royal canadian navy

Royal Canadian Navy to replace seamen with gender-neutral term

Junior sailors in the Royal Canadian Navy will no longer be referred to using the term "seamen."

Instead, a gender-neutral title will be decided upon by the military's sailors and members of the public. 

The move comes in an effort to increase diversity and inclusivity, according to commanders responsible for the navy's personnel policy.

It is also hoped that the change will help the navy's most junior members feel safe and proud of their ranks and jobs. 

"What this will do is ensure a safe environment so there is no double entendre," said Cmdr. Deborah-Lynn Gates, speaking to The Canadian Press.

"Definitely at the tactical level, we want to make sure our most junior members understand and feel safe when they are being called their rank, being called their name or being addressed."

Members of the navy and the public can vote online on alternatives starting Friday. 

One option is to replace "seaman" with "sailor." There will also be the opportunity to suggest alternative terms.

The announcement has sparked debate on social media with people arguing both for and against the change. 

While some people have supported the move, others have argued against its political correctness.

The suggested change will ultimately need to be approved by cabinet.

Lead photo by

Shape NATO


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