Dr Thomas Lyons has warned that by avoiding gender specific words, we could be making children anxious.
Dr Thomas Lyons has warned that by avoiding gender specific words, we could be making children anxious.

GP warns gender neutral words could be harmful

A QUEENSLAND doctor has warned that by avoiding gender specific words, we could be doing children more harm than good.

Thomas Lyons has been a GP for 19 years and has worked at Eagleby Medical Centre, south of Brisbane, since 2004.

During the school holidays, Dr Lyons said he observed "utter anxiety" during a routine eye test when young patients were asked to identify whether images on his vision chart were of a boy or a girl.

 

Dr Thomas Lyons with the vision chart he uses during routine eye tests.
Dr Thomas Lyons with the vision chart he uses during routine eye tests.

 

"The chart has pictures of teacups and animals but when it got to the picture of the boy and girl, four out of five children said 'person'," he said.

"Two of the girls exhibited features of anxiety, hand wringing, frowning … and one said in a frantic voice that she couldn't use those words."

The patients were aged between six and eight. Dr Lyons said when he pressed on girl further, she replied she could not say those words because her teacher would "get angry".

 

Dr Thomas Lyons contacted the Department of Education after he noticed children were becoming anxious when asked to differentiate between the images of the boy and girl on the test.
Dr Thomas Lyons contacted the Department of Education after he noticed children were becoming anxious when asked to differentiate between the images of the boy and girl on the test.

 

Alarmed by what he observed, Dr Lyons contacted the Department of Education.

A spokesman said the department was in the process of responding to Dr Lyons.

They said that gender specific language is not discouraged in Queensland states schools and programs like Respectful Relationships Education Program assisted students to learn about relationships and gender roles.

Dr Lyons said he believes the State Government should conduct an audit to determine if more children are suffering anxiety from what he called "shrinking language".

"The majority of children enjoy have a gender to identify with. This is not unhealthy," he said.

"I think when kids are displaying anxiety over this, the government has an obligation to investigate."



Child bitten by dingo on Fraser Island

premium_icon Child bitten by dingo on Fraser Island

A Fraser Island dingo has bitten a child.

Rescue chopper assists patient with heart complications

premium_icon Rescue chopper assists patient with heart complications

AN elderly person was airlifted to hospital after suffering complications from a...

Police shoot man dead after overnight stand-off

premium_icon Police shoot man dead after overnight stand-off

Police have killed a man after he shot at public and vehicles.