The Conscious Language Newsletter: June 2024

Butch bodies and butch identities.

JUNE 2024

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From the World of Conscious Language

Note: The authors' viewpoints are not necessarily shared by CSG.


In Defense of Butch Bodies

“My concern is that whenever there is a debate between cisgender, heterosexual-appearing people, there is always a risk that queer and trans people will become the collateral damage when the insults take on the homophobic and transphobic attitudes held so widely in society. That is precisely what happened in this case.” Read >


The Queer History of Butches

“Butch identity remains an important staple of queer communities across the globe, and it continues to be an important and affirming term for so many.” Read >


The American Novel Has a Major Problem With Fat People

“Authors like Carmen Maria Machado, Mecca Jamilah Sullivan, Sarai Walker, Renee Watson, Susan Stinson, and more have written recent novels and story collections in which fat characters are nuanced, busy with other concerns, or otherwise complex and irreducible.” Read >


How Should We Talk About Dementia? Choosing Better Terminology

“I think it’s important to consider that it is our personal experiences and our lived experiences that make some terms feel more icky than others.”—Adria Thompson, founder, Be Light Care Consulting. Read >


Is Seeing Believing? Not Really, so Animal Welfare Campaigns Should Take a Different Approach

“Given that many humans have a poor view of animals’ lives, I propose designing public awareness campaigns that illuminate the richness of those lives…Many people may not realize that animals grieve, forge intimate relationships throughout their lifetimes and have their own forms of social organization and profound emotional lives.” Read >


Reporting Guidance: 2024’s Extreme Heat

Tips and tools for reporting on extreme heat, including “concise, scientifically vetted language making the climate connection that you can insert directly into your copy.” Read >


Language Matters in Preventing Suicide

“It’s critical to avoid sensationalized reporting that mistakenly glorifies suicide or discloses information about means and methods that vulnerable people may choose to adopt, especially when such reporting does not include context about help that is available and alternatives for people facing challenging circumstances.” Read >

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Prebunking vs. Debunking Interventions: Comparative Analysis

“While Debunking is closely tied to fact-checking, Prebunking is tied to a wider range of specific interventions, some of which increase motivation to be vigilant against misinformation and others increase the ability to engage in vigilance with success.” Read >


AP Stylebook’s New Chapter on Crime Is a Glimpse Into the Future

“The chapter instructs journalists to be wary of police reports, especially early ones.” Read >


Disability Advocates Are Winning the Right to Plain Language Voting

“A Ballotpedia analysis…found that, on average, they required a graduate-school reading level to understand. That can be a challenge for most people who haven’t pursued higher education, let alone people with intellectual disabilities or symptoms that affect their cognition, like those experiencing brain fog.” Read >


Surgeon General: Why I’m Calling for a Warning Label on Social Media Platforms

“It is time to require a surgeon general’s warning label on social media platforms, stating that social media is associated with significant mental health harms for adolescents…Evidence from tobacco studies show that warning labels can increase awareness and change behavior.” Read >


What’s the Deal With Terms Like “Greenhouse Effect,” “Global Warming,” “Climate Change,” and “the Climate Emergency”?

“Use of these more dire words will likely affect public perception of the issue and the resulting sentiment on climate policy. The question is how.” Read >

CSG in the News

How to Start Your Literary Career as a Sensitivity Reader

“Writers employ sensitivity readers for the same reason they use more traditional editors: to check the content of their work. Instead of checking for inconsistencies, however, sensitivity readers look for offensive content, like harmful stereotypes, biases, and other inaccuracies concerning marginalized identities.” Read >

New and Notable on CSG

Sensitivity Reader Toolkit

“A toolkit for newsrooms of any size and mission interested in working with sensitivity readers, authenticity editors, and cultural consultants.” Visit Creative Writing >

From the Archives

What Needs to Change

“Editing itself should be invisible—copyeditors can no longer afford to be.” Read >

In Case You Missed It

In the May 2024 newsletter…

• How to Cite AI
• Here’s How I Talk to My Students About Pronouns, Including My Own
• How Leaders and Advocates Can Reclaim the Narrative Around DEI

Stuff to Buy

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Photo by Uni-T.

You Need This T-Shirt! Play, work, and sleep in the super soft “Make Peace With Words” T-shirt. Choose from a variety of colors. (Fitted shirts available in XXS through XXL, and straight-cut shirts available in XS through XXL.) Hand-printed with love. Your purchase supports two small businesses owned by women of color. Why make peace? Read the article!

Shop for Diverse Picture Books: On, find exceptional picture books that spread understanding, compassion, and joy through diverse representation.

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Other Resources

Join Our Online Community: Are you on Facebook? Join the Conscious Language + Design Facebook Group to learn, share, and chat with others who are curious or serious about conscious language.

Find Editors of Color: The Editors of Color Database helps recruiters connect with editors, proofreaders, and sensitivity readers of color in the U.S. and Canada. You can submit job listings for distribution to our private network and explore the 100+ resources in Diverse Databases, which highlights underrepresented groups. Diversify your sources now!

Get More Tips on Instagram: Follow @ConsciousStyleGuide for examples of context that supports sensitive content.

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