My birthing story: I was one of the first non-binary births at Truman Medical

By: Max Sheffield-Baird

I never expected to become pregnant. I had made my peace with it years ago. I was assured by an OBGYN over five years ago that I could not ovulate without medical assistance. As I came to terms with my gender identity as a non-binary trans person, I saw my lack of menstruation as my body doing me a favor and saving me the dysphoria of a monthly reminder of my body not quite fitting the person I knew myself to be.

I’m a nurse. I’ve actually attended two births. Each time I cried. It was a sacred experience to witness. Whether you’re religious or not, I was able to see the argument for a Deity when I’d see a baby take their first breath and their parents get to hold them for the first time. For my own birth experience, I had nervous anticipation. No one comes into Birth prepared. Not really. I had a birth plan but I also knew that nothing goes 100 percent as planned. It was an exercise in letting go and surrendering to the process. I’ve never been very good at that.

I did expect to educate the labor nurses and obstetricians around me on my gender identity and how best to support and affirm me as I went through one of the most vulnerable times of my life. I created a sign and hung it over my hospital bed at Truman Medical: “My name is Max, I’m non-binary, I use they/them pronouns.” The nurses asked questions and were respectful. They asked me if “mom” was still appropriate to use.

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Justice Gatson is a grassroots organizer fighting for a better Kansas City

Bad Ass Babes: Justice Gatson

Words & Photos By Kelcie McKenney

As a grassroots movement organizer, fighter for the end of police brutality, manager of bailout funds, legislative advocate at the ACLU, and a doula helping Black mothers bring babies into the world, Justice Gatson has been fighting for a better Kansas City for a long time. 

Gatson, the founder of the Reale Justice Network and a representative of the ACLU, is the organizer behind this weekend’s Women’s March where Kansas City will “unify to protect ALL Black Lives and ALL Womxn.”

Gatson grew up on the East side of Kansas City—in the same house her mother lives in today, just a few blocks from where she lives now. She was first introduced to social justice organizing at her middle school, Genesis Promise Academy, a nationally recognized alternative school for inner-city youth in Kansas City. 

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