the Association Director of Membership Experience at YMCA of San Diego County.

Teri Maas, the Association Director of Membership Experience at YMCA of San Diego County, rang Philips’ father to reassure him his daughter was never at risk

‘She informed my dad that I was not in any danger,’ Philips said. ‘That I was safe.’

But, she added: ‘Could you knowingly send an underage girl into a room with a naked male and say she was safe? Or it was right?’

The YMCA said in a statement: ‘We are aware of a situation involving two members in the locker room of the Santee YMCA earlier this month. The comfort and safety of all our members is our highest priority.

‘As a community focused organization, we strive to meet the needs of all individuals. We recognize that birth and gender identity are sensitive subjects. We rely on subject matter experts, laws, and guidelines established by the State of California to ensure our policies are welcoming and respectful for all community members.’

They said they were now reviewing their procedures, in light of Philips’ complaint.

‘As part of this commitment to ensure all individuals feel comfortable, we are reviewing lock room floorplans across all facilities within our association,’ they said.

‘Our goal is to ensure that everyone has access to additional privacy if desired and needed.’

Trans women using female changing facilities – and entering some single-sex sports – has proven a political flashpoint in recent years.

Critics say trans women who still have male private parts should not be allowed into spaces where women may be undressed or vulnerable.

Supporters say only a tiny minority of trans women are sex offenders, and that banning all trans women from accessing female spaces persecutes the blameless majority.  

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