The Royal Canadian Navy is looking to chart new waters by dropping the term “seaman” when referring to its most junior sailors and replacing it with something more gender-neutral. Members of the Royal Canadian Navy take part in the 2019 Pride Parade in Toronto, Saturday, June 23, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Lahodynskyj

Royal Canadian Navy to replace ‘seaman’ in rank titles with gender-neutral term

Navies around the world have used the similar for decades and in some cases centuries

The Royal Canadian Navy is looking to chart new waters by dropping the term “seaman” when referring to its most junior sailors and replacing it with something more gender-neutral.

Navies around the world have used the terms “ordinary seaman,” “able seaman,” “leading seaman” and “master seaman” for decades and in some cases centuries.

But Cmdr. Deborah Lynn Gates says those terms are being replaced in Canada as the navy, which is short hundreds of sailors, works to become more diverse and inclusive.

She says it is also aimed at making sure the navy’s most junior members feel safe and proud of their ranks and profession, acknowledging the double entendre associated with the term “seaman.”

Members of the navy as well as the public at large will be able to vote online on two alternatives starting Friday, with both variants substituting “sailor” in place of “seaman” in different ways.

While the plan to drop the term has already prompted some backlash on social media, Gates says the navy wants to show both Canadians and its sailors that it is a modern and progressive organization.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

Vancouver Island Indigenous leaders supportive of B.C.’s new plan for old forest preservation

More than 260,000 hectares in Clayoquot Sound mapped for immediate old growth harvesting deferral

HISTORY COLUMN: Reflecting on the 32nd anniversary of Canada’s apology to Japanese-Canadians

Japanese-Canadians an integral part of Tofino and Ucluelet’s history.

Extravagant marriage proposal in Ucluelet

“It was such a dream. He brought a dream to life. No one does this anymore.”

Missing mushroom picker found “alive and well” after three-day search in Ucluelet

“It’s always great to have a positive outcome like this.”

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

A (virtual) walk around the world by 88-year-old B.C. man

George Doi says it’s simple: ‘I like walking’

End of CERB means uncertainty for some, new system for others

As of a week ago, the CERB had paid out $79.3 billion to 8.8 million people

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

Horgan called a snap election for Oct. 24 earlier this week

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Vancouver Island Tour de Rock riders roll into Parksville Qualicum Beach

Saturday’s schedule includes Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino, followed by Nanaimo on Sunday

Most Read