Culture

Alberta Government to Schools: Don’t Use the Words ‘Mother’ and ‘Father’

They're obviously transphobic.

Alberta’s government has released a new set of guidelines for how to have an “inclusive” environment in its schools — including instructions to avoid using the words “mother” and “father” because, you know, how heteronormative and transphobic are those?

The guidelines — titled “Guidelines for Best Practices: Creating Learning Environments that Respect Diverse Sexual Orientations, Gender Identities, and Gender Expressions,” which is very catchy — were released by the New Democratic Party government on Wednesday.

Underneath a section titled “Indicators of this best practice in action,” it states:

School forms, websites, letters, and other communications use non-gendered and inclusive language (e.g., parents/guardians, caregivers, families, partners, “student” or “their” instead of Mr., Ms., Mrs., mother, father, him, her, etc.).

Or, as Ashe Schow explains it in a piece for Independent Women’s Forum: “It used to be ‘Heather has two mommies. Now, it’s ‘Heather has two non-gendered and inclusive caregivers.”

Of course, the “Don’t say mommies!” instruction is just one of many. Others include letting kids of all ages pick their genders and pronouns — always remembering that “self-identification is the sole measure of an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression” — and asking “gender-diverse” students “an appropriate way to reference the student’s genderidentity (sic), gender expression, name and related pronouns” “before contacting the parents.”

#share#The entire document is 18 pages long, and so bogged with words and phrases such as “actual or perceived diverse sexual orientations,” and “students and staff who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans , two-spirit, queer, questioning, and/or gender-diverse” that it’s almost impossible to read it without thinking you might be going insane.

The word “trans” in that second example, by the way, has a footnote next to it leading the reader to the following disclaimer:

Some individuals identify with terms such as transgender, transsexual, gender fluid, gender diverse, and agender. We have chosen to use the word trans in these guidelines as an inclusive, continually evolving, umbrella term commonly used to describe individuals whose gender identity and gender expression differ in some way from the sex they were assigned at birth. While we recognize this umbrella term may not fit for everyone, our intention is to be as inclusive as possible.

You know — because the way it was was just not “inclusive” enough to not be potentially perceived as transphobic and was definitely necessary. Yep… all of this is an excellent use of time. 

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