This handout is an attempt to greatly help guide article writers when you look at the range of acceptable language to utilize whenever currently talking about groups of men and women.

This handout is an attempt to greatly help guide article writers when you look at the range of acceptable language to utilize whenever currently talking about groups of men and women.

General advice:

  • Assume an extensive market, and consider the effectation of the terms you employ in your market. Perform some terms imply a judgment? Would be the terms very likely to offend? If that’s the case, rephrase.
  • Simply just simply Take duty for the language alternatives. The very first time making use of a term that would be misinterpreted/considered inappropriate, add a rationale for the option, such as for instance by the addition of a footnote that particularly describes the expression for the purposes and context.
  • Only use the language that is required to the context: usage “female firefighters” only when you might be especially talking about that sex for the reason that career. Distinctions must be noted only if appropriate.
  • Prevent terms that evaluate, that may indicate inferiority/superiority, such as for instance “low course.”
  • Utilize the degree that is appropriate of: “Dominicans” in place of “Hispanics.”
  • Give attention to individuals in the place of on a way of categorization: “people with mental disease” as opposed to “the mentally sick.”
  • Whenever talking about some topics, you might have to utilize dated terminology in talking about the niche in historic context, but utilize modern language in your analysis.

If uncertain of exactly exactly just what language to make use of, consult your teacher, classmates, and current scholastic readings in the discipline, which may very well utilize terms appropriate into the control.


Intercourse: category of an individual as man or woman predicated on biological faculties (intercourse chromosomes, hormones, reproductive systems).

Gender: category of an individual as female or male according to social or characteristics that are cultural.

Transgender: an adjective describing those whoever sex identification or phrase will not match the biological sex they had been assigned at delivery. A transgender individual may or might not undergo hormones therapy or intercourse reassignment surgery, and intervention that is medical considered only one section of a more substantial change procedure. Can be reduced to “trans” or “trans*” in certain circumstances. The asterisk emphasizes that numerous identities that are different beneath the bigger transgender umbrella term.

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

Transgender girl: an individual assigned male at delivery but who lives and identifies as a lady. 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 delivery but who lives and identifies as a person. The abbreviation FTM (female-to-male) works extremely well, many care against it as 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 female or as a guy. a term that is alternate “genderqueer.”

Favored Language of Sex

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

  • “Transgender” is an adjective, so don’t use “transgender” as a noun. Utilization of the term “transsexual” is normally frustrated.
  • Prevent the term “opposite intercourse,” which implies strong differences when considering sexes. Utilize “other sex.”
  • Avoid“man” that is using “mankind” to refer to any or all of mankind. Options: humans, humankind, people, individuals.
  • Specify the intercourse of the professional (ex: girl physician, male nursing assistant).only if required towards the conversation.
  • Utilize gender-neutral termsfor vocations whenever possible (ex: postal worker as opposed to mailman, firefighter rather than fireman, homemaker as opposed to housewife).
  • Utilising 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 to prevent sex pronouns.
  • Some trans people, and particular procedures such 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. Utilize them into the contexts that are appropriate and constantly select the pronoun that folks use to explain on their own.

Methods of Avoid Gender Pronouns through the APA General instructions for Reducing Bias, with examples through the APA recommendations for impartial Language: test problematic phrase: the customer is often the judge that is best associated with value of their guidance.

  • Rephrase the phrase to eradicate sex pronoun.
    • Preferred: The most useful judge regarding the worth of guidance is often the customer.
  • Utilize plural pronouns.
    • Preferred: customers are the greatest judges for the worth of their guidance.
  • Substitute a possessive pronoun with articles.
    • Preferred: Consumers usually are the most effective judges of this worth of a guidance session.
  • Omit the pronoun.
    • Preferred: Consumers are often top judges associated with the value of guidance.


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

Gay: adj. to spell it out some body drawn to folks of the exact same gender. Make use of “gay men,” or, to incorporate gents and ladies, “gay individuals.” AVOID “homosexual,” as it is often used derogatively into the past.

Lesbian: adj. to spell it out ladies who are interested in other ladies. “Lesbian” can be utilized as being a noun; some females additionally identify as “gay ladies.” Become clear you will be including men and women, you may make use of men that are“gay women” or “gay guys and lesbians” in the place of “gay individuals.”

Bisexual: adj. to explain a person who may be interested in folks of their very own sex or any other. Plural kind is “bisexual individuals.”

Same-sex: may be used being an adj. to change terms like “couple“marriage or”.” It is 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 spell it out a person who is drawn to individuals of other genders. “Straight” is appropriate but fairly casual.

LGBT: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender. This acronym is frequently utilized to refer to all of those individuals as friends. Make use of an acronym as long as you can not be much more particular. Observe that it provides transgender individuals, who is able to have orientation that is sexual. If you wish to refer simply to people that are maybe maybe perhaps not heterosexual, try not to are the “T.” Additionally be conscious that there isn’t an individual, all-encompassing LGBT experience or worldview; you could acknowledge this by utilizing 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”),.

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

Queer: adj that is used by some LGBT individuals, but 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 for the United states Psychological Association, 6th edition. Washington, DC: United States Emotional Association. 2010. Print. Serano, Julia. Whipping Girl: A Transsexual girl on Sexism and also the Scapegoating of Femininity. Ny: Seal Press, 2007. Printing

The writers with this handout, M.E. Ficarra ’15, Olivia Valcarce ’15, and Sharon Williams, composing Center Director, acknowledge the next with regards to their aid 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 stated, language is evolving and complex. When you have ideas for revisions for this handout, please contact the Writing Center.

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