The purpose of this glossary is to provide a core of very basic definitions of terms as used in social justice discourse, praxis, and theory. Ideally, one should be familiar with these terms and definitions before reading other articles, as well as with these basic concepts.
- A form of discrimination that affects people with disabilities.
- To condescendingly explain something (especially to a person or people with disability/disabilities) from the viewpoint of able privilege.
- Assigned female at birth.
- Having or identifying with no gender.
- Assigned male at birth.
- The absence of sexual attraction. It may also encompass absence of romantic attraction, depending on the individual.
- A gender composed of two types of gendered behaviours, personas, mannerisms, expressions, and so on.
- The romantic (called biromantic) and/or sexual attraction to genders that are the same as oneself, as well as genders that are different from oneself.
- The mistaken belief that gender equality will be resolved automatically once a socialist system is in place.
- The gender identity of a person who continues to identify with the gender they were assigned at birth.
- To condescendingly explain something (especially to trans or non-binary people) from the viewpoint of cis privilege.
- A measure of inequality based on social standing, usually determined by financial worth.
- A person who is not open about their self-identities be they gender, orientation, religion, etc.
- To explain from the point of one or more privileges to oppressed people.
- The romantic (called demiromantic) and/or sexual attraction to people if and only if a close relationship is well established, and an emotional connection exists.
- To subvert or silence a discussion from its intended theme, moving it from talking about the original topic to another subject.
- The act of behaving in a cruel or unjust manner toward members of a less powerful group.
- Econosplaining is a verb that means to condescendingly explain something (especially to a person or people in economic difficulties) from the viewpoint of class privilege.
- Essentialism is the (problematic) view that people, objects, and ideas can be identified based on externally observable features. It can be seen as the opposite of self-identification.
- Ethnocentrism is judging a culture based on the values and standards of their own culture. It is also used to describe the belief in inherent superiority of one's own nation or ethnicity.
- FAAB is an acronym for female-assigned at birth. See also AFAB, transgender.
- Gaslighting is a form of oppressive behaviour designed to undermine an oppressed individual's credibility and increase dependence on the abuser. It is also used as a tactic to call a critic's motives into question and provide cover as a component of Rape culture.
- Gay has two broad meanings. It is a blanket term to describe either people (usually men) whose physical, romantic and/or emotional attractions are to people of the same gender or a term for LGBT people in general. Also used by some to mean "bad".
- Gay panic is a legal defense, usually against charges of assault or murder of gay men. A defendant using the defense claims that they acted in a state of violent temporary insanity due to fear of gay people. This defense often fails, and has been ruled inadmissible in many jurisdictions, but prevails because of a homophobic narrative that gay men pose a sexual threat to straight men.
- Genderfluid is gender that changes.
- Gender identity is one’s internal, personal sense of being a woman or man, boy or girl, androgynous, or none of the above. Gender is a massive non-linear spectrum. And even though many of us live in a culture with a normative approach to gender, i.e., the colonial gender binary, does not mean everybody conforms to such a strict dichotomy.
- Genderqueer is an umbrella term for gender identities other than man and woman, thus outside of the gender binary and cisnormativity.
- Hetero-assimilation is societal or individual encouragement of minorities to become more like the dominant heterosexual culture and standards.
- Heterosexuality (synonym: straightness) is the romantic (called heteroromantic) and/or sexual attraction to people on the opposite side of the gender binary.
- Heterosplaining see straightsplaining.
- Hijra is the term for North Indian MAAB people who identify either as women, a non-andro identity, androgynous, or even non-androus non-gynous identity; Aravani and Thirunangai are used in Tamil Nadu.
- Homophobia is the bigotry, oppression and marginalisation of gay people.
- Homosexuality is the romantic (called homoromantic) and/or sexual attraction to people on the same side of the gender binary.
- Intersectionality is a way of analysing how individuals experience oppression or privilege based on their interacting social identities.
- Kyriarchy is a label for intersecting systems of domination and submission, in which a single individual might be oppressed in some relationships and privileged in others. It is an extension of the idea of patriarchy beyond gender.
- Lesbian a person who identifies as a woman and whose romantic and/or sexual attraction is exclusively to other women.
- LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans. The variations, e.g., LGBTQI+, GLBT, QUILTBAG, GSRM, etc., are perhaps more inclusive than gay, by making more of a note of the diversity of the community. Although as an umbrella term this acronym suffers from the common problems of perpetuating blindness to intersectional oppression, e.g., non-binary or ace people are never brought to mind.
- MAAB is an acronym for male-assigned at birth. See also AMAB, transgender.
- Manarchism is the mistaken belief that gender equality will be resolved "naturally" once an socialanarchist system is in place.
- Mansplaining is a verb that means to condescendingly explain something (especially to a woman or women) from the viewpoint of male privilege. The splainer usually - but not always - holds male privilege.
- Men's Rights Activist (MRA) is a member of the men's rights movement.
- Men's rights movement (MRM) is a reactionary and explicitly anti-feminist and misogynistic collection of predominantly cishet men. They claim women have greater privilege than men in society.
- Men who have sex with men and/or males who have sex with males (MSM), is used as an umbrella term, mainly by those studying HIV/AIDS, for men who engage in sexual acts with other men. While having a just reason for existence both variants are problematic.
- MoC is an acronym for a Man of Color or Men of Color.
- Neutrois is a gender identity that is non-binary and/or genderless. See also Agender.
- Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are neither a part of a government nor a conventional for-profit business, although they may be funded by either, both and/or donations from the public. The term is broadly used and can refer to any organization that is not for-profit, not a political party, and not directly state controlled. Examples: Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Médecins Sans Frontières, Oxfam, Red Cross / Red Crescent, Unicef.
