We Are Gay UK

Style Guide

Here’s a list of words and phrases which THEGAYUK editorial team has decided upon in order to equalise the tone and feel of THEGAYUK’s editorial. Please have a read. Please email if you have comments.

This is the style and written guide for THEGAYUK

Table of Contents


As with other gendered terms, let’s remove the gender unless its important to the story.

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome. a variety of conditions that are caused by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Always capitalised. Never with points between the letters.

As we’re a British publication, we should always use British English. So don’t forget your U’s LL’s and S’s instead of Z’s.

American spellings
It is right to use American spellings if you’re talking about a specific location, business or venue: World Trade Center, Labor Day and World Health Organization.

not amidst

Not amongst

An ideological grouping which has associations with extreme conservative and reactionary viewpoints. Those who subscribe to this ideology tend to reject mainstream politics. As a descriptor, it should only be used if the subject at hand has used the term to identify themselves.

is an illness, not a way to describe a thin person. Should never been used as a metaphor.

application for your smartphone.



Bisexual or Bi (capitalised when talking about the community).


In reference to the Black community, we also capitalise other identifiers where there is an aspect of community Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Asian, Latinx, etc etc. It’s black when talking about the colour black.


If you need to highlight a word you may bold the text rather than changing the colour. Bold should also be used to highlight names within reviews, but not news, columns, features, opinion pieces or other types of articles.

a gendered term for a young male under the age of 18. Might be best to use a non-gendered term such as pupil, student etc.

THEGAYUK should be written in all caps.


Centuries should be written in full.
For example:
Television in the twenty-first century was groundbreaking
21st-century television was groundbreaking

Always capitalised

Always capitalised. If talking about a particular denomination within Christianity please ensure you write it. I.e. Catholic, Church of England.

Not capitalised, unless at the beginning of a sentence or if you’re talking about a particular denomination.

Let’s remove the gender – unless it’s important to the story.

Don’t even.

as with actresses, we don’t use gendered terms, so we use comedian instead.

commit suicide

As of 2018, THEGAYUK has changed the way it writes about suicide. Instead of committing, commit or committed suicide writers should phrase the act of suicide in another way. Such as “taken his/her/their/ own life” or “died from suicide”.

Not come.


Dates and Times.
Monday is always the beginning of the week. The format is DAY / MONTH / YEAR
For example:
2nd January 2012.
2 January 10
Always write the full year (four digits)

If you are writing about a decade use:
The 1990s or Nineties
You may use the ‘90s’ – but never with an apostrophe, unless whatever you’re talking about belongs to the ‘90’s’
The 90’s fashion was terrible
He was at his most famous in the 90’s
Time Format.
Times are given in a 12hr format. HH.MM

“Disabled people” not “the disabled”We aim to use positive language about disability, avoiding outdated terms that stereotype or stigmatise. If in doubt think – Person first, Disability Second. The list below are terms to avoid. Their acceptable alternatives are in brackets. These may be subject to change in further updates of this
Victim of, Suffering from (living with), Afflicted by,Crippled by (prefer person who has, person with);Wheelchair-bound, in a wheelchair (uses a wheelchair);Invalid (disabled person);Mentally handicapped, Backward, Retarded, Slow (person with learning difficulties or disabilities);The disabled, the handicapped, the blind, the deaf (disabled people, blind people, deaf people);Deaf and dumb (deaf and speech-impaired, hearing and speech-impaired)


a way to describe someone’s biological sex.


Is a non-gendered way to spell folks. Either is acceptable. However, if using folx it must be linked to the folx explainer

When using email via our emailing system, please ensure that your font is set to Georgia at 12points and that the standard signature is used at the bottom of each email. Use of the signature is a legal requirement and neglecting this requirement will potentially suspend your account with us.


gay cure
The term we use for conversion therapy. A form of therapy that claims it can turn gay people straight. Widely considered ineffective.

Only capitalised at the beginning of a sentence, or when talking about the Gay community.

gay marriage
As controversial as this can be, this is the phrase to describe marriage between people of the same sex. You can also use same-sex marriage however that tone could come off a little stiff for our intended audience. We use this because same-sex marriage is not equal (yet) so to call it marriage equality or equal marriage is an oxymoron. Plus those terms add to gay erasure. Due for reconsideration in 2024.

A description used by some in the Asian gay community to describe gay Asian people. Only use it as part of a quote.

a gendered term for a young female under the age of 18. It may be better to use another noun, such as pupil, student etc. etc.

gendered terms
where possible use non-gendered terms: firefighter, postal worker, police officer, waiter, business person, chairperson.

Gay Men Fighting AIDS but GMFA is how you should write it.


Headlines and Subheadings.
It’s good practice to include the name of the country, VIP, celeb and subject in the article’s headline and subhead.

Always capitalised and no periods between each letter. Stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus.

Gay is fine. We’re not in the 70s and we’re not The Telegraph.

not mankind. Don’t erase half the population.


It should be used to refer to other documents, magazines, newspapers and journals. Only The Times should be referred to with The, others such as the Guardian, the Daily Mail should be referred to as the Guardian, or the Daily Mail. The Gay UK is always referred to as TheGayUK or THEGAYUK All one word.

the so-called Islamic State. No need for an explanation at this point.

Only capitalised at the beginning of a sentence or when talking about the Lesbian community.

Always capitalised.


