This handout is an endeavor to simply help guide authors when you look at the selection of acceptable language to utilize whenever currently talking about groups of individuals

This handout is an endeavor to simply help guide authors when you look at the selection of acceptable language to utilize whenever currently talking about groups of individuals

This handout is an endeavor to simply help guide authors when you look at the selection of acceptable language to utilize whenever currently talking about groups of individuals

General advice:

  • Assume an audience that is wide and look at the aftereffect of the terms you utilize in your market. Perform some terms imply a judgment? Would be the terms prone to offend? In that case, rephrase.
  • Simply simply Take responsibility for the language alternatives. The very first time utilizing a term that would be misinterpreted/considered improper, add a rationale for the option, such as for instance with the addition of a footnote that particularly describes the definition of for the purposes and context.
  • Only use the language that is required to the context: usage “female firefighters” only when you will be especially speaking about that sex for the reason that occupation. Distinctions must be noted only if appropriate.
  • Prevent terms that evaluate, which may indicate inferiority/superiority, such as for example “low course. ”
  • Utilize the degree that is appropriate of: “Dominicans” in the place of “Hispanics. ”
  • Concentrate on people instead of on a technique of categorization: “people with psychological disease” instead of “the mentally sick. ”
  • When speaking about some topics, you might have to utilize dated terminology in speaking about the niche in historical context, but utilize modern language in your analysis.

If not sure of just just just what language to make use of, check with your teacher, classmates, and present educational readings in the control, which will probably make use of terms appropriate into the control.


Intercourse: classification of an individual as man or woman predicated on biological faculties (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 sex identification or expression doesn’t match the sex that is biological had been assigned at delivery. A transgender individual may or may well not go through hormones therapy or intercourse reassignment surgery, and medical intervention is considered just one single section 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 non-transgender individual – somebody whose assigned intercourse at birth fits their identified intercourse.

Transgender girl: an individual assigned male at birth but who lives and identifies as a woman. The abbreviation MTF (male-to-female) can be used, however some care against it as it privileges assigned intercourse over identified intercourse

Transgender man: someone assigned feminine at delivery but who lives and identifies as a person. The abbreviation FTM (female-to-male) can be utilized, many care it privileges assigned sex over identified sex against it because.

Non-binary individual: someone who identifies outside the female/male binary, i.e., will not solely determine as a lady or as a guy. A term that is alternate “genderqueer. ”

Favored Language of Sex

Whenever writing about a transgender person, usage nouns and pronouns in line with the individual’s sex identification, aside from intercourse at delivery. Whenever possible, utilize the pronoun preferred by that each (ex: somebody who was created male but identifies as feminine would utilize the pronoun “she. ”)

  • “Transgender” is an adjective, therefore don’t use “transgender” as being a noun. Utilization of the term “transsexual” is normally frustrated.
  • Prevent the term sex that is“opposite” which implies strong differences between sexes. Utilize “other sex. ”
  • Avoid“man” that is using “mankind” to refer to all the of humanity. Alternatives: people, humankind, individuals, individuals.
  • Specify the sex of a professional (ex: girl medical practitioner, male nursing assistant). Only if required towards the conversation.
  • Utilize termsfor that is gender-neutral whenever feasible (ex: postal worker rather than mailman, firefighter rather than fireman, homemaker rather than housewife).
  • With the expression “he or she” or alternating sex pronouns is appropriate, but decreases quality. Because ‘they’ is plural, don’t use ‘they’ instead of the gendered single pronouns, ‘he, she. ’ Preferably, rephrase the phrase in order to avoid gender 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 someone. Make use of them within the appropriate contexts, and constantly select the pronoun that individuals used to explain on their own.

Methods 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 for the value of their guidance.

  • Rephrase the phrase to get rid of sex pronoun.
    • Preferred: The judge that is best of this value of guidance is often the customer.
  • Utilize plural pronouns.
    • Preferred: Consumers are the greatest judges associated with worth of their guidance.
  • Substitute a possessive pronoun with a write-up.
    • Preferred: customers are often the greatest judges of this value of a counseling session.
  • Omit the pronoun.
    • Preferred: Consumers usually are the greatest judges for the 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.


Rather than an individual’s gender, sexual orientation (never “sexual preference”) pertains to the sex one is drawn to (actually, romantically, emotionally). Reference the terms that are following identities, never as“lifestyles. ”

Gay: adj. To spell it out some body interested in folks of the exact same sex. 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 spell it out women who are drawn to other females. “Lesbian” can be utilized as a noun; some females additionally identify as “gay females. ” Become clear you might be including both women and men, you could utilize “gay guys and ladies” or “gay guys and lesbians” in place of “gay individuals. ”

Bisexual: adj. To spell it out a person who may be interested in individuals of their very own sex or any other. Plural type is “bisexual individuals. ”

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

Heterosexual: adj. To spell it out somebody who is drawn to individuals of other genders. “Straight” is appropriate but reasonably casual.

LGBT: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender. This acronym is usually used to refer to all or any of the social individuals as a bunch. Make use of an acronym as long as you can not be much more particular. Remember that it provides transgender individuals, who is able to have intimate orientation. If you would like refer and then individuals who are perhaps perhaps not heterosexual, usually do not through the “T. ” Additionally be conscious that there isn’t an individual, all-encompassing LGBT experience or worldview; you may acknowledge this through the use of a phrase like “some people of 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”),.

Intimate minorities: could possibly be utilized to people that are non-heterosexual. This term just isn’t in extensive usage, so define how you’re utilizing it the very first time it seems.

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


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

The authors of the handout, M.E. Ficarra ’15, Olivia Valcarce ’15, and Sharon Williams, composing Center Director, acknowledge the next due to 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. When you yourself have ideas for revisions to the handout, please contact the composing Center.


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