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This handout is an attempt to simply help guide authors within the selection of appropriate language to utilize whenever authoring groups of individuals

This handout is an attempt to simply help guide authors within the selection of appropriate language to utilize whenever authoring groups of individuals

General advice:

  • Assume an extensive audience, and look at the effectation of the terms you employ in your market. Perform some terms imply a judgment? Would be the terms expected to offend? If that’s the case, rephrase.
  • Just simply Take obligation for the language alternatives. The time that is first a term that could be misinterpreted/considered improper, incorporate a rationale for the option, such as for example by the addition of a footnote that especially describes the definition of for the purposes and context.
  • Just use the language that is required to the context: usage “female firefighters” only when you may be especially talking about that sex for the reason that occupation. Distinctions should really be noted only if appropriate.
  • Prevent terms that evaluate, that may indicate inferiority/superiority, such as for example “low course. ”
  • Make use of the appropriate amount of specificity: “Dominicans” in place of “Hispanics. ”
  • Concentrate on individuals in place of on a way of categorization: “people with mental disease” instead of “the mentally sick. ”
  • Whenever speaking about some topics, you might have to use dated terminology in speaking about the topic in historic context, but utilize modern language in your analysis.

If uncertain of just what language to make use of, check with your teacher, classmates, and present readings that are academic the control, which may very well utilize terms appropriate to your control.


Sex: category of someone as man or woman centered on biological traits (intercourse chromosomes, hormones, reproductive systems).

Gender: category of an individual as man or woman centered on social or social faculties.

Transgender: an adjective describing those whoever gender identity or phrase will not match the sex that is biological had been assigned at delivery. A transgender individual may or might not go through hormones therapy or intercourse reassignment surgery, and medical intervention is considered only one element of a bigger change procedure. Can be reduced to “trans” or “trans*” in certain circumstances. The asterisk emphasizes that lots of various identities fall beneath the bigger transgender umbrella term.

Cisgender: an adjective explaining a person that is non-transgender some body whose assigned intercourse at birth fits their identified intercourse.

Transgender girl: an individual assigned male at birth but who lives and identifies as a female. The abbreviation MTF (male-to-female) works extremely well, many care it privileges assigned sex over identified sex against it because.

Transgender guy: someone assigned feminine at birth but who lives and identifies as a person. The abbreviation FTM (female-to-male) can be utilized, however some caution it privileges assigned sex over identified sex against it because.

Non-binary person: someone who identifies not in the female/male binary, i.e., will not exclusively determine as a female or as a person. A term that is alternate “genderqueer. ”

Favored Language of Sex

Whenever currently talking about a transgender individual, usage nouns and pronouns in line with the individual’s sex identification, no matter intercourse at delivery. Whenever possible, utilize the pronoun preferred by that each (ex: someone who was created male but identifies as feminine would make use of the pronoun “she. ”)

  • “Transgender” is an adjective, therefore don’t use “transgender” as a noun. Utilization of the term “transsexual” is normally frustrated.
  • Steer clear of the term “opposite intercourse, ” which implies strong differences when considering sexes. Make use of sex that is“other. ”
  • Stay away from “man” or “mankind” to refer to all of mankind. Options: humans, humankind, individuals, individuals.
  • Specify the sex of a professional (ex: girl physician, male nursing assistant). Only if required towards the conversation.
  • Utilize gender-neutral termsfor vocations whenever feasible (ex: postal worker in the place of mailman, firefighter in place of fireman, homemaker in the place of housewife).
  • Utilising the expression “he or she” or alternating sex pronouns is appropriate, but reduces quality. Because ‘they’ is plural, don’t use ‘they’ rather than the gendered single pronouns, ‘he, she. ’ Preferably, rephrase the phrase to prevent sex pronouns.
  • Some trans people, and disciplines that are specific as Queer Studies, use other gender basic pronouns such as for instance “ze” (replaces “he/she”) and “hirself” (replaces “himself/herself”). Sometimes “they/them/their” is utilized to a person. Make use of them into the appropriate contexts, and constantly pick the pronoun that folks used to explain by themselves.

