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Is there a gender-neutral term for a Senator or Representative?

  • Senator: gender-neutral, but only includes Senators
  • Representative: gender-neutral, but only includes Representatives
  • Congressman: male-only, seems to be mostly used for Representatives
  • Congresswoman: female-only, seems to be mostly used for Representatives
  • Congressperson: gender-neutral, same problem as Congressman and Congresswoman
  • Member of Congress: makes the most sense to me, but I've never heard it before
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    Member of Congress is commonly used to describe a Senator or a Representative. See congress.gov.
    – Panda
    Sep 2 at 4:13
  • @Panda thank you! It appears to be much more common than I had realized. Would you mind posting that as an answer?
    – Someone
    Sep 2 at 4:14
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    Congressperson is the correct term. If it mainly is used for representatives, that is probably because there are more than four times as many of them.
    – Obie 2.0
    Sep 2 at 5:19
  • Since you can't be a member of the House and the Senate at the same time, why are Senator and Representative being specific to senators and representatives problematic? The only issue I can see is if you need to identify more than one person, with a mix from both houses - "members of Congress." Sep 2 at 14:45
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    @PoloHoleSet or when the information of which house they're member(s) of isn't relevant in the context. Also, the reason Congress(wo)man/person isn't used for Senators is also that being senator carries a bit more prestige as being a rep. It's sort of the same reason why you don't call a general "soldier". Sep 2 at 15:14

2 Answers 2

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Member of Congress is commonly used to describe a Senator or a Representative. See congress.gov.

"Congressperson" is also a correct term. If it is mainly used for representatives, that is probably because there are more than four times as many of them. Also being a Senator carries a bit more prestige than being a Representative. It's sort of the same reason why you don't call a general "soldier".

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    convert comments to a CW
    – James K
    Sep 2 at 18:15
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A technical gender-neutral and cameral-neutral term is “legislator”.

a person who makes laws; a member of a legislative body.

The more popular synonym, especially in media, is “lawmaker”.

Here are a few examples of headlines, just in the last couple of days, using the term lawmaker:

Screenshot of search results for news with the word”lawmaker”

Note that neither term refers uniquely to members of the United States Congress. They can be used to refer to a member of any legislative body. But, then again, the terms “senator” and “representative” are also not unique to the United States Congress.

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