Terminology Working Group

Now Seeking Public Comment

The Terminology Working Group (TWG) is seeking public comment on the linked draft document. The group feels that it is important to hear from as many voices as possible before finalizing this draft. The TWG encourages you to include your thoughts, additions, changes, or corrections using the form linked below. The public comment period is open from Oct. 14, 2022 through Dec. 16, 2022. You are encouraged to share a link to this page, www.usitt.org/terms.


This draft document is intended to promote a shared awareness and understanding of the harmful nature of certain terminology used in the entertainment industry, as well as to offer recommendations of less harmful terms to use in their stead. Its goal is to eliminate the use of harmful terminology and to promote the use of inclusive language. It is not attempting to impose specific replacement terminology. The alternatives recommended here are just that: recommendations. As such, some terms will have multiple possible alternatives. These recommendations reflect this industry’s current wisdom about reasonable alternatives but are by no means the only possible alternatives.

From the beginning, it was important that this document be a published recommended practice, rather than a wiki or other more agile web format so that a stable version of the text would be available to cite, incorporate by reference, or annex into other publications. Hopefully, entertainment industry organizations will adopt it into their policy and procedure manuals, publishers will reference it in their style guides, and authors will seek permission to annex it into their books. At the very least, it should provide guidance about words to avoid for members of our industry to use when developing their own policies, trainings, curricula, and so forth.

Even if you have no comments, it would help the TWG to know that you feel the document is complete by submitting the form linked below indicating this.


The content of this document necessarily addresses challenging topics. It deals with race, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical ability, age, religion, violence, body image, and other means by which individuals and groups are shamed, othered, or discriminated against. Offensive terms have been included as a means of informing the well-intentioned reader of terms that should be eliminated from our collective vocabulary. This document is structured to minimize the prominence of offensive terms; however, readers should exercise their own discretion before proceeding.



Special acknowledgement to the diverse group of people that came together to build this project from an idea to a state where it could be shared widely and be welcoming of broader participation. They are: Adam Mendelson, TWG Chairperson; Justin Bennett, Engineering Commissioner; Kathryn Davis, Vice-Commissioner for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion for the Engineering Commission; Ashley Bellet, USITT Vice-President of Commissions; Brian Smallwood; Erin Grabe, ESTA Executive Director; Jane Parson, ESTA; Jonathan Allender-Zivic; Josh Loar; Juan Juarez; Kristen P Ahern; Ksenia Lappo; Lara Berich; and Maya Nigrosh. The TWG particularly thanks the Entertainment Services and Technology Association (ESTA) who joined the TWG, contributing considerable expertise and infrastructure to the endeavor.