NLGJA Stylebook Supplement Updated

The Stylebook Supplement on LGBT Terminology is intended to complement the prose stylebooks of individual publications, as well as the Associated Press stylebook, the leading stylebook in U.S. newsrooms. It reflects the association’s mission of inclusive coverage of LGBT people, includes entries on words and phrases that have become common and features greater detail for earlier entries.

Stylebook excerpts in the news:

gender transition: The preferred term for the process by which transgender people change their physical, sexual characteristics from those associated with their sex at birth. May include change of name, clothing, official documentation and medical treatments based on individual needs, which may include hormone therapy, hair removal and surgery. Not synonymous with sex reassignment. Avoid the antiquated term “sex change.”
See sex reassignment, transgender.

openly gay/lesbian: As a modifier, “openly” is usually not relevant; its use should be restricted to instances in which the public awareness of an individual’s sexual orientation is germane. Examples: Harvey Milk was the first openly gay San Francisco supervisor. “Ellen” was the first sitcom to feature an openly lesbian lead character. “Openly” is preferred over “acknowledged,” “avowed,” “admitted,” “confessed” or “practicing” because of their negative connotations.

marriage: Advocates for the right to marry seek the legal rights and obligations of marriage, not a variation of it. Often, the most neutral approach is to avoid any adjective modifying the word “marriage.” For the times in which a distinction is necessary, “marriage for same-sex couples” is preferable in stories. When there is a need for shorthand description (such as in headline writing), “same-sex marriage” is preferred because it is more inclusive and more accurate than “gay.”
See civil union, commitment ceremony, domestic partner, relationships.

Click here to download NLGJA’s Stylebook Supplement on LGBT Terminology (PDF). Printed versions are available on request, email Matthew Rose at mrose@nlgja.org.

One Response

  1. I really wish NLGJA would take on the consistent misuse of the term “equality”, particularly by LGBT media and community organizations. For example, in most of the country there can be no such thing as “marriage equality” when only some people have full civil rights and others do not, such as referring to the current state of the laws of New York, yet we see this term used all the time.

    I wrote about this for The Huffington Post a while back, and my full argument can be found here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rebecca-juro/true-equality_b_1110914.html

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