AP Stylebook goes woke
Since 1953, the AP Stylebook (Stylebook) has been a go-to manual for journalistic grammar and style at most media outlets. It lays out basic rules about grammar, punctuation, phrasing, and the like, intended to have universal applicability. In the past, it was aimed at reducing bias and creating a framework for evenhanded reporting.
Fast forward to 2022. On July 22, the Stylebook released an updated guide on transgender coverage and on pregnant women/pregnant people, which included changes from what the Stylebook published in May 2022.
Here are some highlights (or better described as lowlights) from Stylebook’s guide. Remember, the majority of news outlets use the Stylebook when writing stories.
Some people use the word groom or variants of it to falsely liken LGBTQ people’s interactions with children, or education about LGBTQ issues, to the actions of child molesters. Do not quote people using the term in this context without clearly stating it is untrue.
Interesting that the Stylebook tells its followers to make sure they state something is untrue even though it might be true. This may explain why so many news articles make sure to state that accusations of election fraud are untrue.
Just let the kids make life-changing decisions at a very young age (the earlier, the better, according to experts)
Experts agree that allowing children to express their gender in a way that matches their identity is beneficial, such as letting children assigned male at birth wear clothing or hairstyles usually associated with girls, if that is their wish.
Huh? Why is the Stylebook even talking about this? Who are the experts? We’re pretty sure that some other experts may recommend parents telling children - those who aren’t old enough to understand the ramifications of their wishes - to knock it off.
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Do not equate a gender transition with becoming a man, becoming a woman or the outdated terminology sex change.
Clearly the Stylebook is saying that a person cannot transition, because he or she or we or they were always one gender or another or another or another, etc. It’s confusing, we know.
Use a transgender person’s previous name, or deadname, very rarely and only if required to understand the news or if requested by the person. Deadnaming someone can be akin to using a slur and can cause feelings of gender dysphoria to resurface.
Did you know about deadnaming before reading this article? No? Well, now you know and knowing is half the battle.
Don’t refer to male or female hormones. All people have the same hormones; only their levels vary.
Don’t use phrasing that misgenders people or implies doubt, such as former men’s swimmer or currently competes as a woman. Instead, formerly competed with men, current member of the women’s team, etc.
Proponents of restrictions on transgender athletes assert that transgender women have an athletic advantage over cisgender women.
If you didn’t know the term, “cisgender,” it means straight. You know, the kind of orientation that groomers hope no child becomes. According to the Stylebook, it also means, “people whose gender identity matches the sex they were assigned at birth.”
The medical treatments that transgender and nonbinary people sometimes use to transition, or alter their sexual characteristics.
If surgery is involved, gender-confirmation surgery.
For those with common sense, and anyone who needs things put bluntly to them, replace gender confirmation with sex change.
This is when things get weird.
Describes people born with genitalia, reproductive oregans, chromosomes and/or hormone levels that don’t fit typical definitions for male or females.
Describes people who don’t identify as strictly men or women; can include agender (having no gender), gender-fluid (an identity that fluctuates) or a combination of male and female. Not synonymous with transgender, though some nonbinary people are also transgender.
Pregnant Women, Pregnant People
Phrasing like pregnant people or people seeking abortions is increasingly used in medical contexts and is also acceptable to include people who have those experiences but do not identify as women, such as some transgender men and some nonbinary people. Neutral alternatives like abortion parents are also acceptable, but do not use overly clinical language like people with uteruses or birthing people.
Sex is usually assigned at birth by parents or attendants, sometimes inaccurately. Sex often corresponds with but is not synonymous with gender, which is a social construct.
Transition, gender transition
The legal, medical or social processes some transgender or nonbinary people undergo to match their gender identity. Examples can include a formal or informal change to names or pronouns, makeup and hairstyles, hormone therapy, or gender-confirmation surgery.
Expect the Stylebook to release updates that create new words and meanings along with updates that retract outdated terminology.
How society allows us to discuss all the topics in this article is very fluid. If you don’t keep up, you’re bound to offend someone.