Princeton University Kindly Requests You Stop Using "Gender-Binary" Hate Speech Like "Freshman"

For those of you, like us, who are constantly putting your foot in your mouth with highly offensive terms like "businessman" instead of "businessperson" or "freshman" instead of "first-year student," Princeton University has published the perfect pamphlet to help you develop a more "gender-inclusive" vocabulary.  As Princeton points out, "gender-inclusive" language is much preferred to the traditional "gender-binary" language used by people in ancient times who largely identified as men OR women.  Can you imagine?  How could they live in such an unsafe space?

For those of you who are still unsure if your language is "gender-inclusive" compliant, Princeton offers the following definitions:

Gender-inclusive language is writing and speaking about people in a manner that does not use gender-based words.


Gender binary is the traditional view on human gender, which does not take into consideration individuals who identify as otherwise, including and not limited to transgender, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, and/or intersex.

Princeton also provides a number of helpful tools in the pamphlet, like the one below, which offers helpful "gender-inclusive" alternatives to traditional hate-speech terminology like "fireman," "freshman," "anchorman," and "headmistress." 



To the extent you're still having trouble with the practical application of the new terminology provided above, Princeton also took the liberty of providing examples of how to communicate with people without coming off as a "gender-binary" a-hole.

Replace gendered pronouns, e.g., he, him, his, and she, her, hers, by rewriting the text in the plural.
  • Example: Each participant must present his ID badge at the door.

  • Revised: All participants must present their ID badges at the door.

Eliminate the pronoun altogether.

  • Example: Each employee is expected to turn in his annual disclosure form by the deadline.

  • Revised: Employees are expected to turn in the annual disclosure forms by the deadline.

  • Example: The incumbent is expected to edit a variety of documents. She must also prepare weekly updates.

  • Revised: The incumbent is expected to edit a variety of documents and must also prepare a weekly update.

You can find the full guidelines from Princeton below. We truly hope you've found these to be helpful language tools that you can utilize in your everyday life.