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Beyoncé addressing this post-baby body reality is an important moment.

I am not a rabid Beyoncé fan. I like Lemonade and a few more of her songs, but it would be a stretch to call me a “fan”. However, reading her statement in Vogue’s September issue, I felt a kinship with her that I had never felt before because she spoke honestly and openly about birth and the post-birth body. As a Black woman who is prized in part for her looks, I believe this was a radical act on her part. Beyoncé took over the high-fashion magazine and, yes, we were given the beautiful photo shoot that we were expecting to see, having been photographed by Tyler Mitchell, the first ever Black photographer to shoot the cover for the 126 year-old magazine, but we were also gifted with the raw and open discussion of her pregnancy and postnatal period. This wasn’t an exposé or an in-depth report — it feels intimate and candid. In her own words, the artist states, To this day my arms, shoulders, breasts, and thighs are fuller. I have a little mommy pouch, and I’m in no rush to get rid of it. I think it’s real. Whenever I’m ready to get a six-pack, I will go into beast zone and work my ass off until I have it. But right now, my little FUPA and I feel like we are meant to be. [caption id="attachment_49914" align="aligncenter" width="800"]The Radical Act of Beyoncé Claiming Her FUPA - Photo by Tyler Mitchell for Vogue Photo by Tyler Mitchell for Vogue U.S.[/caption] It was Beyoncé saying, “This is what happened to me and this is what I did to come to terms with it.” It is part of a larger statement that she is making about her recent history that shares space with her career and performances. It is not a separate, specialty story, it is just part of her life. She described having a “FUPA.” This is a very normal post-baby body change, but I cannot recall ever hearing any reference to it in a mainstream fashion magazine. And when have we ever heard a celebrity speak about their belly fat unless it was about how they lost it? The post-baby body is one of the most scrutinized bodies. No matter how you looked before, your body is almost always different afterwards. The culture we live in thinks nothing of commenting on and reminding people who have given birth that they need to look like they did not just have a baby, and this starts as soon as you’ve given birth.  From the perspective of all people who have given birth, who have lived with the changes that their bodies go through during and after that process, Beyoncé addressing this post-baby body reality is an important moment. A woman known for her perfection and beauty is standing up and telling us, “My body isn’t perfect by external standards, but it is perfect by the standards that matter most — mine.” That’s a radical act, to acknowledge the process of birth, to accept that once the baby is no longer physically in your body it doesn’t mean that the process is over. That these changes will last and you don’t have to fight your own body to be what it was before you gave birth.
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Abortion doulas work to normalize the termination process from start to finish.

While most people have heard of birth doulas and generally understand their support role during pregnancy, labor, and after, very few have heard of abortion doulas and know even less about what they do to support people terminating pregnancies. Gina Martinez Valentín first heard about abortion doulas from Hip Mama magazine 20 years ago: “There was an article about a young single queer mom who was showing up and helping her friends when they were having an abortion, to offer support. For unrelated reasons the mom ended up dying, and that’s when I knew I was going to do this.” Not only is she a working abortion doula now, Martinez Valentín is also co-founder of the Colorado Doula Project, an anti-racist, anti-oppression, full-spectrum reproductive health support non-profit that offers birth, abortion, and miscarriage doula services as well as postpartum and fertility assistance. Even though abortions have been a part of reproductive health since the dawn of time, it’s only been in recent history that access to this important care has been denied and even criminalized. In spite of abortion being legal by federal law, many states—such as Ohio, Texas, Iowa, Arkansas—have been restricting abortion access at the local level in draconian measures that negatively affect women’s reproductive health and choices.
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Although visibility has come far in the trans and gender non-conforming community, it is important that we keep our youth in mind.

Navigating my gender identity as a transgender woman has been an arduous yet fulfilling journey. I grew up during a time when trans visibility wasn’t gaining the traction that we see today. As a young child, growing up in a Southern Baptist family in North Carolina, I was always seen as the black sheep or “the one who stood out”. I loved to wear my grandmother’s high heels and I would wear towels on my head to mimic long, flowing hair. I was mocked and ridiculed in school when all the boys went through puberty, and I was the kid whose voice remained one octave higher than what was preferred. I was called every kind of homophobic slur you can think of, and often I didn’t feel comfortable expressing myself as I felt too alienated. In 2017, following the backlash behind Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Channel 4 interview, Laverne Cox took to twitter, and had this to say: “I was talking to my twin brother today about whether he believes I had male privilege growing up. I was a very feminine child though I was assigned male at birth. My gender was constantly policed. I was told I acted like a girl and was bullied and shamed for that. My femininity did not make me feel privileged.” Laverne went on to say: “So though I was assigned male at birth I would contend that I did not enjoy male privilege prior to my transition. Patriarchy and cissexism punished my femininity and gender nonconformity.” Many transgender men, women and non binary people alike, can relate to having felt punished growing up for not sticking to the status quo of the gender binary, because we were anything but cisgender, even if we did not have the language to understand it. We all know the challenges that come with childhood, as youth navigate school life, peer pressure and puberty, and growing up to find their place in the world. Adding on the layer of being TGNC (transgender/gender non-conforming), reveals a harsh reality. A survey conducted by GLSEN, reveals 65% of transgender students feel unsafe at school, in addition to facing verbal and physical harassment regarding their gender identity. According to The Williams Institute, an estimated 150,000 youth identify as transgender or gender non-conforming (TGNC), making the highest percentage of individuals in the United States who identify as TGNC. These statistics however, underrepresent the vast majority of youth who are unreported and those who have not come out yet.
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