No more “guys, moms, dads”: Qantas bans ‘gender-inappropriate’ language

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Australian airline Qantas has instructed staff to no longer use phrases like “guys,” “mum and dad,” “husband” and “wife.” The new rules also advise male crew members not to “manterrupt.”

The airline issued the instructions to its 30,000 employees via an information pack sent to staff as part of its ‘Spirit of Inclusion Month.’ The pack advised staff to refrain from using potentially offensive terms like “husband” and “wife” because they “can reinforce the idea that people are always in heterosexual relationships.”

“[A]lways referring to ‘mum and dad’ can make many families feel excluded — both same-sex couples and single-parent families… Words like ‘love,’ ‘honey’ or ‘darling,’ even when used as terms of endearment, often offend. In the workplace, it is best to avoid these sorts of words.”

Male employees were also told not to “manterrupt” women and speak over them, nor refer to colleagues as “abrasive” or “bubbly” as the terms are generally only used to describe women. When speaking of men, staff were encouraged to favor “humanity” instead of “mankind”, and when addressing a group they were advised to forgo “guys” for terms like “team,” “folks,” “people” or “you all.”

The instructions even included historical terms like “settlement,” when speaking of the 1700 arrival of the British down under, staffers were asked to use “invasion” or “occupation” to accurately describe the colonization of Aboriginal people.

The instructions, developed by the Diversity Council of Australia, were “intended to start an internal discussion about how language choice can impact how inclusive (or not) a workplace is,” according to an airline spokeswoman. Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot called the pack “political correctness that’s gone way over the top.”