Party for the Animals deputy in Drenthe’s Provincial Council, Renate Zuiker, says it is time to cease using gendered salutations like “Mr.” and “Mrs.” within the walls of the province’s legislative body, the Dagblad van het Noorden reports.
So far, the Council’s Chairperson, Jetta Klijnsma, and the committee leaders, under a long-held belief that Mr., Ms. and so forth help the legislators maintain a polite tone, have addressed their colleagues accordingly. But that, Zuiker believes, might be offensive to some, because not everyone identifies as male or female.
It is not clear if the animal rights-focused party wants to eliminate the use of courtesy titles in any and all forms of communication, but it definitely wants the council to forgo them in debates.
“It is already customary to address deputies by their position, such as Deputy Jumelet or Deputy Vedelaar,” Zuiker says. “Why don’t we do the same with members of the Council?”
The deputy argues that the honorifics are becoming a vestige of a more-formal past which younger people have almost completely abandoned. Besides, dropping gendered salutations is more in line with the way people communicate their identities.
There is another example Zuiker uses to support her proposal pointing out that NS train announcers already omit Mr. and Ms. from their salutations and say simply ‘dear travelers.’
Zuiker readily admits that her insights and ideas are not particularly original. “Other provinces have already abandoned courtesy titles, such as “Mr.” and “Ms.” Drenthe should follow suit,” she says.