It all started with a safe-sex guide written for queer, trans, intersex, and asexual people.
Healthline is a San Francisco–based website. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a bit like WebMD — you can go there for authoritative health information sourced from scientific research.
They recently created a safe-sex guide for queer, trans, intersex, and asexual people.
They used inclusive language in it, but people think they are trying to replace the word “vagina” with “front hole.” But, like many other things the internet gets angry about, the context has been lost in the fray.
To be more trans-inclusive, the term “front hole” was used as one possible name for genital anatomy in the guide.
The site did not use the word in other parts of the site except the guide, which was written specifically for queer, trans, intersex, and asexual people.
As the guide says:
For the purposes of this guide, we’ve chosen to include alternative words for readers to use for their genitals. For example, some trans men choose to use the words “front hole” or “internal genital” instead of “vagina.” Alternatively, some trans women may say “strapless” or “girl dick” for penis.
The guide goes on to use both vagina and front hole. The point of this, according to the guide, is to use the terms trans people prefer in a safe-sex guide written for them.
Seems reasonable, right?
Several conservative sites picked up the story and said that Healthline was trying to replace “vagina” with “front hole.”
The Daily Caller's headline read “San Fran Health Org Gets Rid of ‘Vagina’ in Favor of ‘More Inclusive Front Hole.’”
Other sites that wrote about it included the Christian Post, the Rebel, and the Blaze. Some implied that the website was trying to use “front hole” to replace the word “vagina” to avoid offending transgender people.
The outrage then carried over to Twitter, with the original context almost totally gone.
But Healthline is not really asking or telling anyone to call their vaginas by any other name.
Due to the backlash, Healthline released a statement clarifying why they used the term front hole.
“Some people are under the impression that Healthline is now using the term ‘front hole’ instead of vagina. This is simply not true,” they wrote.
“‘Front hole’ is one of the numerous, accepted terms for genitalia we use specifically for certain members of the trans community who identify with it. In no instance in this guide are we saying we want to replace the word vagina.”
They also point out that front hole is an accepted term by “National Institutes of Health, Human Rights Campaign, BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth journal, and Fenway Health in collaboration with Harvard Medical School, the National LGBT Health Education Center, and the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers.”
So yes, your vagina is still a vagina and everything is going to be okay.