The debate around gender-neutral language is still raging on.
Now an Australian doctor is claiming that six-year-old children are scared to use the words ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ – in case they offend somebody.
Thomas Lyons is a doctor in Queensland, and he says it happened during a simple eyesight test.
Lyons was testing six young children when he realised what they were afraid of.
During the eye test, he showed the children drawings of animals and people and asked them to say what they see.
Of the six children he tested, Dr Lyons said four of them refused to use the terms ‘boy’ and ‘girl’.
However, all six of them became stressed.
The Courier Mail reported the claims. Dr Lyons says teachers are to blame.
“These children, without the knowledge or permission of the principal and parents, had been taught by teachers that the words ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ had some kind of bad magic and to utter them would somehow harm people,” he said.
“Watching a six-year-old have a panic attack over the use of gender identifying language is disturbing,” he raged.
Dr Lyons then went on to say the who are pushing the use of gender-neutral language are “fascists”.
He also claims we are raising a generation scared “to admit they are heterosexual”.
Lyons explained: “The chart has pictures of teacups and animals but when it got to the picture of the boy and girl, four out of five children said ‘person’,” he said.
“Two of the girls exhibited features of anxiety, hand wringing, frowning … and one said in a frantic voice that she couldn’t use those words.”
The Courier Mail also claimed that parents of transgender children aren’t supportive of gender-neutral parenting. They say it puts too much pressure on the child.
‘Most children are happy in who they are and to raise them in a world without the word ‘boy’ or ‘girl’ and letting them decide for themselves is putting undue pressure on young minds,’ one mother said.
Gender Neutral Language
There have been several recent high-profile incidents where new advice has been given surrounding the language used.
The Australian National University in Canberra issued guidance that suggested instead of the term ‘mother’, to say ‘gestational parent’.
Staff were also recommended to say ‘non-birthing parent’ when referring to a ‘father’ and use ‘chestfeeding’ instead of ‘breastfeeding’.
“This non-gendered language is particularly important in clinical or abstract academic discussions of childbirth and parenthood, both to recognise the identities of students in the class, and to model inclusive behaviour for students entering clinical practice.”
Elsewhere, in the UK, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust had similar suggestions included using “birthing parents” and “human milk” alongside the words “mothers” and “breast milk”.
His claims follow the recent news that Mr Potato Head will be losing the ‘Mr’.
Do you think the doctor is right?
Image via Alamy.