Avoid gendered language
Phrases like “ladies and gentlemen” and “boys and girls” are alienating to trans and non-binary attendees.
Both of those are terms we often reach for in a formal setting, and forget that they’re excluding non-binary people who identify as neither male nor female. Some possible alternatives (adjust for formality):
- “honoured guests”
- “distinguished attendees”
- “attractive and lovely people” (yes, I have heard this one!)
Gendered language can also come up when you’re identifying an audience member (for example, somebody who’s asking a question). I find clothing a good way to identify people – so rather than saying “the woman in the second row”, I might say “the person in the green scarf”. Appearance isn’t a good way to determine gender. And as a bonus, clothing is almost always more specific than a gender, or a vague gesture and “you there”.