Sydney’s Daily Telegraph newspaper has come under fire for a front page story which falsely claimed that soldiers can’t use words like “him” or “her” or even “they”.
According to the article written by Jack Houghton, which screamed with a red banner titled “battle of the sexes” – the “command intent” of the 2017 LGBTI Guide for staff at the Australian Defence Force Academy is to help personnel make “ethically based military decisions” guided by an “appreciation” of diversity.
The guide says soldiers should use gender neutral language when referring to relationships or gender identity issues to avoid accusations of bullying.
“To meet the challenge of leadership and military professionalism the learning environment and culture at ADFA must be inclusive and diverse,” the guide says.
The Telegraph article sighted defence sources who claimed it was “the latest bizarre politically correct move,” and was criticised by the paper’s editorial.
But the ADF issued a statement this morning describing the report as “wrong”.
“ADFA Cadets are not being told that they should not use terms like him or her. As was explained to the journalist prior to publishing, the Department has not, and is not intending, to issue a directive on the use of gender neutral language,” the statement read.
“Members of the Australian Defence Force are required to work with each other, and address each other, in a respectful manner.”
The story has been criticised on social media, with journalist Mike Carlton describing it as “Murdochracy bullshit”.
Miles Heffernan, Director of Litigation at Discrimination Claims, said ‘political correctness gone mad’ stories are perfect fodder for tabloid media.
“Shock jocks and tabloid newspapers love a good culture war, and nothing says ‘political correctness gone mad’ more than a story about gender neutral terms being imposed on the macho world of the military,” he said.
“It’s rubbish, and a complete misrepresentation of the facts – I mean what is wrong with educating defence force personnel about diversity, and about having respect and a better understanding of colleagues who might be different to them.
“All the faux outrage gets a little tiresome, but it drives circulation and ratings – unfortunately.”
If you believe you have suffered discrimination based on your gender or sexuality, you may be entitled to compensation. Please call Discrimination Claims today on 1300 853 837.
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