General advice:

  • Assume an extensive market, and think about the effectation of the terms you utilize on your own market. Perform some terms imply a judgment? Will be the terms more likely to offend? If so, rephrase.
  • Simply Take obligation for the language alternatives. The very first time utilizing a term that could be misinterpreted/considered improper, add a rationale for the option, such as for example by the addition of a footnote that particularly defines the definition of for the purposes and context.
  • Just use the language this is certainly required to the context: usage “female firefighters” only when you might be especially speaking about that sex for the reason that career. Distinctions must certanly be noted only if appropriate.
  • Prevent terms that evaluate, that may indicate inferiority/superiority, such as for example “low course.”
  • Utilize the appropriate level of specificity: “Dominicans” in the place of “Hispanics.”
  • Give attention to individuals in the place of on an approach of categorization: “people with psychological disease” as opposed to “the mentally sick.”
  • Whenever talking about some topics, you may need certainly to utilize dated terminology in talking about the niche in historic context, but utilize modern language in your analysis.

If uncertain of exactly what language to utilize, consult your teacher, classmates, and current readings that are academic the control, which may very well make use of terms appropriate to your control.


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

Gender: category of someone as female or male centered on social or characteristics that are cultural.

Transgender: an adjective describing those whoever sex identification or phrase doesn’t match the biological intercourse they had been assigned at delivery. A transgender person may or might not go through hormones therapy or intercourse reassignment surgery, and intervention that is medical considered only one element of a bigger change procedure. Might be shortened to “trans” or “trans*” in certain instances. The asterisk emphasizes that lots of identities that are different underneath the larger transgender umbrella term.

Cisgender: an adjective describing a non-transgender individual – some body whose assigned dating an latin sex at birth fits their identified intercourse.

Transgender girl: an individual assigned male at delivery but who lives and identifies as a female. The abbreviation MTF (male-to-female) works extremely well, many 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) works extremely well, many caution it privileges assigned sex over identified sex against it because.

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

Favored Language of Sex

When currently talking about a transgender individual, use nouns and pronouns in keeping with the individual’s sex identity, no matter sex at delivery. Whenever possible, make use of the pronoun preferred by that each (ex: an individual 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 normally frustrated.
  • Steer clear of the term sex that is“opposite” which implies strong differences when considering sexes. Make use of “other sex.”
  • Stay away from “man” or “mankind” to refer to all of mankind. Options: people, 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 in place of mailman, firefighter in place of fireman, homemaker in place of housewife).
  • Utilizing the expression “he or she” or alternating sex pronouns is appropriate, but decreases quality. Because ‘they’ is plural, don’t use ‘they’ as opposed to the gendered single pronouns, ‘he, she.’ preferably, rephrase the sentence in order to avoid 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 a person. Utilize them into the appropriate contexts, and constantly pick the pronoun that individuals used to explain on their own.

Ways of Avoid Gender Pronouns from the APA General tips for Reducing Bias, with examples through the APA instructions for impartial Language: test problematic phrase: your client is often the judge that is best associated with the value of their guidance.

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


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

Gay: adj. to spell it out someone drawn to folks of the gender that is same. Make use of “gay men,” or, to incorporate women and men, “gay individuals.” AVOID “homosexual,” as it is often utilized derogatively in past times.

Lesbian: adj. to spell it out women who are drawn to other ladies. “Lesbian” may be used being a noun; some females also identify as “gay ladies.” Become clear you might be including both women and men, you could make use of men that are“gay ladies” or “gay guys and lesbians” in place of “gay individuals.”

Bisexual: adj. to spell it out a person who could be interested in folks of their gender that is own or. Plural type is “bisexual individuals.”

Same-sex: may be used 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 bisexual people in same-sex relationships.

Heterosexual: adj. to explain a person who is drawn to folks of other genders. “Straight” is appropriate but reasonably informal.

LGBT: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender. This acronym is oftentimes used to mention to all the among these individuals as a bunch. Make use of an acronym only when you can’t be much more particular. 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 those who are 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 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: might be used 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. which has been used by some LGBT individuals, it is maybe maybe perhaps not universally accepted given that it has been utilized derogatively into the past. Avoid this term unless you understand the individual you’re authoring self-identifies as “queer.”


Publication handbook for the United states Psychological Association, 6th version. Washington, DC: United States Emotional Association. 2010. Print. Serano, Julia. Whipping Girl: A Transsexual girl on Sexism in addition to 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 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.

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

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