The trans community has welcomed a training guide for Gold Coast Commonwealth Games volunteers that encourages the use of gender-neutral language.
The guidelines, which recommend dropping the use of gendered terms such as ‘ladies and gentlemen’ in favour of simple inclusive replacements like ‘everyone’, say they are “to create an inclusive Games for all to enjoy”, ABC News has reported.
Other examples include using well-established terms such as ‘police officer’ rather than the outdated ‘policeman’ or ‘policewoman’.
The guide also touches on the matter of bathroom choice for trans people, suggesting simply that people be allowed to choose which one they use.
“If you are not sure if someone is male or female direct them to male, female and accessible toilet facilities,” the guide reads.
The guidelines have caused some controversy but been welcomed by the trans community.
Volunteer Hermina Van Amstel, whose son is trans, said she supported the inclusive guidelines.
“I’m surprised about the furore but not surprised that those terms are there,” she said.
“We’ve got to move with the times. There are so many people who have different [genders], and I think it’s great we’re trying to address it in all aspects.”
Commonwealth Games Chief Executive Officer Mark Peters said the guidelines are not compulsory, and have been developed in consultation with previous Games hosts.
“We’re just trying to give them guidelines without scaring them,” said Peters.
“Glasgow addressed this, London… They put out some very specific information around a whole lot of these issues.
“You take what they do and how it worked, and they had a great volunteer program. It worked really well.”
Queensland opposition leader Deb Frecklington has criticised the guidelines, which she admitted she has not read.
“I’m someone who has grown up in the ways of treating people with respect by saying ‘good morning ladies and gentlemen’, I just don’t think they should be dictated to in relation to these terms,” she said.
“This is lefty overreach.”
Zoey Campbell from Trans Health Australia said the guidelines represent reasonable polite treatment of the community.
“We support the Games organisers,” said Campbell.
“It reflects the best of Australia that guests, competitors and spectators should be treated politely and hospitably, and in these days that includes acknowledging people who may be trans or gender diverse.”