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Using gender-inclusive language shows that you are welcoming to trans, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming people. And it’s really easy to do: 

  • Avoid using “sir” or “ma’am.”
    Examples: Greet people with, “Good morning,” “Hi there,” or "How are you today?" To get someone’s attention, you can just say “excuse me.”
  • Replace “ladies and gentlemen” with “everyone” or “folks.” Or, just skip it.
    Examples: If you’re starting a video meeting, say “Welcome, everyone.” Or, if you’re an emcee on a stage, just say “Welcome!” 
  • Replace “you guys” with “everyone,” “you all,” or the number of people you’re referring to. Examples: If you’re with a group of your friends, say “What are you three up to?” Or, if you’re leaving a party, you can say, “See you all later!”
  • Replace “boys and girls” with “kids” or “students.”
    Examples: If you’re a teacher, address your class as students. If you’re a parent, address your children and their friends as kids. 
  • Replace “women and men” with “people” when possible.
    Examples: Say “people who can get pregnant” instead of women, if that’s what you mean. 
  • Skip gendered titles like “Mr.” or “Ms.” in emails and letters. Instead, use people's first and last names, and save courtesy titles until after you ask what theirs is.
  • Replace gendered job titles with gender-inclusive ones.
    • stewardess and steward → flight attendant
    • waitress and waiter → server
    • policewoman and policeman → police officer
    • saleswoman and salesman → salesperson or sales representative
  • Don’t assume the gender of someone you’ve never met — you can use “they/them” until you know their pronouns.
    Example: when making an appointment with a nurse or doctor, say, “When can I see them?”
  • Always use the correct pronouns when talking to or about someone.
    If you don’t know their pronouns, just ask. Or say, “My pronouns are she/her, what are yours?”

Learn more about terms, labels, and language related to transgender identities.

Tags: transgender, nonbinary, gender-neutral, unisex, what do I say, words to use

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