Beyond “Brothers and Sisters”

In times of stress many people, religious leaders as well as regular folk, often invoke a sense of community by calling on “brothers and sisters.” However, many people who fall into the category of non-binary gender do not identify as male or female, brother or sister.  That binary language leaves us out.

Sometimes, when this question is raised, well-meaning people wonder “Well, what are our other options?!” For the sake of argument, let’s be clear that there are always alternatives.  Just because they don’t immediately come to mind, doesn’t mean there aren’t perfectly obvious gender-neutral terms.

Maintaining the metaphor of family

Siblings
“Sisters, brothers, and others” (if it can be delivered playfully, without othering)
Family
Kindred
Kin-folk
Relations
Tribe
Heirs

Shifting to other metaphors

Everyone
Comrades
Beloved
Friends
Loved ones
People
Folk
Good people
Friends in Christ (if religious context makes it appropriate)
People of God (if religious context makes it appropriate)

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