This handout is an attempt to simply help guide authors within the selection of acceptable 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 in your audience. Perform some terms imply a judgment? Would be the terms prone to offend? If that’s the case, rephrase.
  • Just simply just Take obligation for the language alternatives. The very first time making use of a term that could be misinterpreted/considered inappropriate, include a rationale for the option, such as for instance by 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 might be especially discussing that sex in that occupation. Distinctions should always be noted only if appropriate.
  • Prevent terms that evaluate, that may indicate inferiority/superiority, such as for instance “low course.”
  • Make use of the appropriate level of specificity: “Dominicans” in the 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 may have to utilize dated terminology in speaking about the topic in historic context, but utilize modern language in your analysis.

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


Intercourse: category of someone as man or woman centered on biological traits (intercourse chromosomes, hormones, reproductive systems).

Gender: category of an individual as man or woman according to social or social traits.

Transgender: an adjective describing those whoever sex identification or expression doesn’t match the sex that is biological were 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 more substantial transition procedure. Might 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 non-transgender individual – somebody whose assigned intercourse at birth fits their identified intercourse.

Transgender girl: someone assigned male at birth but who lives and identifies as a lady. The abbreviation MTF (male-to-female) works extremely well, however some caution it privileges assigned sex over identified sex against it because.

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 care it privileges assigned sex over identified sex against it because.

Non-binary person: an individual who identifies outside the female/male binary, i.e., will not exclusively determine as a female 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, irrespective of intercourse at birth. 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 do not use “transgender” as a noun. Utilization of the term “transsexual” is usually discouraged.
  • Prevent the term “opposite intercourse,” which implies strong differences when considering sexes. Utilize “other sex.”
  • Avoid“man” that is using “mankind” to mention to all of mankind. Options: people, humankind, individuals, individuals.
  • Specify the intercourse of a professional (ex: woman physician, male nursing assistant).only if required towards the discussion.
  • Utilize gender-neutral termsfor professions whenever feasible (ex: postal worker in the place of mailman, firefighter in place of fireman, homemaker in place of housewife).
  • Utilising the phrase “he or she” or alternating sex pronouns is appropriate, but reduces quality. Because ‘they’ is plural, don’t use ‘they’ rather than the gendered single pronouns, ‘he, she.’ preferably, rephrase the phrase in order 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 used to a person. Utilize them within the appropriate contexts, and constantly pick the pronoun that folks used 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 Unbiased Language: test problematic phrase: the customer is often the most readily useful judge of this value of their counseling.

  • Rephrase the phrase to get rid of sex pronoun.
    • Preferred: The most useful judge of this value of guidance is often the customer.
  • Utilize plural pronouns.
    • Preferred: customers usually are the most effective judges associated with value of their guidance.
  • Substitute a possessive pronoun with a write-up.
    • Preferred: customers are often the most effective judges associated with the value of a guidance session.
  • Omit the pronoun.
    • Preferred: customers are often the very best judges regarding the worth of guidance.


In the place of an individual’s gender, intimate orientation (never “sexual preference”) pertains to the gender a person is drawn to (actually, romantically, emotionally). Reference 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 add gents and ladies, “gay individuals.” AVOID “homosexual,” as it’s been utilized derogatively within the past.

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

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

Same-sex: may be used as an adj. to change words like “couple“marriage or”.” It is more accurate and comprehensive than “gay” or “lesbian” as it can certainly make reference to either sex and includes people that are bisexual same-sex relationships.

Heterosexual: adj. to spell it out somebody who is interested in individuals of other genders. “Straight” is appropriate but reasonably casual.

LGBT: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender. This acronym can be utilized to mention to all the of those individuals as a bunch. Make use of an acronym only when you can not become more particular. Remember that it provides transgender individuals, who is able to have orientation that is sexual. If you would like refer and then people that are perhaps 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 making use of a phrase like “some people in the LGBT community.” Other letters you may possibly see in the end with this acronym are Q (“queer” or “questioning”), we (“intersex”), or even a (“asexual” or often “allies”).

Sexual minorities: could possibly be utilized to non-heterosexual individuals. This term just isn’t in extensive usage, therefore define how you’re deploying it the time that is first seems.

Queer: adj. that is used by some LGBT individuals, it is perhaps maybe not universally accepted since 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 associated with 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 for 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.

Even as we have actually stated, language is complex and evolving. The writing Center if you have suggestions for revisions to this handout, please contact.