Male Contraceptive Initiative takes our mission seriously and we are constantly looking for ways to reach our organization goals and contribute to expansive contraception access. After an extensive internal review of our values, organizational activities, and aspirations, as well as the way we communicate our work to outside audiences, MCI arrived at “Reproductive Autonomy for All” as our central vision statement. We believe that this articulation of our vision complements and enhances our mission to “empower men, and couples, to fully contribute to family planning goals by providing them the resources they need for reproductive autonomy”. Through these simple statements we are able to clearly convey that our work is more than just drug or product development, but rather a mission to empower everyone with the freedom to choose for themselves how to manage their own fertility and family planning goals.
But, we acknowledge that this mission of empowerment is ongoing. After all, our very name “Male Contraceptive Initiative” could be viewed as limited and gendered. We have always believed that our work and that of our grantees and partners will improve contraceptive outcomes for cismen, but also can go beyond cismen. We want people across the gender and sexuality spectrum to be able to benefit from the contraceptive methods that we support and advocate for. Many groups, including cismen and gender and sexually diverse populations, have been overlooked in product development and programming efforts due to both limited views of gender and sexuality, and due to the focus on ciswomen as child bearers and therefore contraceptive users.
Excluding groups from contraceptive research and access and maintaining such adherence to limited notions of identity is to everyone’s detriment. As Joel Baum and Kim Westheimer from the non-profit Learning for Justice succinctly state, “Binary notions of gender, biology and sexual orientation exclude large swaths of human diversity. This diversity can be better understood by using spectrum-based models. Spectra make room for anyone whose experiences do not narrowly fit into binary choices such as man/woman, feminine/masculine or straight/gay.”
In response to the need to think about contraception beyond the binary, we are introducing a series of posts that investigate the needs of trans people. We encourage you to reach out to us with any suggestions you may have regarding content you would like to see, resources we should be aware of and share, individuals who could help inform our investigations, or anything additional that you feel is important for us to consider. Look out for more discussions of this in Season 2 of our podcast, in forthcoming publications, and in our advocacy materials.