A new language guide advises members of the Australian Defence Force to avoid using gender specific words, such as “him” or “her”, as it could be classed as bullying.
The LGBTI guide – which stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex – was written by the Australian Defence Force Academy and distributed among troops in training last year, reports The Daily Telegraph.
“Use gender neutral language when referring to relationships or gender identities,” the document reads. “Use the correct pronouns and preferred name of sex or gender diverse members wherever possible.”
It goes on to advise soldiers to be “mindful and respectful” and recommends issuing an apology in the event that they make a mistake.
The guide also includes a handy glossary, detailing the definitions of politically correct terms such as misgendering, transition, non-binary and intersex, and warns that personnel will be reported if they deliberately use offensive speech.
“In the event you make a mistake, the best course of action is to apologise, listen to anything the member wishes to say in response and then move on with the conversation,” the guide reads.
“All ADFA personnel need to appreciate that the deliberate use of non-inclusive language, exclusion and bullying due to gender diversity are some of the behaviours which can affect LGBTI members.”
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Defence Minister Marise Payne denied plans to issue a directive in the future: “The Department has not, and is not intending to, issue a Defence directive on gender-neutral language. Claims to the contrary are wrong.”
Commandant Cheryl Pearce wrote in the guide: “To meet the challenge of leadership and military professionalism the learning environment and culture at ADFA must be inclusive and diverse. It is my intent to ensure that all ADFA staff are provided with the knowledge and skills required to manage, train and support an increasingly diverse workforce.
“This guide will provide a valuable resource with general information that serves to enable ADFA staff so they are better informed when making decisions regarding the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or intersex (LGBTI) community.”