'The Europe of Common Sense': EU 'Inclusive Communication' Guidelines Withdrawn Following Outcry

© AP Photo / Virginia MayoA couple walk past EU flags outside EU headquarters in Brussels, Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021
A couple walk past EU flags outside EU headquarters in Brussels, Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 01.12.2021
The "Union of Equality" guidelines were introduced in late October and designed to foster "inclusive communication." Among other things, the lengthy document contained advice on refraining from "assuming everyone is Christian" and using "holiday season" instead of "Christmas season." These recommendations, however, did not sit well with everyone.
EU Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli has admitted that her "inclusive communication" guidelines "is not a mature document, announcing that it will be withdrawn in order to be further developed.
The move comes after a public outcry over what some people see as an attempt to "cancel Christmas" or "suppress the culture of a people."

"Concern was raised with regards to some examples provided in the Guidelines on Inclusive Communication, which as is customary with such guidelines, is work in progress," Dalli tweeted. "We are looking into these concerns with the view of addressing them in an updated version of the guidelines."

The 30-page document contains some controversial recommendations that appear to bring division instead of diversity. For example, the guidelines advise readers to “never address[ing] an audience as ‘ladies and gentlemen’ but use expressions such as ‘Dear colleagues'." It also recommends avoiding "considering people as masculine by default" and using "gendered words," while also urging against "reinforcing harmful gender stereotypes" or "minimising or ignoring women’s contributions and the specific impact on women."
It also offers a wide range of recommendations on how to speak about the LGBTQ+ community. Particularly, it advises being "careful about the use of gay and lesbian as nouns, which may be considered inappropriate. Transgender, bi or intersex are not nouns." It also urges to "allow for self-identification" and use the pronoun "Mx" when in doubt about how to address a person properly.
But perhaps one of the most sensitive parts of the document is related to cultural issues, particularly the recommendation to "avoid assuming that everyone is Christian."

"Not everyone celebrates the Christian holidays, and not all Christians celebrate them on the same dates," the document reads. "Be sensitive about the fact that people have different religious traditions and calendars."

Therefore, the guidelines urge to use "Holiday times can be stressful" instead of "Christmas time can be stressful."
Many conservatives view the guidelines as an attempt to undermine the Christian culture.
“The European Commission, through an internal document, considers the Christmas celebrations as insufficiently inclusive,” Giorgia Meloni, leader of the Brothers of Italy party, wrote on her Facebook page.
The request to refrain from references to Christian holidays has sparked ire in many. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state, told the Vatican News that Europe "owes its existence and its identity to numerous contributions" but "we certainly can’t forget that one of its main contributions, if not the main one, has been Christianity itself."
After the guidelines were withdrawn on Tuesday, former European commissioner Antonio Tajani hailed the decision as a victory of common sense.

"Thanks also to the action of [Forza Italia], the European Commission withdraws the guidelines on inclusive language which asked to remove references to holidays and Christian names," Tajani tweeted. "Long live the Europe of common sense!"

This is not the first time an attempt to push "inclusive language" guidelines has ignited debate and controversy. In November, the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) faced a backlash over its "needless wokery" when it decided to ditch the words "airwomen" and "airmen" in favour of gender-neutral "aviators."
Some "inclusive" language is deemed by many to undermine certain groups of people. Particularly, controversy tends to erupt when it comes to referring to pregnancy. The US CDC agency came under fire when it used the term "pregnant people" instead of "pregnant women" when urging the public to get vaccinated against COVID – the Swedish healthcare service faced the same fate when it advised avoiding "the word woman to describe a body that looks a certain way."
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