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.

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 extensive market, and consider the aftereffect of the terms you employ on your own audience. Perform some terms imply a judgment? Will be the terms prone to offend? If that’s the case, rephrase.
  • Take duty 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 instance with the addition of a footnote that particularly describes the expression for the purposes and context.
  • Only use the language this is certainly essential to the context: usage “female firefighters” only when you will be particularly speaking about that gender for the reason that career. Differences must certanly be noted only if appropriate.
  • Prevent terms that evaluate, which may indicate inferiority/superiority, such as for example “low course.”
  • Make use of the degree that is appropriate of: “Dominicans” instead of “Hispanics.”
  • Concentrate on individuals in place of on a technique of categorization: “people with psychological disease” as opposed to “the mentally sick.”
  • Whenever speaking about some topics, you might want to utilize dated terminology in talking about the topic in historic context, but utilize modern language in your analysis.

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


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

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

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 might not go through hormone treatment or intercourse reassignment surgery, and medical intervention is considered only one element of a bigger change procedure. Could be shortened to “trans” or “trans*” in certain circumstances. The asterisk emphasizes that numerous identities that are different underneath 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: someone assigned male at delivery but who lives and identifies as a female. The abbreviation MTF (male-to-female) works extremely well, many 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 person. The abbreviation FTM (female-to-male) works extremely well, but some caution against it as it privileges assigned sex over identified intercourse.

Non-binary person: an individual who identifies not in the female/male binary, i.e., will not solely determine as a female or as a person. a alternative term is “genderqueer.”

Preferred Language of Sex

When currently talking about a transgender individual, usage nouns and pronouns in keeping with the individual’s sex identification, no matter intercourse at delivery. Whenever possible, make use of 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 being a noun. Utilization of the term “transsexual” is normally frustrated.
  • Steer clear of the term sex that is“opposite” which implies strong differences when considering sexes. Utilize “other sex.”
  • Stay away from “man” or “mankind” to refer to any or all of mankind. Options: people, humankind, individuals, individuals.
  • Specify the intercourse of a professional (ex: girl medical practitioner, male nursing assistant).only if required to your conversation.
  • Utilize gender-neutral termsfor vocations whenever feasible (ex: postal worker in place of mailman, firefighter as opposed to fireman, homemaker in place of housewife).
  • With the expression “he or she” or alternating sex pronouns is acceptable, but reduces clarity. Because ‘they’ is plural, don’t use ‘they’ as opposed to 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 when you look at the appropriate contexts, and constantly select the pronoun that folks used to explain on their own.

Ways of Avoid Gender Pronouns through the APA General tips for Reducing Bias, with examples through the APA tips for impartial Language: Sample problematic phrase: the customer is usually the most readily useful judge for the value of his guidance.

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


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

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

Lesbian: adj. to spell it out women that are interested in other ladies. “Lesbian” may be used as a noun; some females additionally identify as “gay females.” Become clear you might be including men and women, you could utilize men that are“gay ladies” or “gay men and lesbians” in place of “gay people.”

Bisexual: adj. to spell it out somebody who may be drawn to individuals of their very own sex or any other. Plural type 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 could make reference to either sex and includes people that are bisexual same-sex relationships.

Heterosexual: adj. to explain somebody who is drawn to mexican brides folks of other genders. “Straight” is appropriate but reasonably casual.

LGBT: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender. This acronym is usually utilized to mention to all the among these social individuals as a bunch. Make use of an acronym only when you simply can’t become more certain. Remember that it provides transgender individuals, who is able to have orientation that is sexual. Should you want to refer and then those who are perhaps not heterosexual, usually do not are the “T.” Additionally be conscious that there isn’t an individual, all-encompassing LGBT experience or worldview; you may acknowledge this by making use of a phrase like “some people in the LGBT community.” Other letters which you might see in the end with this acronym are Q (“queer” or “questioning”), we (“intersex”), or perhaps a (“asexual” or often “allies”).

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

Queer: adj. that is used by some LGBT individuals, it is maybe not universally accepted given that 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 associated with American Psychological Association, 6th version. Washington, DC: United States Emotional Association. 2010. Print. Serano, Julia. Whipping Girl: A Transsexual girl on Sexism while the Scapegoating of Femininity. Nyc: Seal Press, 2007. Print

The writers for this handout, M.E. Ficarra ’۱۵, Olivia Valcarce ’۱۵, and Sharon Williams, composing Center Director, acknowledge listed here due to their aid in developing this handout: Krista Hesdorfer ’۱۴; 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 recommendations for revisions for this handout, please contact the composing Center.

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