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Victorian Schools to Avoid Gendered Terms Like ‘Mum’ and ‘Dad’

Hearing students call out, “Mum, I forgot my bag” or “Dad, can you pick me up early?” may soon be a thing of the past as part of a new campaign in Victoria to keep schools inclusive.

Schools in Victoria may be told to avoid terms like “mum”, “dad”, “boy”, “girl”, boyfriend” and “girlfriend” as part of a push.

Mum and dad no more?

But why??? Why can’t we use these perfectly normal terms anymore? The reason is to help curb the suicide rates of young people in the LCBTQIA+ community. 

Using non-gendered terms, such as parent, instead of mum, is only one aspect of the #SpeakingUpSpeaksVolumes campaign by The North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network.

It will also:

  • introduce unisex bathrooms
  • introduce rainbow flags
  • push for non-gendered sports teams

Non-gendered terms to support all students

According to Yahoo, the campaign hopes that by using non-gendered terms and language in school and sporting groups, drop-out rates will decrease and young LGBTQIA+ people will feel more supported.

When someone is experiencing bullying, silence often feels like indifference, which can create a terrible sense of isolation,” the network’s CEO, Chris Carter told the newspaper.

“The simple act of openly showing support can be a catalyst for great change for the better and it’s often the less obvious moments that can be the most impactful to someone’s wellbeing.”


The campaign found LGBTIQA+ people aged 16-27 are more likely to attempt suicide than the general population. Transgender people aged 18 and over are nearly 11 times more likely.

By switching things up in schools, the campaign hopes to curb these numbers.

Yes or no?

While many people are on board with the idea – after all, any campaign that hopes to curb suicide rates is important – many others are not.

After all, “mum” and “dad” are pretty BIG words in our kids’ vocabulary. Not to mention “mummy” and “daddy” for our smallest crotch gremlins.

I swear my ratbags (gender-inclusive ratbags, might I add) call out “Mum” at least 8 gazillion times a day. I don’t think they are going to be too keen to swap their daily “mum” demands to “parent”.

“Hey parent, can you wipe my butt?” It doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it?

A loss of identity 

And, hell, the terms “mum” and “dad” are kind of a big deal for us mums and dads too.

I work hard at being a mum, albeit, a somewhat half-arse mum, but I take my Mummy Title pretty seriously. My body did a whole hell of a lot of work to earn that title. So, yeah, I’m gonna keep my Mum Crown, thank you very much. It might be a little tarnished, but it’s mine.

Not the first time

This isn’t the first time 2021 has gone gender-inclusive on us. Just last month UK hospitals announced they would stop using terms like “mother”, “father”, even “breastmilk” in the labour suite after Australian University researchers suggested these words are not gender-inclusive.

These words are being replaced by terms such as:

  • For mum or mother: “gestational” or “birthing parent”
  • For dad or father: “non-gestational” or “non-birthing parent”
  • Other options for dad include: “second biological parent”, “non-birthing parent” or “co-parent”
  • For mother’s milk: “human milk” or “chest milk” (eeewww)
  • For breastfeeding: “chestfeeding” 
  • Instead of maternity care department: “perinatal services”

Again, this decision divided the internet, leaving gestational and non-gestational parents alike baffled. And don’t even get me started on the whole ‘chest feeding thing.

As if 2021 isn’t already weird enough…

What to read next

Have a read of the full story here, as well as a few other non-gendered terms we’ve thrown in for sh*ts and giggles. Enjoy!

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1 Comment

  1. Avatar of Kat

    I can appreciate this ‘movement’ but I’m going to say it; I feel personally attacked. I waited, on occasion very impatiently, until my 40th birthday to have my first child. All I ever wanted out of life was to be called, ‘mum’. Why does that have to be stripped away from me? I have earned that title and I love it. Couldn’t we ADD to the vernacular opposed to subtracting? Just include these new terms instead of making them the only terms in use?

    Also, chest milk? Please. Men have breasts meaning everyone has breast’s so that term is just ridiculous.

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