This handout is an attempt to simply help guide article writers within the range of appropriate language to utilize whenever currently talking about groups of individuals

General advice:

  • Assume an audience that is wide and take into account the effectation of the terms you employ on the market. Do the terms imply a judgment? Will be the terms very likely to offend? In that case, rephrase.
  • Simply just Take obligation for your language alternatives. The very first time utilizing a term that could be misinterpreted/considered improper, consist of a rationale for the option, such as with the addition of a footnote that especially describes the word for your purposes and context.
  • Only use the language that is essential to the context: usage “female firefighters” only if you may be particularly speaking about that gender for the reason that career. Distinctions must be noted only once appropriate.
  • Prevent terms that evaluate, which may indicate inferiority/superiority, such as for instance “low class. ”
  • Utilize the degree that is appropriate of: “Dominicans” in place of “Hispanics. ”
  • Give attention to individuals instead of on a technique of categorization: “people with psychological disease” as opposed to “the mentally sick. ”
  • When speaking about some topics, you may want to utilize dated terminology in speaking about the topic in historic context, but utilize contemporary language in your analysis.

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


Intercourse: category of an individual as female or male according to biological traits (intercourse chromosomes, hormones, reproductive systems).

Gender: category of someone as man or woman according to social or social faculties.

Transgender: an adjective describing those whoever sex identification or phrase will not 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 intervention that is medical considered just one single section of a more substantial change process. Can be reduced to “trans” or “trans*” in certain circumstances. The asterisk emphasizes that lots of various identities fall underneath the larger transgender umbrella term.

Cisgender: an adjective describing a person that is non-transgender somebody whose assigned intercourse at birth fits their identified sex.

Transgender girl: an individual assigned male at delivery but who lives and identifies as a female. The abbreviation MTF (male-to-female) can be utilized, however some caution it privileges assigned sex over identified sex against it because.

Transgender guy: someone assigned female at delivery but who lives and identifies as a guy. The abbreviation FTM (female-to-male) works extremely well, many care against it because it privileges assigned intercourse over identified intercourse.

Non-binary individual: someone who identifies outside the female/male binary, i.e., will not solely recognize as a lady or as a guy. 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 utilize the pronoun “she. ”)

  • “Transgender” is an adjective, therefore don’t use “transgender” as a noun. Utilization of the term “transsexual” is usually frustrated.
  • Prevent the term sex that is“opposite” which implies strong differences when considering sexes. Utilize “other sex. ”
  • Stay away from “man” or “mankind” to mention to all of mankind. Options: people, humankind, people, individuals.
  • Specify the intercourse of a professional (ex: girl medical practitioner, male nursing assistant). Only if required into the discussion.
  • Utilize termsfor that is gender-neutral whenever possible (ex: postal worker in place of mailman, firefighter in the place of fireman, homemaker in the place of housewife).
  • Utilising the expression “he or she” or alternating sex pronouns is appropriate, but decreases clarity. 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 contexts that are appropriate and always select the pronoun that folks used to explain by themselves.

Methods of Avoid Gender Pronouns through the APA General recommendations for Reducing Bias, with examples through the APA recommendations for impartial Language: test problematic sentence: your client is often the judge that is best associated with worth of their guidance.

  • Rephrase the phrase to eradicate gender pronoun.
    • Preferred: The judge that is best associated with value of guidance is often the customer.
  • Make use of plural pronouns.
    • Preferred: Consumers are often top judges associated with value of the guidance.
  • Replace a pronoun that is possessive articles.
    • Preferred: customers are often the very best judges associated with the value of a guidance session.
  • Omit the pronoun.
    • Preferred: customers usually are the greatest judges associated with value of guidance.

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


In the place of an individual’s gender, sexual orientation (never “sexual preference”) pertains to the gender a person is drawn to (actually, romantically, emotionally). Relate to the after terms as identities, never as“lifestyles. ”

Gay: adj. To explain some body drawn to folks of the exact same sex. Utilize “gay men, ” or, to add women and men, “gay individuals. ” AVOID “homosexual, ” as it is often utilized derogatively in past times.

Lesbian: adj. To spell it out ladies who are interested in other ladies. “Lesbian” may be used being a noun; some ladies additionally identify as “gay ladies. ” Become clear you might be including both women and men, you may make use of “gay guys and ladies” or “gay guys and lesbians” rather than “gay individuals. ”

Bisexual: adj. To explain an individual who may be drawn to folks of their very own sex or any other. Plural kind is “bisexual individuals. ”

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

Heterosexual: adj. To explain a person who is interested in folks of other genders. “Straight” is appropriate but reasonably casual.

LGBT: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender. a knockout post This acronym is oftentimes utilized to refer to all the of the individuals as an organization. Use an acronym only when you simply cannot be much more particular. Keep in mind that it provides transgender individuals, who are able to have orientation that is sexual. If you would like refer simply to those who are maybe maybe not heterosexual, try not to through the “T. ” additionally be mindful that there isn’t an individual, all-encompassing LGBT experience or worldview; you may acknowledge this making 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 is certainly not in extensive usage, therefore define how you’re utilizing it the time that is first seems.

Queer: adj. That’s been used by some LGBT individuals, it is perhaps perhaps maybe not universally accepted as it has been utilized derogatively into the past. Avoid this term until you know the individual writing that is you’re self-identifies as “queer. ”


Publication handbook of this United states Psychological Association, 6th version. Washington, DC: United States Emotional Association. 2010. Print. Serano, Julia. Whipping Girl: A Transsexual girl on Sexism and also the 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 with their assist in developing this handout: Krista Hesdorfer ’14; Amit Taneja, Director of Diversity & Inclusion; Allen Harrison, Assistant Dean of Students for International Students and Accessibility; and Professors Joyce Barry, Benjamin DiCicco-Bloom, Cara Jones, and Yvonne Zylan.

Once we have actually stated, language is complex and evolving. When you yourself have ideas for revisions to the handout, please contact the composing Center.