- NTsplaining is a verb that means to condescendingly explain something (especially to an autistic person or neurodivergent people) from the viewpoint of neurotypical privilege. The splainer usually - but not always - holds neurotypical privilege.
- Other is an umbrella term for a social construction, ideology, or state of mind, that enables seeing other humans (individually or as whole groups or cultures) as distinct lesser beings.
- Othering is the process of placing another individual, group, society or culture into the position of an Other. Othering often leads to feeling like an Other for the targeted person or group.
- Otherkin are people who identify as non-human.
- Orientation describes the group of people an individual's sexual and/or romantic attraction encompasses, e.g. on the androphilic-gynephilic spectrum. Often it also implies the gender of the person, for example, lesbian implies a woman who is attracted to women. Orientation is not necessarily stable through a person's lifetime. Sexual preference and sexual orientation are deprecated terms; the former because it presumes complete control over to whom one's attraction is directed, the latter because it presumes that attraction is all sexual, as opposed to gender or romantically based.
- Pansexuality is the romantic (called panromantic) and/or sexual attraction to all genders. See also bisexuality.
- Patriarchy is a social system that oppresses, marginalises, and devalues feminine, femme, and other non-masculine, traits and behaviours, and thus by extension treats people who possess or exhibit these traits in an oppressive way.
- Penis is a body part: that can form during foetal development created when, a Y sex chromosome is present and enough androgen is present; or that can be formed by a medical procedure known as gender reassignment surgery, or more specifically in this case phalloplasty or metoidioplasty.
- PoC is an acronym for a Person of Color or People of Color.
- Prejudice plus power is an academic definition of institutional oppression. It is most often used in relation to sexism and racism, but may be applied to many different oppressions which are enforced on a systematic basis.
- Pride, or gay/LGBT pride (parade), is the celebration held every year round the world commemorating the Stonewall riots and for the marches and public demonstrations of the LGBT community in general.
- Privilege refers to the granted social, cultural, financial, and other advantages (or lack of disadvantages) that a group or individual holding a measure of institutional power possesses as part of their identity.
- Privsplaining see condesplaining.
- PwD is an acronym for a Person with a Disability or People with Disability/Disabilities. Also used for a Person / People with Diabetes. Sometimes used inclusively, for also a Person with a Chronic Illness or People with Chronic Illness(es)/Disease(s).
- Queer is often used by academics to refer to anything sexually or gender diverse and by activists who have reclaimed the word and use it as a new umbrella to replace (one of the meanings of) "gay" and/or LGBT. It was originally an abusive epithet for a gay man.
- Queer studies is the academic field which investigates gender and sexual diversity.
- Questioning in this context refers to someone who is attempting to find their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Romantic orientation is part of a person's orientation. It sometimes correlates with sexual orientation. Some asexual people can be romantically attracted to others, or they can be aromantic, or they can be on the spectrum between the two, i.e., demiromantic.
- Sex is the activity, as well as the traditional classification of people as male or female. People are assigned a sex/gender (as in this normative context they are used to mean the same thing) based mainly on genitals by their parents. Sex/gender assigned at birth is binary, as defined by patriarchy. In reality of course, both a person's sex and gender are non-binary.
- Sexuality is often used as a synonym for (sexual) orientation.
- Sizesplaining is a verb that means to condescendingly explain something (especially to a person or people who is/are thinner or heavier than socially accepted) from the viewpoint of "normal" body size privilege. The splainer usually - but not always - holds "normal" body size privilege. Often used as a synonym for thinsplaining.
- Slut Shaming is shaming of an individual for engaging in sexual activity. It is often used as an excuse to blame the victim of rape or sexual assault, such as asserting the crime was caused because of the victim wearing revealing clothing. See also: Victim blaming.
- Splaining (alternative spellings: 'splaining or splainin') see condesplaining.
- Straight see heterosexuality.
- Straightsplaining (synonym: heterosplaining) is a verb that means to condescendingly explain something (especially to a bisexual, gay, lesbian or pansexual person or people) from the viewpoint of straight privilege. The splainer usually - but not always - holds straight privilege.
- SWERF is an acronym for sex-worker exclusionary radical feminism/ist. See also TERF.
- TERF stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminism, or trans-exclusionary radical feminist, for example, Cathy Brennan.
- Thinsplaining is a verb that means to condescendingly explain something (especially to a person or people who is/are heavier than socially accepted) from the viewpoint of thin privilege. The splainer usually - but not always - holds thin privilege. See also sizesplaining.
- Third gender is a distinct gender that is neither male nor female.
- Thirunangai is a word used in Tamil Nadu for non-binary gender identities. See also Hijra.
- Transgender is an individual's gender identity expression not matching that which was assigned at birth. This can include one gender, both genders, a mix of genders, or no gender at all. Transgender identity is separate from sexual orientation.
- Trigger warning (or TW) is a way of allowing people to view, read, listen to, or otherwise experience something consensually. TWs can be seen as akin to age certificates on films or video games.
- Vagina is a body part: that can form during foetal development, regardless of what sex chromosomes are present, based on the absence of, or an insensitivity to, androgens; or that can be formed by a medical procedure known as gender reassignment surgery, or more specifically in this case vaginoplasty.
- Whitesplaining is a verb that means to condescendingly explain something (especially to a person or people of color) from the viewpoint of white privilege. The splainer usually - but not always - holds white privilege. Sometimes called colorsplaining or melaninsplaining.
- WoC is an acronym for a Woman of Color or Women of Color.
- Read more about the foetal development of the reproductive system on Wikipedia.