©2019 American Association of Corporate Gender Strategists

"We don't really say that anymore."

(DON'T LET THE TIMES MOVE ON WITHOUT YOU.)

Using a dated or now-offensive term can cause even the best leaders to come across as less than kind, effective, or "with-it." ​

Welcome to our community-vetted, advocate-tested guide:

Identity words for the modern American workplace

Gender

Via Emily Howe, corporategender.org

It is still perfectly acceptable to use "woman" and "women."

 

"Womxn" is an alternative term for the English language words "woman" and "women." Regularly in use since 2015, the "x" in "womxn" is meant to indicate other intersectional barriers women face aside from sexism, and to explicitly include transgender women and women of color. More on Wikipedia.

NOT FOR PROFESSIONAL USE

Avoid to remain kind and inclusive:

  • “A transgender”, “A trans” (transgender is an adjective, instead say “transgender person”, “trans woman”, or “trans man”)

  • “Tranny”, “transvestite” (say, “trans person” “someone in the transgender community”)

  • “Female-to-male” /“FTM” or "Male-to-female" /“MTF” (Just let people share their gender stories. Plus, no one likes their past drug up all the time: "Maria the partygirl-turned-politician" or "Charles-who-used-to-be a great runner") 

  • “Pre-op" or “Post-op” (Don’t think about someone’s parts; focus on their name, personality, and work/hobbies.) 

Orientation

Via Emily Howe, corporategender.org

If you can't remember "all the letters" in LBGTQAI+ or their exact order- it's okay. The Pride community has many different versions. The best practice is to use the ones you remember. What counts is allies speaking up about LBGTQ+ concerns.

NOT FOR PROFESSIONAL USE

Avoid to remain kind and inclusive:

  • “Homosexual” (use “gay”, “lesbian”)

  • “Sexual preference” (“sexual orientation”, or increasingly just “orientation”)

  • “Gay lifestyle” - it’s just a life

  • “Gay relationship” – it’s just a relationship

  • “Gay wedding” – it’s just a wedding

  • “Queer” - unless you're queer yourself; instead, use “Pride Community” or “LGBTQ+”

Ability

Via Stasi Bacigalupo, inclusivision 

In many communities, we are experiencing a transition to "Identity-first language" from the "people-first language" that was recently considered the best practice. This is especially true in the Autistic community.

The key here is to take your lead from the person who is in the community or has a disability themselves. 

 

Identity-first language would be “Jennifer is Autistic” "I am disabled" "I am a woman"

"People-first language" places the person before a diagnosis/condition, describing what a person "has" rather than what a person "is", such as “Jennifer has or lives with Autism” or I am someone who has a disability."

Gender

IDENTITY-FIRST LANGUAGE

NEURODIVERSITY

"Neurodivergent"/"neurodiverse" are an increasingly common way to refer to people who have a brain that is developmentally different and/or "a mental illness" (“Mental health disability” and “mental illness” are being replaced by "neurodivergent" and "neurodiverse")

NOT FOR PROFESSIONAL USE

Avoid to remain kind and inclusive:

  • Do not correct someone with a disability who calls themself something that you don't agree with. People get to self-define.

Please share additional words you'd like addressed: