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Inclusive Language: The most important Terms and Tips against Exclusion

Inclusive language is becoming increasingly important in our everyday lives if we want to live as equals. But where does it start and how can we all speak a little more justly? This little ABC shows you the most important terms that serve as the basis for fair language. You'll also get tips on how to speak more justly in everyday life.

Why inclusive language is so important

non-binary woman they them Inclusive Language

As essential as fair language is, it is also controversial. Many people feel attacked by it and deprived of their language. In fact, the opposite is true: we all and our society become more colorful and diverse through inclusive language. Many people quickly forget that our language has always been in flux. Even now, this change cannot be avoided - so it is all the nicer if we can help to shape it. You want to speak more justly or stumble every now and then when trying to use inclusive language? Then this little ABC will help. Already the right understanding of the following terms supports you to understand fair language and to anchor it in your thinking.

  • ASEXUALITY: Asexuality is generally referred to when people cannot feel sexual attraction. Asexuality should not be confused with a lack of libido, as asexual people can certainly enjoy sex. Rather, it is about not being sexually attracted to their opposite.

  • BISEXUALITY: Bisexual people are attracted to more than one medical sex. Unlike pansexuality, bisexuality addresses only the two clearly medically identifiable genders and not perceived or constantly changing genders.

  • BINARY/NON-BINARY: Binary refers to a gender classification into the medically male or female sex. Accordingly, non-binary are persons who do not want to or cannot be classified themselves into the conventional binary gender system. Non-binary is often used as a catch-all term for all trans* terms. Another synonym for non-binary is genderqueer.

  • CISGENDER (CIS FOR SHORT): Cisgender refers to people whose gender identity is the same as their medical sex. Medical sex in this context is the sex that was anatomically identifiable at birth and determined by birth certificate.

  • CROSS DRESSER: For many people, the terms cross dresser and drag easily become blurred. By definition, cross dressers are people who find it pleasurable or beautiful to dress contrary to their medical gender. This is completely independent of the situation and says nothing about the person's deeply felt gender identity. Medically male cross dressers can therefore live out their preference in everyday life, at home or on occasions and do not necessarily have to permanently identify as a woman.

  • DRAG: Drag kings or drag queens, like cross dressers, usually dress contrary to their medical gender, but combine this with the practice of travesty art. In drag, the artists can take on very different roles and do not necessarily have to identify with one gender. Here, too, the focus is not on the desire to live permanently as the gender that is embodied on stage. Drag is therefore to be strongly distinguished from the term transgender (see below).

  • GENDER-NEUTRAL: Gender-neutral refers to actions and persons that cannot be assigned to either the female or male medical sex. For example, children can be raised in a gender-neutral way by parents breaking down role models.

  • GENDER FLUID: People who move fluidly between genders are referred to as gender fluid. They do not define their gender identity but change it depending on the situation or their feelings. For example, genderfluid people like to decide for themselves which personal pronoun they would like to be addressed with - even if this does not actually correspond to their first name. However, the decision made can also be revoked at any time. This is the core of the gender fluid feeling.

  • GENDER PAY GAP: The gender pay gap is the difference between men and women in terms of wages and salaries. It is expressed as a percentage and shows how much more men earn when performing the same job. In Germany and the USA, for example, this difference is currently under 19 percent in both countries - although it is constantly changing. The annual Equal Pay Day is intended to highlight this gap.

  • HETEROSEXUALITY: Heterosexuality is when people are colloquially attracted to the "opposite sex". Thus, women love men and vice versa. Often people also speak of heteronormative, because this sexual orientation is still assumed to be the "normal case"

  • HOMOSEXUALITY: Gay or homosexual people are in turn attracted to the "same sex" - so women love women and vice versa.

  • INTERSEXUALITY: Experts speak of intersexuality when male and female sexual characteristics can be determined at birth at the same time. Intersexual people can indicate the term diverse on their identity card for this purpose.

  • LGBTQ: LGBTQ is an acronym from English and usually describes a community. The abbreviation stands for "Lesbian-Gay-Bi-Trans-Queer".

  • PANSEXUALITY: Pansexual refers to people who do not identify their sexual preference by one gender. Pansexual people can therefore move fluidly between homosexual and heterosexual.

  • QUEER: The term queer originally means different or strange. It used to be used primarily as a swear word and includes all people who are not heteronormative. Today, queer stands for a community that stands up for their rights and fights for visibility. They used the original swear word for themselves, cast it in a positive light, and now use it with pride.

  • PANSEXUALITY: Pansexual refers to people who do not identify their sexual preference by one gender. Pansexual people can therefore move fluidly between homosexual and heterosexual.

  • TRANS: Under trans unite different terms such as transgender, transpeople, transwoman, transman, transsexuality or transvestitism. If Trans is marked with an asterisk, it means that the word can stand for any extension like woman, man, person or other.

  • TRANSGENDER/ TRANS PERSON/ TRANS WOMAN / TRANS MAN: Under all these terms persons are summarized, who do not feel to belong to the sex assigned at birth. Transpersons do not automatically seek gender reassignment or do not want to be permanently identified as their perceived gender.

  • TRANSSEXUALS (SUBGROUP OF TRANSGENDER PEOPLE): Transsexual people want to be assigned to their self-defined gender. This usually does not correspond to their medical sex. Unlike many people who call themselves transgender, transsexual people often have a desire to match their perceived gender to their biological sex.

  • SEX: Sex refers exclusively to medical sex. This assignment does not necessarily correspond to gender identity.

Step by step toward inclusive language

Introducing inclusive language into our own everyday lives sounds like a big hurdle at first. The important thing for all of us is to understand the opportunities we create through fair language. We no longer exclude anyone, leaving more room for freer thinking. Studies have even shown that inclusive language also embeds more inclusive thinking in people's minds. So by using the right terms and being mindful when we speak, we automatically ensure greater social equality. And that makes the change worthwhile. What experiences have you had with just language in everyday life? Do you have any tips on how we can all speak more equitably? And how can we overcome hurdles together? Share your thoughts in the comment section on the very bottom of this page.

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