On Gender Neutral Language: Pronouns and an introduction/refresher on Singular They
World Pride Sydney 2023 recently came to an end and the pride flags have been taken down from Wynyard Station (already!?), but that is no indicator to taper off efforts towards a more inclusive workplace.
There are some non-inclusive usage of pronouns scattered throughout documentation in our codebase. Some of these are from legacy/external sources, whilst there are some occurrences from recent patches; it follows that there may be few resources on inclusive language available.
Let's highlight that
he/she are not as
inclusive as one might (initially) think. While these are the two most
identified-with pronouns in the population, it still represents a mere
cross-section of society. They mention exactly two pronouns, whereas a list
of all possible pronouns is intrinsically non-exhaustive; gender identities
can be thought of as a spectrum.
a) when referring to a generic person whose gender is unknown or irrelevant to the context and
b) when referring to a specific, known person who uses
theyas their pronoun.
For our case, we can simply switch out
his/hers, etc for
For a more complete guide on bias-free language, I highly recommend reading through the APA Style Guidelines for Gender. If you're interested, here are more resources for further reading on related topics:
- ACM: Words Matter
- UNSW EDI: LGBTIQ+ Inclusive Language & Pronouns
- ACON TransHub: Pronouns
- Merriam-Webster: Singular 'They'
- Biol Invasions Editorial: Words matter: how to increase gender and LGBTQIA+ inclusivity at Biological Invasions, 10.1007/s10530-021-02665-7
Perma.cc stores permanent records of cited sources for academics/law. If a link above becomes unavailable, you can use a mirror below. However, if a linked resource is no longer accessible, it is probably a good indicator that it has been deprecated in favour of better guidelines and you should seek those out.