Using Inclusive Language

I know what it is like to be stereotyped, and to have people make assumptions about me. 

Because I have a child, people will assume I am married. Because I am a single mother, people will assume I will need or want their hand-me-down clothes. Because I own my home, salesmen will come to my door and ask to do a presentation for my husband and I. Because I am fat, people assume I don’t exercise or know how to maintain a healthy diet. Well, you know what they say about assuming!

When you don’t fit the mold, little assumptions like this stick out to you in ways others might not  notice. They can eat away at your confidence and sense of belonging. This is where inclusive language comes in. Using inclusive language simply means you attempt to treat everyone with respect by avoiding assumptions and stereotyping. It means you are showing an added level of care through the words you use. 

Here are some examples of small shifts in language that can make a big difference to someone who wants to feel like they belong just as much as you do:


Instead of:




Not all people in romantic relationships are married or married to people of the opposite sex

“Your Grownup” (to kids)


Not all kids live with their parents or are in nuclear families.



Female is a biological term referring to reproductive organs, and not all women have them (i.e. Trans women or women who have had mastectomies or hysterectomies).

People experiencing homelessness/the unhoused

Homeless People

Homelessness is something that happens to someone, it is not who they are.

Someone struggling with addiction


Again, their addiction is not who they are.

Pregnant Person

Pregnant Woman

Non-binary and trans people who may not consider themselves women can be pregnant.

Person of Size/Fat person (with permission)

Overweight/Obese Person

These acceptable terms are descriptors rather than comparisons. “Fat” should only be used in a morally neutral, non-judgmental way and with permission, as many fat people struggle with internalized fatphobia. Weight does not equal health.

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