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Avoid words like 'eunuch': Press Council issues guidelines for LGBTQ news coverage

The Press Council of India on Thursday issued guidelines for covering news related to the LGBTQ+ community asking journalists to avoid use of words such as 'eunuch' or the phrase 'sex-change surgery' and opt for more inclusive language.
Last Updated : 21 September 2023, 15:37 IST

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The Press Council of India on Thursday issued guidelines for covering news related to the LGBTQ+ community asking journalists to avoid use of words such as 'eunuch' or the phrase 'sex-change surgery' and opt for transgender woman and gender affirmative surgery respectively.

"Do not use transgenders in your article; 'transgender' is an adjective. Use transgender person, transwomen, transmen, and/or trans* persons," the guidelines for covering news on the LGBTQ+ community said.

The purpose of this docket is to enhance the understanding of gender, sexuality, its terms and usage, the Press Council of India (PCI) said.

The term 'alleged' should not be used when describing LGBTQIA+ identities and relationships – such as 'alleged transgender person', or 'alleged relationship'-- which are all as real and valid as any other, it said.

The guidelines also recommend journalists not to focus on a transgender person’s previous gender identity by using phrases like 'he was a she', or 'she was he' or their transitioning process and surgeries.

"Take care when using the word 'homosexual'. Outside of scientific and clinical discourse, the word has outdated and discredited connotations of psychological disorder," the PCI said.

The guidelines also advise journalists not to use words such as 'sexual preference', 'special rights’ and ‘gay lifestyles’.

“They are pejorative terms. Being Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Asexual, or Queer is Sexual Orientation. Secondly, it is not special rights that the community is asking for but ‘equal rights’,” the guidelines stated.

The guidelines also ask journalists to seek permission before disclosing the names, photographs, home or work addresses of those who identify as LGBTQIA+ in any form of publication.

“Do not ask for 'old' photos of transgender persons who have undergone Gender Affirmative Surgeries. It is insensitive and unnecessary,” the guidelines said.

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Published 21 September 2023, 15:37 IST

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