MPs have balked at a guide encouraging staffers to report “negative behaviors” including “misgendering”
Hundreds of British civil servants staffing the House of Commons and House of Lords have been issued guidance on how to identify and report so-called “transphobic behavior,” The Telegraph reported on Monday.
In the 15-page pamphlet, parliamentary authorities instruct staff to “learn to identify what transphobic behavior looks like and understand that these must be met with an attitude of zero-tolerance.” Even “another colleague refusing to use a trans person’s preferred pronouns or names” falls under that heading and must “be dealt with in an appropriate manner,” the guide warns.
Any negative behaviors will not be tolerated, and we encourage you to report them immediately so they can be dealt with appropriately.
Even appearing insufficiently enthusiastic about trans identities could apparently be seen as cause for concern, with staff required to ensure that “trans experiences are celebrated” and “trans colleagues feel comfortable bringing their authentic self to work.” Contact details for the Human Resources and Diversity offices of Parliament are prominently featured for those wishing to inform on their colleagues.
The pamphlet had reportedly been circulated internally for three years before its existence was made public. Sir Peter Bottomley, the longest-serving MP in the House of Commons, acknowledged he had “some concern” with the guidance, though he appeared to want to avoid running afoul of it, holding off on further criticism aside from suggesting some input from gender-critical advocacy group LGB Alliance.
That group’s co-founder, Kate Harris, criticized the publication as “an activist’s handbook for those who seek to…pretend that their cult beliefs are mainstream, and….to isolate and ostracize anyone who refuses to accept their ludicrous fantasies.”
“Policing pronoun usage” was “completely unacceptable in a liberal democracy,” she said, calling the fixation on pronouns “the gateway drug towards unnecessary medicalization of gender non-conforming children.”
A spokesperson for the House of Commons told The Telegraph that the guidance had been “reviewed and will shortly be replaced,” even while insisting it was merely meant to “promote an inclusive working environment” among House staff rather than police members’ speech.
British Civil Service whistleblowers told The Telegraph last year that the service officially recognizes over 100 genders, even logging them in personnel records so that those who “misgender” colleagues can be subjected to proper disciplinary action. In January, the Home Office required staff to attend a lecture featuring guidance on the use of neo-pronouns such as ‘xe’ and ‘zir’ and warnings not to use terminology that “implies being LGBT+ is a choice,” or worse, an ideology.