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All,

I recently misgendered an individual by referring to them as a gentleman rather than a lady. Regardless of whether an individual is cisgender or transgender, it would be useful to have an inclusive term to replace gentleman or lady.

Note that I'm not asking for a replacement of "ladies and gentlemen" to address a crowd. Rather, I'm looking for a way to address a single individual.

In common usage, I consider lady/gentleman as an indicator of the value which is placed on another individual. For instance, "unhoused gentleman" communicates more respect and value than "unhoused man". Clearly, the replacement for "unhoused man" is "unhoused person". But what should be used to add the extra level of dignity? Perhaps, "unhoused gentleperson"?

For example, the word would fill the slot in the following sentence:

"Return your keys to the ________ at the desk."

Edit: I do not believe this is a duplicate. Related questions occur in situations where there is a category to which other people belong. I'm asking here about general usage where gentleman/lady is used to indicate the societal standing of an individual.

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – NVZ
    Commented Jul 14, 2022 at 2:58

1 Answer 1

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I think your choices are

gentleperson

and

respected desk clerk

I guess only the former requires a definition.

a gentleman or lady

(Merriam-Webster)

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  • Accepted for "gentleperson". I think it's the only good solution.
    – Dan Grahn
    Commented Jul 13, 2022 at 12:13

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