Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Australia: Volunteers told to use gender-neutral words to avoid causing offence

VOLUNTEERS for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games have been told to use gender-neutral language to avoid causing offence.

The Games Shapers handbook, which has been handed to 15,000 volunteers and official staff and contractors instructs workers to avoid phrases like “ladies and gentlemen” and “boys and girls”.

It also includes instructions to use the term parents instead of mother or father and partners, rather than husbands or girlfriends.

However, the guidelines have been labelled “political correctness gone insane”.

“We can avoid words like guys, girls, ladies and gentlemen, and instead use words like students, everyone, folks and all,” the handbook states, according to the Gold Coast Bulletin.

It also reportedly tells volunteers to refrain from calling para-athletes “extraordinary or superhuman”.

“Some community members oppose the use of ‘able-bodied’ because it implies that people with accessibility requirements lack ‘able bodies’ or the ability to use their bodies well,” the guidebook said.

“(Also) it can be embarrassing for them to be referred to as ‘extraordinary’ or ‘superhuman’…. Para-athletes don’t consider themselves more unique or over achieving than any other athlete.”

The handbook also instructs volunteers to not take selfies with athletes in their uniforms.

Queensland opposition leader Deb Frecklington said the rules were “common sense gone mad” and urged Games organisers to rethink their instructions.

“We might be a bit folksy and we might use a bit of different language but, at the end of the day, let’s just be Queenslanders,” Ms Frecklington said yesterday. “As long as people are being respectful, let Queenslanders be Queenslanders.”

One of the games’ volunteers Liz McCleary, from Southport, also fears political correctness will kill the character of the Commonwealth Games. “It (volunteering) was something I was really looking forward to, but not anymore,” she said.

“This whole political correctness has gone too far. For us not to be able to say things like boys and girls, it’s just stupidity. “No one wants to belittle anybody, but who says this is belittling anyone? “I really feel for the next generation because they are going to be so confused.”

Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) chief executive Mark Peters said the handbook guidelines were a response to concerns raised by some of the volunteers about interacting with athletes, officials and guests from different cultures and backgrounds.

He said the guidelines were not compulsory, but a suggestion on how to handle situations. “We’re saying be yourself, that’s why you’ve been selected,” Mr Peters told reporters.

“We’re just trying to give them guidelines without scaring them ... can you get it wrong? Not if you’ve got a smile, a friendly face and you’re genuinely trying to help people.”



Anonymous said...

Why are people with twisted minds entitled to special treatment and special consideration ?

Bird of Paradise said...

This P.C. Poppycock is getting out of hand you cant use certian words becuase some dumb little snowflakes by be offended and cry yeah their stupid little feelings they need to Go Soak their Heads