A Quick Guide to Transgender and Non-binary Inclusive Language at Events

Creating an inclusive event environment involves more than just physical accessibility—it extends to language and communication. Event managers can play a crucial role in fostering an inclusive atmosphere by using inclusive language throughout all stages of event planning, execution and on the day of the event itself. Here are some quick tips for making your events more transgender and non-binary inclusive when it comes to language.

Incorporating gender-inclusion begins at the planning phase. Make sure you’re offering diverse and inclusive content, speakers and panellists that reflects various gender perspectives (and we can help there!). Consider topics that address gender equality, diversity and inclusion in the agenda.

If you’ve had a database for some time, you might be missing preferred pronouns/titles for your audience, so when crafting email pre-event communications, it can be simplest to use first name personalisation tag. Most CRMs will have the option of custom fields when capturing data, so don’t forget to add gender natural terms such a Mx. to your name drop downs and a space for preferred pronouns. Make sure you’re offering attendees the option to specify their preferred pronouns during registration, to ensure accurate addressing on the day of the event, and accuracy in accompanying materials, e.g name tags, speaker names on slides.

Dress codes at corporate events are much wider ranging than they used to be – however, you should avoid phrases such as “Long dresses for ladies, ties for gentlemen” in favour of something gender neutral and inclusive.

On the day, ensure your presenters aren’t using gender-specific terms on stage like “ladies and gentlemen” or “guys” when addressing attendees. Instead, opt for inclusive alternatives such as “welcome, everyone,” or “hello, folks,”. During the event, all presenters, moderators and hosts should be briefed on using inclusive language and encourage them to introduce themselves with their pronouns to set an inclusive tone. Panels and networking sessions should also emphasise respect for individuals’ preferred pronouns.

If there are free gifts, merchandise or prizes are being awarded, opt for products or experiences less typically associated with a specific gender e.g. rather than a manicure and pedicure experience at a spa, consider a voucher, so the person can choose the service that suits them best.

The are just a few tips to get you started. Creating an environment where everyone feels acknowledged and respected is paramount and consciously using gender-inclusive language is just one way event managers can pave the way for a more welcoming and supportive atmosphere.

If you feel like your events team could benefit from personalised, tailored inclusivity support, check out our Inclusion in Events Mastermind Clinics for Event Managers.