Always capitalised


Latinx is a non-gendered way of referring to Latino Community. Always Capitalise.

For the time being, we should use LGBT+ when describing the community for which we write. Past readers’ surveys have shown that British audiences tend to find the term queer offensive – we will keep an eye on what the public feel about applying terms to the overall community and update.

When you mean gay or lesbian or bisexual or trans or queer or intersex.
Do not write LGBTQI (or any other letters) if you are writing specifically about a person whose sexuality is public knowledge and that person identifies as such. For instance, do not title an article Top LGBTQI Celebs We’d Like To See Bonk if you’ve only included gay or bisexual men. – a) because there are no lesbian, transgender or intersex people – b) we don’t know if that person identifies as queer, c) it is unfair to suggest that we’ve managed to include L,T and I’s in an article when they’re clearly not represented in this article.

led not lead
Lead (rhymes with seed) is a molten metallic material. Led (rhymes with bed) is the past tense of leading someone somewhere.

the term to describe someone’s biological sex


a gendered term for a male.

use humankind, don’t erase half the population.

marriage equality
This, not a term we should use on THEGAYUK – because gay marriage or same-sex marriage isn’t equal by law and to write anything other than same-sex marriage or gay marriage would be leading our readership to believe the fight is done.

Always capitalised.

Stands for men who have sex with men. It has been used within the medical community and by drug firms to describe men who have sex with men, but who don’t or might not identify as gay or bisexual. It is preferred, as our audience is largely gay or bisexual men that you use the terms gay, homosexual or bisexual to describe men who have sex with men.

It is preferable to use only Ms as a prefix to a woman’s surname. As with men, marriage status is of no relevance and if it is, that should be explained in writing.

We don’t use this prefix.

If someone requests the prefix Mx we should ensure that it is honoured.

Male to female – spell it out at first use – FtM is female to male.


Use full names at first and then after the first mention use first names. We used to use surnames, however, it’s a little stiff and unfriendly. If the subject a title (Lord, Sir, Dame etc.) we should use that.


No periods between the letters.


Paragraph Lengths
In order to keep your copy snappy and readable in an online format, we request that paragraphs be no longer than 5-6 lines. Break up your paragraphs to make the reading experience easier for readers.

per cent
Not percent

Pictures delivered to THEGAYUK to use should be text free. Any text that must be superimposed should be done using THEGAYUK’s font palette and must be agreed with editorial before publishing. THEGAYUK’s logo should also be visible.

Personal, social, health and economic education. Write it out at first use.


Only as part of a quote. We should refrain from using queer as a descriptor for the LGBT+ community as for many it is still a trigger word. (Revised in 2021 and due for revision in 2024)


same-sex marriage
see gay marriage

Sentence Length
Sentences sh be constrained to 15-20 words. Try to stick to one idea per sentence. If a sentence has more than one idea in it, you may need to use ‘;’ to break up a sentence in order not to confuse your reader.

Social Media Pushes
Social media callouts should happen only at the end of the article and should include the writer’s name and styled thus,

Sexually transmitted infections – preferable wordage by healthcare professionals than STDs (sexually transmitted diseases)


Short for transgender. Never transgendered. Transgendered would be like writing “womaned” or “gayed”. Only capitalised at the beginning of the sentence. According to Trans Media Watch, the following terms may be found offensive by the Trans community: Sex change, Sex swap, Tranny, Transexual (when used as a noun),Transgender (when used as a noun), Pre-op, Post-op, SheMale, HeShe, Gender bender, Hermaphrodite.

trannie / tranny
This is offensive unless a specific person identifies themselves as such – and that should be made clear to the reader.

they as a singular pronoun
Some people in the non-binary community would prefer to be referred to as “They”, “Them” or “Their”, be careful in how you write this request up. Whilst we want and should strive to respect how people identify themselves it must not detract from the article’s main purpose and clarity. We must not forget that these pronouns when used for a single person, to whom we have been introduced, could be confusing for a number of groups of people, namely, those who have trouble reading, those who are using a talkback system on their computer or where English is not their first language.

Therefore it is preferable to use: “they”, “them” or “their” sparingly and referred to them using their name instead or other non-gender identifiable descriptions, such as age or occupation. Using these pronouns must be accompanied with an asterisk and an explanation that it is that person’s preferred pronoun use.


The United Kingdom. Never with full stops between the letters.

All capitalised.

United States Of America or US for short. Never with full stops between the letters.

We do not use underlining. Only as part of a hyperlink.
Capital Letters: Only titles should be Capital Letters. Body text should never be set as just CAPITAL LETTERS. It’s shouting. Nobody likes a loud mouth.

Please leave the http:// and the www. out of the URL:


Be careful when using the word victim to describe someone or someone’s infliction. Some, for instance, might prefer “survivor” rather than a victim.


Washington DC
no periods in the DC

not whilst


when talking about a person or a race of people, white when talking about a colour.

to describe someone or something as enlightened on a particular subject.

a gendered term for a female.

World Health Organization
WHO on the second mention


You, Us and We
Refer to your readers as ‘you’ when you need to. Use ‘we’, ‘us’ and ‘our’ when you need to refer to THEGAYUK. You are writing on behalf of TheGayUK so unless you are conveying a personal comment you must stick to writing in the third person.


Ze, Zim, Zer,
non-gendered pronouns

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