The Canadian Senate has passed a bill rendering the national anthem gender-neutral.
The change put forward will see the lyric “True patriot love in all thy sons command” changed to “in all of us command”.
Since 1980, 12 bills have been introduced in an attempt to remove the gender reference to “sons”, all of which failed to do so until now. This change takes place on the eve of the Winter Olympic Games, which will provide Canadian athletes the opportunity to sing the new national anthem.
A country’s choice of words carries meaning, and having had 11 bills fail prior to this, this change reflects the Canadian governments more progressive stance towards gender equality. This change in the national anthem will now allow all genders to be reflected in one of the nation’s most cherished symbols.
While languages evolve continually, pronouns can be a sticking point. Will offical recognition of the need for greater recognition of gender difference accelerate the rise of gender-neutral language across society?