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LGBTIQ+ Inclusive language guide

This guide explains some of the ways we can use language and other practices to ensure our LGBTIQ+ students feel safe and included.

Communication plays an important role in creating a place to work and study which is free of discrimination based on sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.

Unless gender is relevant, aim to use gender-inclusive language and avoid making assumptions about someone’s gender based on name or physical features. People have different ways in which they prefer to be spoken to or about. If you are unsure of a person’s preferred terms, pronouns or identifiers, respectfully ask them.

Avoid using gendered pronouns such as ‘he’ or ‘she’. Instead, use ‘they,’ ‘them’ or ‘their’ – or simply refer to them by their name. For example, instead of 'I met him/her yesterday' you could say 'I met [the person’s name] yesterday' or 'I met them yesterday'.

Avoid masculine and feminine forms of nouns. For example, ‘staff’ instead of ‘manpower,’, ‘chairperson’ or ‘chair’ instead of ‘chairman’.

Some people choose to be known at university by a name that isn’t their birth or legal name. This can be recorded in the preferred name field in StudentConnect and used through most of our systems. Unless there is a reason that you need to use their birth or legal name, refer to the person by the name they have nominated.

Consider whether you need the person’s title. Do you want to use this for formality? Historically titles were used to signify a person’s marital status, professional position and/or gender. These days someone’s marital status is generally not necessary information. If you feel it is necessary to include titles, ensure that you also include Mx for those who identify as non-binary or gender diverse.

Inclusive language Gendered language
They/their – gender-inclusive pronouns He/him, she/hers
Partner Boyfriend/girlfriend
Parent/guardian Mother/father
Welcome everyone Welcome ladies and gentlemen
Office staff Girls/boys in the office
Chair Chairman
Sexual orientation Sexual preference
Rainbow family/family Lesbian/gay family
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