Inclusivity and accessibility are essential in all corners of life and with this in mind, the language experts at Dictionary.com have introduced eight new LGBTQ+ words to the website and ensured that the language throughout is now inclusive.
Why does language inclusivity matter?
Well, according to the American Psychological Association, inclusive language “can enhance our empathy, clarity, and understanding of each other as complex individuals with intersectional and varied identities and experiences”.
Basically, when we are writing or speaking, it’s essential that we include everybody. The joy of diversity is that no two people are the same, our inner lives are uniquely complex and when we discuss gender and sexuality, it’s often not as straightforward as cisgendered straight people and we should always be mindful of that.
Okay, so, what are the new terms?
So, there have actually been 566 new terms added to Dictionary.com and most of them are on the topics of climate change, technology, and new slang but the LGBTQ+ related terms focus on intersex bodies, trans identity, and sexual fluidity.
The new terms to the website are:
- diverse-owned: (adjective) (of a business) owned by someone who is part of a group historically underrepresented in entrepreneurship, such as women, ethnic or racial minorities, LGBTQ+ people, etc
- amalgagender: (adjective) noting or relating to a person whose gender identity is linked to or impacted by the fact that they are intersex
- stealth: (adjective) (of a transgender person) living as a cisgender member of one’s identified gender, without revealing that one is transgender
- polysexual: (adjective) noting or relating to a person who is sexually attracted to people of various genders, but not necessarily to people of all genders.
- polyromantic: (adjective) noting or relating to a person who is romantically attracted to people of various genders, but not necessarily to people of all genders
- autosexual: (adjective). noting or relating to a person who primarily feels sexual attraction to and desire for themselves, as opposed to other people
- autoromantic: (adjective). noting or relating to a person who primarily feels romantic attraction to and desire for themselves, as opposed to other people
- gay marry: (verb) to marry a person of the same gender.
The website also changed all gendered terms such as she/her to they/them throughout the website to ensure that there was gender inclusivity to all definitions.
For example, the term ‘volunteer’ was defined as “a person who voluntary offers himself or herself for a service or undertaking” but the new entry removes pronouns all together and simply says, “a person who voluntarily offers to perform a service or undertaking” which, we think it’s fair to say, reads much more smoothly.
Speaking to LGBTQ Nation, Dictionary.com lexicographer K.E. Callaway explained:
“On the inclusivity side, ‘his’ or ‘her’ does not include people who use other pronouns. In terms of usage, ‘they’ is simply much more common as a generic pronoun than ‘he’ or ‘she,’ including in spoken and all but the most formal types of written English. In fact, this has been the case for decades (even though people rarely notice it in speech).”
“By making this change, we have made our entries more similar to how people actually speak and write,” Callaway added, “hopefully making the entries more natural-sounding — and thus more accessible to readers.”