Party culture

Homophobic, biphobic and transphobic language

Whilst attitudes and legislation relating to LGBTI issues have changed, the language we sometimes use has not. Casual homophobia such as using words like ‘gay’ to describe negative things is never acceptable.

When addressing or referring to trans or non-binary people, it is important you use the gender pronoun that the person identifies with (he/him, she/her, they/them - some people might use other pronouns, for example Xe, Ze or Hir). If you aren’t sure, ask the person what pronouns they would like you to use. If you are introducing people in a roundtable, it is good practice to ask people what pronouns they would prefer or ask people write their preferred pronoun on a name tag.

If you are in a position of leadership and hear someone using the wrong pronouns, have a quiet word with them and explain why they should be referring to the person using different language. In these situations, some people aren’t intentionally being transphobic but don’t realise the harm that misgendering can cause. Talking to them should sort things out. Always apologise if you use the wrong gender pronouns. In situations where people are being intentionally abusive, it is essential you have a clear bullying and harassment policy which you can use to challenge this behaviour.

For an explanation of transgender and non-binary please see our glossary.

For guidance on bullying and harassment please see the bullying and harassment section of this guidance.

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