Ways of Avoid Gender Pronouns through the APA General recommendations for Reducing Bias, with examples through the APA recommendations for impartial Language: test problematic phrase: the customer is often the most useful judge of this worth of their guidance.

  • Rephrase the sentence to eradicate gender pronoun.
    • Preferred: The judge that is best of this worth of guidance is often the customer.
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  • Make use of plural pronouns.
    • Preferred: customers usually are the greatest judges of this value of the counseling.
  • Substitute a pronoun that is possessive a write-up.
    • Preferred: Consumers usually are the most effective judges regarding the value of a guidance session.
  • Omit the pronoun.
    • Preferred: Consumers are often the most effective judges of this worth of guidance.

Sources, language of gender: • APA Guidelines for Unbiased Language: http: //supp. Pdf • GLAAD Media Reference Guide: http: //www. • nationwide Center for Transgender Equality: http: //www.


Instead of an individual’s gender, intimate orientation (NOT “sexual preference”) pertains to the gender a person is drawn to (actually, romantically, emotionally). Relate to the terms that are following identities, never as“lifestyles. ”

Gay: adj. To explain some body interested in folks of the gender that is same. Make use of “gay men, ” or, to add women and men, “gay individuals. ” AVOID “homosexual, ” as it’s been utilized derogatively into the past.

Lesbian: adj. To explain women that are drawn to other ladies. “Lesbian” can be utilized as a noun; some ladies additionally identify as “gay females. ” Become clear you might be including men and women, you may utilize men that are“gay women” or “gay men and lesbians” rather than “gay people. ”

Bisexual: adj. To spell it out an individual who may be interested in individuals of their gender that is own or. Plural kind is “bisexual individuals. ”

Same-sex: can be utilized as an adj. To change terms like “couple” or “marriage. ” It is more accurate and comprehensive than “gay” or “lesbian” as it can certainly relate to either sex and includes people that are bisexual same-sex relationships.

Heterosexual: adj. To spell it out a person who is interested in folks of other genders. “Straight” is appropriate but fairly casual.

LGBT: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender. This acronym is normally utilized to refer to any or all of the social individuals as a group. Make use of an acronym as long as you simply can’t become more certain. Remember that it provides transgender individuals, who is able to have any intimate orientation. Should you want to refer simply to those who are maybe perhaps not heterosexual, don’t range from the “T. ” additionally be conscious that there isn’t a single, all-encompassing LGBT experience or worldview; you may acknowledge this simply by using a phrase like “some people in the LGBT community. ” Other letters I(“intersex”), or A (“asexual” or sometimes “allies”) that you might see on the end of this acronym are Q (“queer” or “questioning”),.

Sexual minorities: could possibly be utilized to non-heterosexual individuals. This term is certainly not in extensive usage, therefore define how you’re utilizing it the time that is first appears.

Queer: adj. Which has been adopted by some LGBT individuals, it is maybe maybe not universally accepted as it has been utilized derogatively into the past. Avoid this term until you understand the individual you’re authoring self-identifies as “queer. ”


Publication handbook regarding the United states Psychological Association, 6th version. Washington, DC: United States Emotional Association. 2010. Print. Serano, Julia. Whipping Girl: A Transsexual girl on Sexism plus the Scapegoating of Femininity. Ny: Seal Press, 2007. Printing

The writers for this handout, M.E. Ficarra ’15, Olivia Valcarce ’15, and Sharon Williams, composing Center Director, acknowledge the next because of their assist in developing this handout: Krista Hesdorfer ’14; Amit Taneja, Director of Diversity & Inclusion; Allen Harrison, Assistant Dean of pupils for International Students and Accessibility; and Professors Joyce Barry, Benjamin DiCicco-Bloom, Cara Jones, and Yvonne Zylan.

Even as we have actually stated, language is evolving and complex. The writing Center if you have suggestions for revisions to this handout, please contact.

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