How to engage with different groups of people

Pink News sees a fistfight where there isn’t one:

Oxfam hits back at critics of trans-inclusive guidance who claim its ‘erasing mums and dads’

No it doesn’t “hit back,” because nobody “hit” in the first place. Saying words is not hitting. Oxfam responded or reacted or issued a statement; it didn’t “hit.” Nobody “hit” Oxfam.

Also, why “mums and dads” instead of mothers and fathers? Why not treat the readers like adults?

The 92-page toolkit offers advice on how to engage with different groups of people which Oxfam staff and volunteers might come into contact with, including people with a disability, sex workers and the LGBTQ+ community.  

But not women, of course. Women don’t matter. Women aren’t worth mentioning. Women are Karens.

An updated version of the guide, which went live on Monday (13 March), immediately courted controversy for allegedly ‘erasing mothers and fathers’ by encouraging the use of gender neutral terms in certain situations.  

There it is – mothers and fathers. So why the cloying “mums and dads” in the headline? To manipulate, of course.

Under the ‘LGBTQIA+ Rights and Inclusion’ section of the document, the charity stated people use the phrases “parent” or “parenthood” when unsure of the gender of a particular caregiver but equally respect people who want to be called ‘mother’ or ‘father’.

The guidance stated: “In patriarchal culture, social norms around gender result in designated roles for parents that reflect expectations of that gender.”

Well it’s not a social norm that it’s the mother who gestates and pushes out the baby, or that it’s the mother who breastfeeds the baby. It’s not a social norm that the father doesn’t do any of those things.

“Some transgender and non-binary people may identify with these roles. However, some may prefer to use other names to designate parenthood. 

“The important principle here is to be inclusive in the broader sense by describing people as ‘parents’, but if individual parents have a preference for a role name, to respect their choice.” 

Is it really? Does that come up a lot in Oxfam’s work?

I doubt it, myself.

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