Dear Mister President,
I have just had an opportunity to look at the booklet “Gender-Neutral language in the European parliament”, distributed by Harold Romer in what seems to be his final message of insult and defiance to MEPs before his recent and unlamented departure.
The booklet starts from the preposterous proposition that “in most contexts a person’s sex is — or should be — irrelevant”. This is an extraordinary piece of nonsense, even by the parliament’s standards. In fact a person’s sex is absolutely fundamental to their sense of identity. It is an essential part of who they are, how they wish to be characterised, and how they relate to other people.
Neither men nor women in the real world seek to be regarded as ambiguous, androgynous hermaphrodites. They want to be seen and respected for what they are — as men or women. Have we not paused to notice that both men and women spend large sums of money on clothes and other artefacts that clearly identify their gender, or that women (and increasingly men as well) spend a great deal on gender-specific toiletries and cosmetics? They do this to assert their identity as women or men, and we in this parliament have no business to disregard that identity.
This politically-correct determination to ignore real and important gender differences is both pointless and ridiculous, and makes our institution a laughing-stock. It is also an insult to real people who are comfortable with their gender identity, and expect it to be respected, not least in forms of address.
I would urge you to withdraw this booklet immediately, with (if possible) an apology. I should also be glad to know who authorised it, how many copies were printed and in how many languages, to whom they were distributed, and how much they cost.
Roger Helmer MEP