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APA Style now offers guidelines to reduce biases in academic texts

Big news! APA Style now offers guidelines to reduce biases in academic texts.

The new edition of this style manual has a surprise for its users. Published by the American Psychological Association (APA), this tool for research papers' writers provides a series of suggestions to prevent gender stereotypes, ableist biases and ageism from showing in the language used.

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What do the APA Style guidelines recommend regarding pronouns? How should they be used in texts?

According to the latest edition, pronoun usage requires specificity and care on the author’s part. Do not refer to the pronouns that transgender people use as “preferred pronouns” because this implies a choice about one’s gender. Use the terms “identified pronouns,” “self-identified pronouns,” or “pronouns” instead.

When writing about a known individual, use that person’s identified pronouns. Some individuals use “they” as a singular pronoun; some use alternative pronouns such as “ze,” “xe,” “hir,” “per,” and “hen” (Swedish gender-neutral pronoun), among others. Some individuals may alternate between “he” and “she” or between “he and/or she” and “they,” whereas others use no pronouns at all and use their name in place of pronouns.

Refer to a transgender person using language appropriate to the person’s gender, regardless of sex assigned at birth—for example, use the pronouns “he,” “him,” and “his” in reference to a transgender man who indicates use of these pronouns.

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