This handout is an endeavor to aid guide authors within the range of appropriate language to utilize whenever currently talking about groups of men and women.

This handout is an endeavor to aid guide authors within the range of appropriate language to utilize whenever currently talking about groups of men and women.

General advice:

  • Assume an audience that is wide and take into account the effectation of the terms you employ on the market. Perform some terms imply a judgment? Will be the terms prone to offend? In that case, rephrase.
  • simply simply Take duty for the language alternatives. The very first time making use of a term that would be misinterpreted/considered improper, consist of a rationale for the choice, such as for example with the addition of a footnote that especially describes the expression for your purposes and context.
  • Just use the language that is required to the context: usage “female firefighters” only when you will be especially talking about that sex for the reason that career. Distinctions should really be noted only if relevant.
  • Prevent terms that evaluate, which may indicate inferiority/superiority, such as for instance “low course.”
  • Make use of the appropriate amount of specificity: “Dominicans” in place of “Hispanics.”
  • Concentrate on individuals in the place of on a technique of categorization: “people with psychological illness” instead of “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 not sure of exactly just just what language to utilize, 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: classification of an individual as female or male according to biological faculties (intercourse chromosomes, hormones, reproductive systems).

Gender: classification of an individual as female or male centered on social or characteristics that are cultural.

Transgender: an adjective describing those whoever sex identification or expression doesn’t match the sex that is biological were 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 element of a more substantial change procedure. Could be shortened 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 sex at birth fits their identified sex.

Transgender woman: 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 care against it as it privileges assigned intercourse over identified intercourse.

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

Non-binary individual: somebody who identifies outside the female/male binary, i.e., will not solely recognize 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 female 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.
  • Steer clear of the term “opposite intercourse,” which implies strong differences when considering sexes. Make use of “other sex.”
  • Avoid“man” that is using “mankind” to mention to all of humanity. Options: people, humankind, people, individuals.
  • Specify the intercourse of a professional (ex: woman medical practitioner, male nursing assistant).only if required into the conversation.
  • Utilize gender-neutral termsfor professions whenever feasible (ex: postal worker as opposed to mailman, firefighter in place of fireman, homemaker in the place of 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 to prevent sex pronouns.
  • Some trans people, and certain 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. Make use of them into the appropriate contexts, and constantly select 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 instructions for impartial Language: Sample problematic phrase: the customer is often the judge that is best of this worth of their guidance.

  • Rephrase the sentence to eradicate sex pronoun.
    • Preferred: The judge that is best of this value of guidance is often the client.
  • Use plural pronouns.
    • Preferred: Consumers are often top judges for the value of these guidance.
  • Substitute a possessive pronoun with articles.
    • Preferred: Consumers usually are the most effective judges of this value of a guidance session.
  • Omit the pronoun.
    • Preferred: Consumers are the very best judges regarding the value of guidance.


Instead of an individual’s gender, intimate orientation (never “sexual preference”) pertains to the sex one is drawn to (actually, romantically, emotionally). Relate to the after terms as identities, never as“lifestyles.”

Gay: adj. to spell it out some body drawn to folks of the gender that is same. Utilize “gay men,” or, to incorporate women and men, “gay individuals.” AVOID “homosexual,” as it was utilized derogatively within the past.

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

Bisexual: adj. to spell it out an individual who could be drawn to folks of their very own sex or any other. Plural type is “bisexual people.”

Same-sex: can be utilized 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 explain somebody who is drawn to folks of other genders. “Straight” is appropriate but relatively casual.

LGBT: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender. This acronym can be utilized to mention to all or any of those people as an organization. Make use of an acronym as long as you can’t become more certain. Keep in mind that it provides transgender individuals, who is able to have orientation that is sexual. If you’d like to refer simply to folks who are perhaps not heterosexual, usually do not range from the “T.” additionally be mindful that there isn’t an individual, all-encompassing LGBT experience or worldview; you may acknowledge this by utilizing a phrase like “some people of the LGBT community.” Other letters you may possibly see from the end with this acronym are Q (“queer” or “questioning”), we (“intersex”), or perhaps a (“asexual” or often “allies”).

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 maybe perhaps not universally accepted since it has been utilized derogatively within the past. Avoid this term until you understand 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 plus the Scapegoating of Femininity. Nyc: Seal Press, 2007. Printing

The writers for this handout, M.E. Ficarra ’15, Olivia Valcarce ’15, and Sharon Williams, composing Center Director, acknowledge listed here with regards 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.

Once we have actually stated, language is complex and evolving. For those who have ideas for revisions for this handout, please contact the composing Center.

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