Government Officials Told to Ditch Gendered Pronouns ‘He’ and ‘She’

A gender neutral sign is posted outside a bathroom on May 11, 2016 in Durham, North Carolina
Sarah D. Davis / Getty

Civil servants have been told not to use gendered pronouns like “he” and “she” in the latest government directives, so as to avoid causing offence to people who identify as transgender, it has been revealed.

The rules were published as part of a guide by the Cabinet Office-produced Service Manual, which instructs government departments on website design, on “how to ask users about gender or sex”.

Civil servants should only ask about sex and gender if absolutely necessary, and the term ‘sex’ should be reserved for services that require “biological data”, according to the document.

In all other situations the term ‘gender’ should be used, the page states, and instructs website designers to give users the option to select their gender from a list of “male”, “female”, and “unspecified”.

“You should address the user as ‘you’ where possible and avoid using gendered pronouns like ‘he’ and ‘she’,” reads the document, which also warns government officials not to assume someone that someone with the title ‘Mr.’ is male.

“You shouldn’t guess someone’s gender based on a title,” states the page, noting that a number of honorifics, such as Rev and Dr, are not gendered, and that titles like Mr. and Mrs. “can be changed by deed poll to one that’s different from a person’s gender or sex”.

Conservative MP Philip Davies blasted the rules as “politically correct claptrap”, commenting: “If the government has nothing better to worry about than this then that is a pretty sad state of affairs.”

He told MailOnline: “There’s a huge majority of the public who are actually rather offended by this political correctness.

“If they concerned themselves more with people concerned with this nonsense they might actually get somewhere.”

On Sunday, it was reported that NHS doctors and nurses will be forced t0 ask every patient over the age of 16 information about their sexuality, in a move branded by former children and families manager Tim Loughton as “political correctness and compliance with the Equality Act gone bonkers”.

Under the new guidelines, patients will be asked about whether they belong to a range of sexual identities including gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual, and ‘queer’.

An NHS England spokesman said: “All health bodies and local authorities with responsibility for adult social care are required under the Equality Act to ensure that no patient is discriminated against.”


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