How to Use Gender-Neutral Words is a topic more of us are discussing lately, and to be honest, it’s difficult to come up with appropriate terms for every label we’ve ever known. With more people identifying as nonbinary, transgender, or cisgender, our labels are quickly losing ground, and we need to find appropriate terms. Often, people are open enough that they are willing to answer a question about what they’d prefer to be called, but often, you might feel the need to know someone well enough to ask. The writers at Teen Vogue did it for us…and they’re amazing! Some are a bit tricky to get used to, but practice makes perfect!
Remember when your primary school teacher used to say “Good morning, boys and girls”? I can’t quite picture a teacher opening a class with “Good morning, Kiddos”, but maybe? Print the list and start using the terms.
But this story is soooo thorough, it goes beyond simply what to call a nonbinary person. They discuss:
- using nonbinary terms even when there are no non-binary people present
- keeping other people accountable for their language, not as a scold, but as a teaching tool
- how even people who don’t identify as nonbinary or cisgender can be offended by binary language (They use our favourite example of women being grouped by a word such as “ladies”, because it implies a gender stereotype.)
Take a few minutes to review the list and read the article closely. It will open your eyes. Bravo, Teen Vogue!