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AP instructs news media to avoid certain words when referring to transgender issues

New proposed restricted words and phrases.
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The Associated Press Stylebook, used as a style manual by most media outlets, has been updated to include a “Topical Guide” for transgender coverage.

The guide says writers should use “unbiased language” when referring to trans people. It also says writers should “avoid false balance” by “giving [a] platform to unqualified claims or sources in the guise of balancing a story by including all views.”

“A person’s sex and gender are usually assigned at birth by parents or attendants and can turn out to be inaccurate. Experts say gender is a spectrum, not a binary structure consisting of only men and women, that can vary among societies and can change over time,” the guide further states.

The guide adds: “Avoid terms like biological male, which opponents of transgender rights sometimes use to oversimplify sex and gender, is often misleading shorthand for assigned male at birth, and is redundant because sex is inherently biological.”

It tells writers to describe the amputation of genitals and breasts as “gender-confirmation procedures” or “gender affirming care” because these treatments “can improve psychological well-being and reduce suicidal behavior.”

Other rules include: “Don’t refer in interviews or stories to ‘preferred’ or ‘chosen’ pronouns. Instead, write ‘the pronouns they use,’ ‘whose pronouns are,’ ‘who uses the pronouns,’ etc.”

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