Inclusive Communications Quick Guide

The following is a list of the more common terms surrounding the many identities found in the world and on Bradley’s campus. While this guide can be helpful, it should not be used to make assumptions about any given population. Always ask and adhere to your subject’s preferences when addressing them or writing about them.

African American: Capitalized, but not hyphenated. This term is acceptable for an American Black person of African descent, but it is not acceptable for all Black people. Always ask a person’s preference.

American Indian, Native American: Either term is generally acceptable, but follow the person’s preference. They may prefer their tribal affiliation instead of either of these terms.

Asexual: A person who does not experience sexual attraction. Use if a person describes themselves that way or in a direct quote.

Asian, Asian American: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent, e.g., Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam. Always ask a person’s preference. 

BIPOC: An acceptable term for Black, Indigenous and people of color, but only when speaking generally about this group,. When referring to a specific group, use the appropriate term for that group, e.g., Black people, Native Americans. Use BIPOC as a noun only, not as an adjective since people is part of the acronym.

Bisexual: A person who has the capacity to form enduring physical, romantic and/or emotional attractions to those of the same gender or to those of another gender.

Black: Capitalized. Acceptable to use in a racial, ethnic or cultural sense, e.g., Black people, Black culture, Black colleges. Do not use Blacks when referring to a group of people; use Black people. For individuals, follow the person’s preference.

Cisgender: People whose gender identity aligns with the gender and sex assigned at birth. Do not refer to cisgender as the normal state.

Disability/disabled person: Describes a person with disabilities based on either person-first or identity-first language. Always ask the person’s preference. Do not use handicapped or terms like handicapped parking; use accessible parking instead.

Gay: Refers to men who are attracted to other men; preferred over homosexual. Avoid using as a singular noun. Individuals outside the gender binary may also identify with this descriptor. Always ask a person’s preference.

Hispanic: This term generally refers to people with origins in Spanish-speaking countries, but not necessarily Latin America or the Caribbean. Always ask a person’s preference.

Indigenous or Aboriginal: Capitalize this term, but do not use it as an adjective. When referring to people from a specific area, do not use a possessive. For example, use the Indigenous people of Wyoming, not Wyoming’s Indigenous people.

Intersex: People born with sex chromosomes, genitalia and/or a reproductive system not considered standard for either males or females. Do not use hermaphrodite.

Latino/Latina/Latinx: While these terms have become common, always check the individual’s preference. Bradley uses Latinx unless otherwise directed.

Lesbian: Preferred term for women who are attracted to other women. Individuals outside the gender binary may also identify with this descriptor. Always ask a person’s preference, e.g., if they prefer gay or lesbian.

Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands. Always ask a person’s preference.

Nonbinary: People who don’t identify exclusively as male or female. They may identify as being both, somewhere in between, or falling completely outside these categories.

Nondisabled: ​​A person who does not have a disability. Generally preferred over “able-bodied.”

Pansexual: One whose primary attraction is to a person, regardless of their gender. Use if a person describes themselves that way or in a direct quote.

Pronouns: A growing number of people use they/them/their as a gender-neutral, singular pronoun. Acceptable use examples:

  • Hendricks said the internship was exciting and fast-paced.
  • The foundation gave grants to anyone who lost a job this year (instead of anyone who lost their job).
  • The political science major interned with the FBI.
  • Morales, who uses the pronoun they, said they will retire in June.

Queer: Not a universally accepted term within the LGBT community and should be avoided unless describing someone who self-identifies that way or in a direct quote.

Transgender: People whose gender identity is different from the gender with which they were born. Trans is often used as shorthand for transgender.

Two Spirit: Contemporary umbrella term referring to Native Americans whose individual spirits were a blend of female and male, used as an alternative to gay, lesbian or transgender. Always ask a person’s preference.

white: lowercase when using; preferred over Caucasian.