No, a cancer charity isn’t telling medical professionals to rebrand all vaginas as bonus holes

Screenshot of a Daily Mail article with the headline Now health professionals are urged to call vaignas bonus holes to avoid offending trans or non-binary patients

A cancer charity has clarified that its guidance on using language such as “bonus hole” to refer to a vagina isn’t intended to replace the term.

Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, which aims to “prevent as many cervical cancers as possible”, takes an inclusive approach to looking after its patients, who include women, trans men and non-binary people.

Over the weekend the Daily Mail reported on a glossary on the trust’s website which details language that can be used when supporting trans men and non-binary people. The list, created in partnership with the LGBTQ Foundation, included the terms bonus hole and front hole –  both alternative words for the vagina used by some trans people.

The Daily Mail quoted the LGB Alliance’s Bev Jackson as saying such language “intentionally dehumanises women”. After similar coverage in The Times, The Telegraph and on GB News, gender-critical social media joined in with complaints.

However, Jo’s Cervical Trust has made clear that its guidance was always specific to trans men and non-binary people.

A charity spokesperson told PinkNews: “The page is not promoting the use of these phrases with all women, it is a list of phrases that nurses may hear some patients prefer.”

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The glossary makes clear to medical professionals that they should “check which words someone would prefer to use”.

Despite this, the Daily Mail included commentary from anti-trans campaigners Kelly-Jay Keen, who called it “an erasure of female language”, and from Conservatives for Women founder, Caroline Ffiske, who called the glossary “dehumanising” and accused it of “grooming”. 

A spokesperson for Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust told PinkNews: “The information being shared is from a webpage written for health professionals to support trans men and / or non-binary patients with a cervix to attend cervical screening.” 

They added: “Women are our main audience at Jo’s, however some trans men and / or non-binary people have cervixes and to reduce as many cervical cancers as possible it is important that we also provide information for this group and the health professionals who support them.”  

Jo’s Cervical Trust has previously faced backlash for its inclusion of trans people, and has found itself in the crossfires of gender-critical voices who claim that only women have cervixes, despite the existence of trans men and non-binary people.

The question of who can have a cervix is regularly lobbed at politicians. Labour MP Emily Thornberry recently shot down the question on Twitter, saying: “My cousin is a trans man. I presume he has a cervix. I haven’t asked – it’s none of my business.”

All people with cervixes over the age of 25 should attend screenings, but government figures released in 2022 found that only 58 per cent of eligible trans men and non-binary people had been screened. Just over half (53 per cent) said they felt they had sufficient information about cervical screening.

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