Associated Press Style Guide Updates Gender Terminology, Suggests Avoiding Biological Sex


The Associated Press style guide – which sets the agenda for how most major media uses its words and phrases in reporting, thus shaping society views – has come out with new guidelines on gender.

The AP now instructs journalists to respect LGBTQ subjects’ preferred pronouns and to avoid terms like “biological sex.”

The new guide also suggested avoiding phrases like “both sexes,” indicating there are more than two that people use. Journalists should also avoid referring to a trans person as being born a boy or girl, with “sex assigned at birth” the new preferred usage.

The AP Style Guide update was headlined “Transgender Coverage Topical Guide.”

The guide began with some general advice, stating, “Gender terminology is vast and constantly evolving; a style guide can’t cover everything. Let your sources guide you on how they want to be identified, and then use your judgment to be both sensitive and accurate.”

The AP advice included a glossary, including “gender-identity,” “genderqueer,” “intersex,” and “nonbinary.”

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