The language around gender and sexuality has changed radically in the past few decades. The Australian Government’s newly revised Style Manual provides guidance for writers wanting to make their writing more inclusive.
Top of the list is the use of the pronoun ‘they’ in the singular, which should be used when someone’s gender is unknown. Gone is the clunky and reductive ‘he/she’, which shuts out non-binary people while looking unattractive.
When gender is known, pronoun usage should also include the singular ‘they’ and the title ‘Mx’ for non-binary and gender diverse people.
As ideas around gender and sexuality evolve, so should the language needed to describe it.
While the titles ‘Miss’ and ‘Mrs’ may have had their place in the past, ‘Ms’ better reflects contemporary society where marriage status is irrelevant.
Any gender-specific language should be avoided, especially in job titles. Choose police officer, host, firefighter, actor, and so on. ‘LGBTI’ or ‘LGBTQI+’ should be used to refer to those communities.
And looking forward, remain open to changes in language as they occur and follow the terms someone uses to describe themself.