‘He’ and ‘she’ dropped for ‘they’
VICTORIAN government staff are being asked to avoid using "gendered" language and instead use pronouns such as "they" or "them".
The Department of Health and Human Services is promoting the first Wednesday of every month as "They Day", The Australian reports.
"Non-binary identities are just as valid as binary gender identities," an email sent to the department's 10,000 staff said. "Names don't always correspond to a person's gender. There may be a gap between a person's gender identity and your perception of the person. Saying 'they' is more flowing and inclusive than saying 'he' or 'she'."
They Day is an initiative of the department's Pride Network. The Australian reported other Victorian government departments will consider adopting They Day, while DHHS will possibly label bathroom facilities to meet specific needs of non-binary, gender-fluid, transgender or intersex employees.
In 2016, the Victorian government released its Inclusive Language Guide, which encouraged public servants to "avoid using heteronormate language" such as "husband" and "wife".
The guide also warned staff to "avoid misgendering" and to be "be aware that some gender neutral pronouns exist, such as 'zie' and 'hir'". "By using inclusive language when referring to LGBTI persons, the public sector will reflect these values within both the sector and the community it serves," the guide said.
Last month, a UK doctor was sacked by the government for refusing to refer to transgender people by their preferred gender pronouns, saying transgender ideology went against his Christian faith.
Dr David Mackereth said there was a "climate of fear" among doctors over new protocols related to transgender patients. "There is very little talk between staff these days because none of us knows what the rules are," he told The Daily Mail.
"We are trained to inform on another doctor if they are unfit to practise and no one wants to get reported. There is a belief we cannot say what we think in case we get accused of harassment. Nurses coming across patients with male genitalia on female wards have whispered to me that the situation is wrong."