In a Friday email to subscribers listing updated entries for its style manual, the Associated Press is urging journalists to avoid making references in news stories that suggest there are only two sexes in the human race.
“Not all people fall under one of two categories for sex or gender, according to leading medical organizations, so avoid references to both, either or opposite sexes or genders as a way to encompass all people” the AP Stylebook says. “When needed for clarity or in certain stories about scientific studies, alternatives include men and women, boys and girls, males and females.”
The Stylebook issued further guidance for use of pronouns under an entry named “they, them, their.” Those third-person plural pronouns are preferred by some transgender or gender fluid individuals who say they are not comfortable with traditional male or female personal pronouns.
For its part, the AP advises writers that while “[i]n most cases, a plural pronoun should agree in number with the antecedent …. when alternative wording is overly awkward and clumsy” it may be permissible to use they, them, or their to refer to an individual. “However, rewording usually is possible and always is preferable” because “[c]larity is a top priority” in news reporting and “gender-neutral use of a singular they is unfamiliar to many readers.”
The news wire then added there is a linguistic line it’s drawn with personal pronouns. “We do not use other gender-neutral pronouns such as xe or ze.”
Full story at The Washington Times.