|Weekly News Digest
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Associated Press Promotes New Approaches to Gender in Reporting
The Associated Press (AP) Stylebook created new entries for the concept of gender and the usage of the words “they,” “them,” and “their.” The following are selections from these entries that reflect the progress society is making in being inclusive of people of all identities:
- Gender refers to a person’s social identity while sex refers to biological characteristics. Not all people fall under one of two categories for sex or gender, according to leading medical organizations, so avoid references to both, either or opposite sexes or genders as a way to encompass all people.
- Newsrooms and organizations outside AP may need to make decisions, based on necessity and audience, on terms that differ from or are not covered by AP’s specific recommendations. For instance, the AP recommends the term sex reassignment for the medical procedures used for gender transition, while some groups use the term gender confirmation instead. The AP allows for LGBT and LGBTQ to be used on first reference without spelling out the acronyms; some other organizations use LGBTQIA and other variations on first reference or without explanation.
- [The term] cisgender [m]ay be used if necessary to refer to people who are not transgender in stories about gender, as a means to distinguish people from one another. Use only with explanation. Do not use terms like normal to describe people who are not transgender. Cisgender refers to gender and is not synonymous with heterosexual, which refers to sexuality.
- They/them/their is acceptable in limited cases as a singular and/or gender-neutral pronoun, when alternative wording is overly awkward or clumsy. However, rewording usually is possible and always is preferable. Clarity is a top priority; gender-neutral use of a singular they is unfamiliar to many readers. We do not use other gender-neutral pronouns such as xe or ze.
- In stories about people who identify as neither male nor female or ask not to be referred to as he/she/him/her: Use the person’s name in place of a pronoun, or otherwise reword the sentence, whenever possible. If they/them/their use is essential, explain in the text that the person prefers a gender-neutral pronoun.
For more information, read the “gender” entry and the “they, them, their” entry (login required).
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