At St Philip, it is always people over words, but words are how we communicate. We strive for our words to be inclusive so that we share the love with Christ.
Terms and Definitions
Here is a list of sometimes unclear terms with definitions:
• SEX is assigned at birth based on external genitalia, reproductive organs, chromosomes, and hormones. People with ambiguous genitalia or other biological complexities (such as an unusual chromosomal pattern or hormonal shifts) may identify as INTERSEX.
• GENDER IDENTITY refers to a person’s innate, deeply felt psychological identification as a man, woman or another gender, which may or may not correspond to the sex assigned to them at birth. Gender identity is different from the term “gender”, which is typically used with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones.
• SEXUAL ORIENTATION: is the term used to describe what e gender(s) someone is physically and/or emotionally attracted to. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, queer, and straight are all examples of sexual orientations. A person’s SEXUAL ORIENTATION is distinct from a person’s GENDER IDENTITY and GENDER EXPRESSION.
• GENDER EXPRESSION refers to the external characteristics and behaviors that are socially defined as either masculine or feminine, such as dress, grooming, mannerisms, speech patterns and social interactions. These norms vary culturally.
• GENDER – The social aspects of sex. The classification of individuals as “male” or “female”, based on their perceived sex.
• GENDER ROLE – A set of perceived behavioral norms and expectations associated with females or males, in a given social group
• LGBTQIA+ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual or Aromantic, plus other marginalized groups.
• BISEXUAL is an identity term people use when they are physically and/or emotionally attracted to people of all gender identities. Some people prefer to use the terms pansexual or queer because bisexual has the connotation of “binary” with the “bi” language, although this was not the intention when the term was created for the community.
• TRANSGENDER is an identity many people use whose self-experienced gender does not match the sex they were assigned at birth. For example, a transgender person might be someone who identifies and lives as a woman but whose birth-assigned sex was male. Other transgender people identify as somewhere in between the societally recognized genders of man and woman, as neither, or as one gender at some times and another gender at other times.
o MISGENDERING – Referring to someone (especially a transgender person) using a word, especially a pronoun or form of address, that does not correctly reflect the gender in which they identify.
o DEAD NAMING – calling a transgender person by their former/birth name after it has been changed.
• CISGENDER is a term used to describe people who are not transgender. Cis is a Latin word meaning “on the same side.” Cisgender does not indicate SEX, GENDER EXPRESSION, GENDER IDENTITY or SEXUAL ORIENTATION.
• QUEER can be an umbrella term for the LGBTQ community. It can also refer to an individual’s SEXUAL ORIENTATION and/or GENDER IDENTITY. It is an identifier for all non-heterosexual orientations and non-cisgender identities.
• INTERSEX is an identity that people with ambiguous genitalia or other biological complexities (such as an unusual chromosomal pattern or hormonal shifts) may use. Some people have surgeries, early in life, to definitively assign them one anatomical sex. This surgery can result in a mismatch with one’s internal gender.
• ASEXUAL or AROMANTIC is an identity that a person who is not sexually attracted to anyone may use.
Inclusive Language and Personal Pronouns
Inclusive language is language that is free from words, phrases or tones that reflect prejudiced, stereotyped or discriminatory views of particular people or groups. It is also language that doesn’t deliberately or inadvertently exclude people from being seen as part of a group.
How can I be more inclusive and welcoming?
• Avoid using words, references and tone that unnecessarily identifies: race, sex, ethnicity, gender, and so on. For a complete inclusive language guide from WGBH, go to http://st-philip.org/wgbh-inclusive-language-guidelines/.
• Speak up when you hear “exclusive” or hurtful language. Keep it simple, “Hey, we don’t need to use that kind of language”.
• Try not to make assumptions, practice empathy, and most importantly, LISTEN!
What if I get it wrong?
• Accept that you will make mistakes. Do you best to try and get it right as often as you can!
• It is not that you can’t say anything, it’s that you should do your best to remember that what you say matters.
What are personal pronouns and why do they matter?
• In English, whether we realize it or not, people frequently refer to us using pronouns when speaking about us. Often, when speaking of a singular human in the third person, these pronouns have a gender implied — such as “he” to refer to a man/boy or “she” to refer to a woman/girl. These associations are not always accurate or helpful. For more information consider the definitions above.
• Using someone’s correct personal pronouns is a way to respect them and create an inclusive environment, just as using a person’s name can be a way to respect them. Just as it can be offensive or even harassing to make up a nickname for someone and call them that nickname against their will, it can be offensive or harassing to guess at someone’s pronouns and refer to them using those pronouns if that is not how that person wants to be known.
• When we refer to “personal” pronouns, we don’t mean that these pronouns are necessarily private information (generally they are not), we mean that they are pronouns referring to a unique and individual person.
How can I use personal pronouns?
• Consider using your own pronouns on name tags, email signatures, etc. as means to creating a safe space for others to share (Ex. Jane Doe She/Her/Hers).
• Not sure about someone’s pronouns? Ask them! “What are your pronouns?”
• Accept “they/them/their” as a singular pronoun. Other typical pronouns include “she/her/hers, he/him/ his, sie/hir/hirs and zie/zir/zirs. Here is a contrived sample sentence illustrating the usage of the 3rd person singular pronouns: “They visited them to see their new car for themself”.