Gender Neutral Terms You Need to Know

March 3, 2020

People deserve respect, no matter who they are or how well you know them. The strangers you pass on your way to work deserve as much respect as your closest friends. One of the ways to show people the respect they deserve is to use gender neutral terms when you can.

If someone asks not to be described by their biological gender, there is no reason why you shouldn’t accept that. However, it can get confusing when trying to find the right pronouns and terms to describe them. Luckily, it’s easier than it sounds — we already described them in a gender neutral way in the last sentence.

Using the word ‘them’ is the most common way to talk about nonbinary people. It’s an accepted way to acknowledge someone’s gender without resorting to strange, underused words. And there are tons of other ways to describe someone’s gender without insulting them, or excluding yourself from a conversation.

Keep reading below to learn about them!

Different Gender Neutral Terms Carry Different Connotations

It’s important to realize that the word you use to refer to someone can carry connotation with it. For example, there was once a time when strange pronouns like ‘xe’ were recommended as gender-neutral pronouns. Yet, most people who studied gender didn’t realize that those terms excluded people who weren’t familiar with the theories behind them.

Now, gender studies have evolved to accommodate everyone. Most modern terms have positive connotations associated with them and will reflect well on you for using them. All you need to do is research what those connotations may be; all you need to do is educate yourself.

Gender Neutral Terms Help Unite Oppressed People

The main purpose of gender neutral terms is to help unite an oppressed people who don’t feel like they fit in with most of society. It helps people unite under the non binary flag and know that they have a community of people around them.

By using a simple word, you can make someone feel accepted and included. It can help them feel more comfortable and safer in their environment, and make them more confident in themselves. It’s more than just a good thing to do; it can help a person out.

Partner is Safe in Romantic Contexts

Most people are used to describing people as either girlfriends or boyfriends in romantic contexts. Relationships are where a person’s gender is most evident, so it can be tough to describe a nonbinary person’s role in a relationship. This is why the term ‘partner’ is usually a good way to describe someone in a relationship with another.

It respects their gender while also communicates that they’re in a romantic relationship, based on the context you use it in.

Change Gendered Professions into Ones for People

Most people are used to using terms like ‘businessman’ or ‘anchorwoman.’ Unfortunately, these terms exclude nonbinary people and can be disrespectful when describing a person’s job. Instead of relying on ‘-man’ or ‘-woman,’ use ‘-person’ instead.
Describing someone as a ‘businessperson’ conveys information about their job, while also respecting their gender.

Using Gender Neutral Terms Shows Respect

There is never any reason not to show someone respect unless they do something disrespectful. Even then, you shouldn’t ever make fun of someone because of their gender. Gender neutral terms exist to accommodate people with nonbinary genders, and if someone prefers others to use them, then that’s what you should do.

And that’s just one part of being inclusive to LGBTQ people. To learn more about the LGBTQ community, just keep reading here!

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