The triumph of “gender neutral” terminology (and ideology) continues apace. Malta – little Catholic Malta! – is now planning to ban “husband” and “wife”, “mother” and “father” from its proposed legislation introducing gay marriage. All in the cause of “gender neutral” lingo.

This is just as London Underground is ceasing to address its passengers as “ladies and gentlemen” – using, instead, the neutral “everyone”. The idea is that transgender people might be offended by “ladies and gentlemen”.

Yet there’s a topsy-turvy logic here. Couples in same-sex unions are often particularly keen to use words like “husband” and “wife”. Sir Elton John refers to his partner David Furnish as his “husband”. The children call both of them by a different version of father – “Papa” and “Dad”.

Katherine Zappone, the minister for children in Ireland, was recently bereaved by the death of Anne Louise Gilligan, whom she described, most emphatically, as her “wife”.

So if gay couples themselves use the terms “husband” and “wife”, why should lawmakers take it upon themselves to extinguish such descriptive titles?

As for “ladies” and “gentleman”: if someone transitions from being a man to being a woman, why wouldn’t he/she (or “ze”, as directed in Canada) wish to be called a “lady”? And vice-versa? So why abolish courtesies like “ladies and gentlemen” which add to a sense of respect for the person?

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