Ordered to use ‘inclusive’ alternatives like ‘all’, ‘colleagues’, ‘folks’
UK police have been ordered to use “gender-neutral” forms of address rather than calling people “sir” or “ma’am,” according to training materials distributed to officers seen by the Daily Mail on Sunday.
Titled “What is it like to be LGBT+ friendly?”, the materials urge cops to “avoid making assumptions about a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity” and suggest using terms like “You,” “Everyone,” and “All.” In order to reinforce the training, one exercise asks officers to speak about their husband or wife without using gendered terminology.
It’s not clear how many cops are forced to undergo such training, though Hertfordshire Constabulary told the Mail 26 of its officers had been trained with their colleagues from Bedfordshire in December. The force praised the training, insisting that “encouraging small actions by our LGBT+ liaison officers, such as using gender-inclusive language, can go a long way in helping to gain the LGBT+ community’s trust.”
However, Hertfordshire MP and Tory chairman Oliver Dowden suggested officers could better gain the community’s trust by solving crime, “Do not waste time trying to make officers extend basic courtesy towards the people they are serving..”
It’s not just cops who are being conditioned to rout out gender from their speech patterns. The upper chamber of Parliament has been warned off using so-called “Offensive” terms like “man-made,” “The common man,” and “Manpower,” according to an “The Inclusive Language Guide” obtained by the Daily Mail on Sunday.
Given that the House of Lords is a masculine chamber, it seemed like the speech police had no sense of irony. Historian Andrew Roberts lamented that such “ultra-wokery” and “Fadism is absurd” had hypocritically infested the chamber, mockingly demanding to know “Why isn’t it renaming itself the House of Lords, Ladies, and Self-identifying Transsexual Peers?”
The language guide vaguely resembles the training given to police, warning MPs to avoid such common phrases as “Ladies and gentlemen” or “For guys” when addressing a group of people and warning that what was once considered ordinary human speech is increasingly seen as hurtful.
“Your language can impact others. Use offensive words or phrases may make it difficult for people to understand you and cause them distress.,” the guide reads.
And like the police guide, the House of Lords’ inclusive language orders have rankled those who believe the chamber’s resources would be better spent cleaning up its act regarding “Excessive expenses and running a club for failed party hackers and politicians. The contempt for democracy and the public as evidenced by many of their peers throughout the Brexit debates,” University of Exeter history professor Jeremy Black told the Mail.
A spokesperson for the House of Lords defended the inclusivity initiative, explaining that “Parliament strives towards being an inclusive workplace that values all people for what they have to offer. This includes providing advice and guidance to line managers and staff on inclusiveness on an advisory basis.”
And some felt the chamber hadn’t gone far enough. “I’m all for taking the ‘man’ out of everyday language – not just in the House of Lords, but in all workplaces,” feminist campaigner Kathy Lette declared.
Last year, the House of Lords saw at least three of its members banned from their facilities after refusing unconscious bias training. While none of the three were accused of behaving “Inappropriate,” it was declared that their refusal to submit to social reprogramming “Some sanction is required.”