Office of the President and Provost (Equality, Diversity & Inclusion)


What is Inclusion Language?

Inclusion language is vital for a successful, inclusive and welcoming working environment. Without the appropriate language, people may feel excluded, targeted or disrespected.

A note on 'queer' 

For me to use the word 'queer' is a liberation; it was a word that frightened me, but no longer.
Derek Jarman, UCL alumnus

'Queer' has been used as a derogatory term since the nineteenth century and it is important not to forget that history. But beginning in the late 1980s scholars and activists began to reclaim the word. Today some people prefer queer to labels such as lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans. And in academic settings queer has been used to describe experiences that don't map neatly onto a single category of sexual or gender identity. Terminology is continually evolving and no word or phrase will perfectly describe all the work being done under the LGBTQ+ umbrella.

Courtesy of UCL's LGBTQ+ Equality Advisory Group (LEAG)

Important LGBTQ+ terms

  • Ally: A non LGBTQ+ person who supports members of the LGBTQ+ community
  • Asexual (Ace): A person who does not experience sexual attraction
  • Bisexual (Bi): A person who has an emotional and/or sexual orientation towards more than one gender
  • Cisgender: A person whose gender identity is the same as the sex they were assigned at birth. Non-trans is also used by some people
  • Deadnaming: Calling someone by their birth name after they have changed their name. This term is often associated with trans people who have changed their name as part of their transition.
  • Gay: Can refer to a man who has an emotional, romantic and/or sexual orientation towards men. Also a generic term for lesbian and gay sexuality - some women define themselves as gay rather than lesbian
  • Gender identity: A person's internal sense of their own gender, whether male, female or something else 
  • Gender stereotypes: The way that we expect people to behave in society, according to their gender or what is commonly accepted as 'normal' for someone of that gender
  • Heterosexual (straight): A person who has an emotional, romantic and/or sexual orientation towards people of the opposite gender
  • Homosexual: Nowadays, this might be considered a more medical term used to describe someone who has an emotional romantic and/or sexual orientation towards a person of the same gender. The term 'gay' is now more generally used
  • Lesbian: A woman who has an emotional, romantic and/or sexual orientation towards women
  • Non-binary: An umbrella term for a person who does not identify as male or female
  • Pansexual: A person whose emotional, romantic and/or sexual orientation is not tied to sex, gender or gender identity
  • Pronouns: Words we use to refer to people's gender in conversation - for example, 'he' or 'she'. Some people may refer to them in gender neutral language and use pronouns such as they/their and ze/zir. Read more about pronouns here
  • Trans: An umbrella term to describe people whose gender is not the same as, or does not sit comfortably with, the sex they were assigned at birth. Trans people may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms, including (but not limited to)  transgender, cross dresser, non-binary or genderqueer (GQ)
  • Transsexual: This was used in the past as a more medical term (similarly to homosexual) to refer to someone who transitioned to live as the 'opposite' gender to the one assigned at birth. This term is still used by some, although many people prefer the term trans or transgender.