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Schools Urged to Avoid Using ‘Mum’ and ‘Dad’ to Improve Inclusivity for LGBTQ+ School Children

The organisation has warned about the dangers of using gendered language in the classroom to describe individuals, such as mum, dad, husband, and wife.


Schools in Melbourne are being urged to avoid using ‘discriminatory’ gendered language such as ‘mum’ and ‘dad’ in an effort to be more inclusive for LGBTQ+ students.

The push comes as North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network launched its #SpeakingUpSpeaksVolumes campaign, which recommends unisex bathrooms, non-gendered sporting teams, and the flying of the rainbow flag on school grounds.

The organisation has also warned about the dangers of using gendered language in the classroom to describe individuals, such as mum, dad, husband, and wife.

The campaign’s website warns that discrimination comes in many forms, and offers several examples of discrimination commonly faced by LGBTQ+ people. These examples include “dead-naming,” using incorrect pronouns, and preventing biological males who identify as female from accessing women’s only toilets and change rooms.

The organisation urges the use of inclusive language, describing it as a “powerful tool” to show support for LGBTQ+ people. The website suggests words like “mum” and “dad” should be replaced with gender-neutral options, such as “parent” or “guardian.” Further, “husband” and “wife” should also be removed in exchange for words like “partner.”

The campaign has drawn on material from Proud2Play and the Victorian Government to include specific strategies for schools and sporting groups.

The North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network said in a statement on Monday that the campaign wasn’t about mandating language, but rather focuses on “very serious impacts that bullying and discrimination has on LGBTIQ+ people, children, and young people in particular.”

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