Gender Inclusive Language Policy

The policy should be adopted by all Students' Union staff and students participating in Union activities to promote the inclusion of non-binary individuals and transgender people who may not be read as the gender they identify with, and to avoid making assumptions about anyone's gender identity. The policy aims to promote equality across all the genders, and reduce the impact that gender has on education and participation in the Students' Union. If a person's pronouns have not been stated, gender neutral language must be used. Once stated, a person's pronouns must be respected. A glossary of basic terms may be found at the end.

This policy will be reviewed regularly by all relevant elected officers in order to monitor its implementation and effectiveness.

Gender neutral language must be used in all areas of the Students' Union. Pronouns should be stated wherever appropriate.

This policy applies to:

Students' Union meetings
Student Media
Students' Union Events
Students' Union campaigns
Students' Union outlets
Students' Union communications
Students' Union societies
Students' Union volunteering schemes
Students' Union elections

Implementation of policy

  • Students' Union meetings, Students' Union events, Students' Union campaigns, Students' Union societies, Students' Union volunteering schemes — Where appropriate, pronouns must be stated at the beginning of every meeting, even if they have been stated at previous meetings. Gender neutral language must be used where an individual's pronouns are not known.
  • Student Media — Gender neutral language must be used by all student media. When conducting interviews, an individual's gender must not be assumed and gender neutral language should be used if pronouns are not known. Where possible, pronouns should be checked before interviews.
  • Students' Union outlets — Gender neutral language should be used by all staff in the Students' Union and this policy should be included as part of their induction. Uniforms for the outlets should not be gendered.
  • Students' Union communications — Gender neutral language must be used on USSU social media, news stories, and newsletters.
  • Students' Union elections — Gender neutral must be used by all those involved in elections and election candidates will be briefed on this policy prior to elections.

Use of gender-neutral language

In situations where introductions are not appropriate or where an individual has not directly stated their pronouns, gender-neutral language should be used to refer to them, and no assumptions should be made based on presentation or appearance. This means that:

  • The gender-neutral pronoun 'they' should be used as opposed to 'he' or 'she', and the pronoun 'them' as opposed to 'him' or 'her'.
  • Individuals whose gender identities are not known should not be described as 'men' or 'women', and inclusive terms such as 'person' should be used instead.
  • The use of gender-neutral language by other students in situations where pronouns have not been stated should be encouraged, although this is impractical to enforce.


If individuals experience persistent misgendering their concerns should be addressed and they can raise their concerns with any of the Full-Time or Part-Time Elected Officers. Officers should deal with this in appropriate and sensitive ways, recognising the negative impact on individuals' mental health that misgendering can have. Elected Officers must have Gender Inclusivity training as part of their induction.


Gender inclusivity training will be given to all elected officers and any relevant staff members as part of their induction. The training will be developed in consultation with Gender Liberation Sussex.

Preferred names

Where an individual has a preferred name other than that listed on the database, that name should be used to refer to them. A person's deadname should not be revealed and every step should be taken to ensure that this doesn't occur.


Cisgender A person whose gender identity aligns to that assigned to them at birth.
Transgender A person whose gender identity is different to that assigned to them at birth.
Non-binary A person whose gender identity falls outside the traditionally accepted binary of male and female.
Intersex A person whose biological sex falls outside of the binary of male and female.
Deadname The former, or legal/previously legal name of a transgender individual whose preferred name is different to that which they were given at birth.