Civil servants at the Home Office were told not to use the word “homosexual” as part of a presentation on gendered language.
Members of the department’s Homeland Security Group, which leads work on Britain’s counter-terrorism response, attended a talk last week focused on “the right language” around LGBT issues.
On Monday, the Home Office moved to distance itself from its contents, which it said did not represent “departmental or government guidance”.
Across 12 slides on gender issues, first reported by Guido Fawkes, Whitehall staff were told: “Be aware a person’s sex, gender identity, and gender expression may not correspond.
“Genderqueer is a blanket term for those who don’t define their gender in binary terms … It is not a modern invention. Each identity is valid and deserves respect.”
A slide on language to avoid using included the terms homosexual and homosexuality, which it said is “generally considered a medical term now. People tend to use gay instead. Can reduce the person to purely sexual terms”. It also warned against the use of the word transsexual.
The presentation urged civil servants to wear rainbow lanyards, include their personal pronouns in email signatures and join the LGBT Civil Service staff network.
They were also shown an extract from an email which read “sorry for calling you mate”, which appears to have been included to dissuade others from using such language.
It comes as The Telegraph can reveal the Home Office’s LGBT network held five events during working hours in as many months last year.
The lectures included a 90-minute virtual session on The Queer Dead: Reconnecting with LGBT+ People from Long Ago, as well as an hour-long Power in Pride Trans Panel and a seminar on Challenging Assumptions of Masculinity to mark International Men’s Day.
The other two events were called Power in Pride: Finally Me; and Imposter Syndrome, Social Mobility, and the Power of Positive Thinking. The former event lasted for an hour and a half, with the latter taking up a further hour of staff time for attendees.
In its response to the TaxPayers’ Alliance, which uncovered the events, the Home Office said the events helped civil servants “to be their best selves at work, reducing sick leave and improving performance”.
A Home Office spokesman said: “The Home Office is committed to supporting diversity and inclusion within the department.
“This document was used as part of an internal event in the Home Office, and is not official departmental or government guidance.”