This handout is an attempt to greatly help guide authors into the range of appropriate language to make use of whenever authoring groups of men and women.

General advice:

  • Assume an audience that is wide and take into account the aftereffect of the terms you utilize on your own market. Perform some terms imply a judgment? Will be the terms prone to offend? If that's the case, rephrase.
  • Simply simply Take duty for the language alternatives. The time that is first a term that would be misinterpreted/considered improper, come with a rationale for the option, such as for example with the addition of a footnote that especially describes the word for the purposes and context.
  • Just use the language this is certainly essential to the context: use “female firefighters” only when you may be especially talking about that sex for the reason that occupation. 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.”
  • Concentrate on individuals in place of on an approach of categorization: “people with psychological disease” as opposed to “the mentally sick.”
  • When speaking about some topics, you may need certainly to utilize dated terminology in talking about the niche in historic context, but utilize contemporary language in your analysis.

If not sure of exactly just what language to utilize, consult your teacher, classmates, and present readings that are academic the control, which will probably utilize terms appropriate towards the control.


Sex: category of someone as man or woman according to biological traits (intercourse chromosomes, hormones, reproductive systems).

Gender: category of someone as female or male according to social or social traits.

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 hormones therapy or intercourse reassignment surgery, and medical intervention is considered only one section of a more substantial change procedure. Could be reduced to “trans” or “trans*” in certain instances. The asterisk emphasizes that lots of various identities fall underneath the bigger transgender umbrella term.

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

Transgender girl: an individual assigned male at birth but who lives and identifies as a lady. The abbreviation MTF (male-to-female) can be utilized, many care it privileges assigned sex over identified sex against it because.

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

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

Favored Language of Sex

Whenever currently talking about a transgender individual, usage nouns and pronouns in keeping with the individual’s sex identification, irrespective of intercourse at delivery. Whenever possible, utilize the pronoun preferred by that each (ex: an individual who was born male but identifies as feminine would make use of 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 sex that is“opposite” which implies strong differences when considering sexes. Utilize sex that is“other.”
  • Avoid “man” or “mankind” to refer to all or any of mankind. Options: people, humankind, people, individuals.
  • Specify the intercourse of the professional (ex: girl physician, male nursing assistant).only if necessary towards the discussion.
  • Utilize termsfor that is gender-neutral whenever feasible (ex: postal worker rather than mailman, firefighter in place of fireman, homemaker as opposed to housewife).
  • Utilising the expression “he or she” or alternating sex pronouns is acceptable, but decreases quality. Because ‘they’ is plural, don't use ‘they’ rather than the gendered single pronouns, ‘he, she.’ Preferably, rephrase the phrase in order to avoid sex pronouns.
  • Some trans people, and particular disciplines 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 when you look at the appropriate contexts, and constantly pick the pronoun that folks used to explain by themselves.

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

  • Rephrase the phrase to get rid of sex pronoun.
    • Preferred: The judge that is best associated with the worth of guidance is often the customer.
  • Make use of plural pronouns.
    • Preferred: customers usually are the most effective judges associated with the value of these guidance.
  • Substitute a pronoun that is possessive an article.
    • Preferred: customers are often the greatest judges for the worth of a guidance session.
  • Omit the pronoun.
    • Preferred: Consumers are the most effective judges associated with 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). Make reference to the after terms as identities, never as“lifestyles.”

Gay: adj. to spell it out some body drawn to folks of the exact same sex. Make use of “gay men,” or, to add people, “gay individuals.” AVOID “homosexual,” as it is often utilized derogatively in past times.

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

Bisexual: adj. to spell it out somebody who may be interested in people of their gender that is own or. 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 people that are bisexual same-sex relationships.

Heterosexual: adj. to spell it out a person who is drawn to folks of other genders. “Straight” is appropriate but reasonably casual.

LGBT: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender. This acronym can be utilized to mention to any or all of those individuals as an organization. Make use of an acronym only when you can't become more certain. Keep in mind that it provides transgender individuals, who are able to have intimate orientation. Should you want to refer and then folks who are maybe maybe not heterosexual, try not to range from the “T.” Additionally be conscious that there isn't an individual, all-encompassing LGBT experience or worldview; you could acknowledge this using a phrase like “some people of the LGBT community.” Other letters which you might see regarding the end for this acronym are Q (“queer” or “questioning”), we (“intersex”), or perhaps a (“asexual” or often “allies”).

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

Queer: adj. that is adopted by some LGBT individuals, it is perhaps not universally accepted since it has been utilized derogatively within the past. Avoid this term until you understand the individual you’re authoring self-identifies as “queer.”


Publication handbook regarding the American Psychological Association, 6th version. Washington, DC: United States Emotional Association. 2010. Print. Serano, Julia. Whipping Girl: A Transsexual girl on Sexism as well as the Scapegoating of Femininity. Ny: Seal Press, 2007. Printing

The authors of the 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 said, language is evolving and complex. For those who have ideas for revisions to the handout, please contact the composing Center.