Firefighters urged to ’embrace diversity’ and use gender-neutral language during emergency callouts
- EXCLUSIVE: Staff should recognise ‘everyone is unique’, says Kent fire service
- Advice slammed by critics who say bosses are ‘pandering’ to a tiny minority
Firefighters are being urged to use gender-neutral language during emergency callouts, it can be revealed.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service staff are encouraged to use inclusive language with members of the public to ‘embrace diversity’.
It includes swapping ‘he’ or ‘she’ in favour of ‘they or them’ as part of the service’s effort to recognise that ‘everyone is unique and everyone has value’, it says.
The advice has been slammed by critics who accused the service of ‘pandering’ to a tiny minority.
Toby Young, director of the Free Speech Union, said: ‘According to the most recent UK census, only 0.26 per cent of the population of England and Wales identify as trans or non-binary.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service (which runs stations across the county including Margate Fire Station, above) has been slammed for ‘pandering’ to non-binary people
‘Why, then, is Kent Fire and Rescue insisting firefighters address members of the public as “they” or “them”?
‘How is it “inclusive” to pander to 0.26 per cent of the population by using language that will confuse 99.74 per cent?’
The ‘Everyone together’ guidance sets out the force’s commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.
It tells members of the public that its firefighters and staff are dedicated to diversity.
It adds that the service is ‘committed to ensuring we demonstrate fairness, sensitivity and respect in all aspects of our work’.
The website reads: ‘Our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion is also demonstrated by the language we use.
‘What we say and how we say it can have a huge impact on those around us, which is why it’s important to make sure our language includes everyone.
‘Remembering to speak and write with respect and kindness lies at the heart of who we are.
‘Being gender-neutral is more inclusive. For example, rather than using “he” or “she”, we try to use our customers’ and each other’s name, or refer to a person as “they” or “them”.
‘We may also neutralise titles and roles as this avoids stereotyping and bias.’
Toby Young of the Free Speech Union says Kent Fire and Rescue Service will ‘confuse’ the 99.74 percent of the population that do not use ‘they/them’ pronouns
Kent Fire and Rescue Service is not the only brigade adopting ‘woke’ diversity policies.
London Fire Brigade boasts of being a diversity champion for Stonewall – a LGBTQ+ charity, while Manchester Fire and Rescue Service is ranked 50th in the country for leading LGBTQ+ inclusive employers.
In 2017, Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service launched its own transgender policy that tells firefighters how to be a ‘trans ally’.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service chief executive Ann Millington said: ‘As a service we recognise and understand that everyone is unique and everyone has value – everything we do is about keeping people safe, based on kindness and compassion.
‘We always encourage our colleagues to be themselves, and we want the people we serve across Kent and Medway to be confident in accessing our services.
‘Our inclusion strategy is all about everyone knowing we are there for them in times of need.’
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