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.
‘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.’