Qantas has asked its staff to begin using gender-neutral language with customers.

The airline is one of 150 companies to distribute an information pack on inclusive language developed by the Diversity Council of Australia to its staff.

The simple changes suggested include using terms such as ‘partner’ instead of ‘husband’ or ‘wife’, and ‘parent’ rather than ‘mother’ or ‘father’.

The inclusive language is intended to help create an accepting environment for LGBTI staff and customers, including people in same-sex relationships and people of diverse genders.

Also covered in the information pack are mansplaining and manterrupting, with staff asked to be mindful that research shows men frequently interrupt female colleagues but not vice versa.

Staff have also been asked to consider using appropriate language should they speak about Australia’s past, such as by referring to colonisation or invasion rather than ‘settlement’.

A Qantas spokesperson said the distribution of the inclusive language information pack was in line with the company’s “long and proud history of promoting inclusion”.

“We want Qantas to be an inclusive workplace and we shared some factsheets created by the Diversity Council of Australia with some suggestions on more inclusive language, particularly on gender, age and LGBTI issues,” they said.

Openly gay Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has a long history of supporting LGBTI rights.

Last year he donated $1 million to the Yes campaign for marriage equality.

Earlier this year, volunteers for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games were similarly asked to consider using gender-neutral language when speaking with visitors.

The guide asks volunteers not make assumptions about gender, suggesting for example that they show visitors to all bathrooms and allow them to choose which one to use.

The guidelines are not mandatory, but serve as a suggestion to help foster inclusivity of the LGBTI community.

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