Functional diversity
Functional diversity is a term for special needs, disability, impairment and related conditions, which began to be used in Spain in scientific writing, at the initiative of those directly affected, in 2005.

Neurodiversity / neurodivergence
A term for conditions such as autism, dyslexia, and other cognitive differences that means they are different, not 'faulty'. (Contrasted with neurotypical, people whose cognitive functions are typical.)

Social model of disability
The idea that disabled people are disadvantaged by the way society discriminates against them, e.g. by not building in accessibility (contrasted with the medical model, which maintains that it is the physical disability that causes the disadvantage).


Gender and Sexuality

A glossary of terms put together by members of the inclusive Wicca discussion group on Facebook.

Person who experiences no sexual attraction and/or desire. Also "ace." Asexuals may or may not have romantic desires. (Related: Demisexual and Grey A)

Person appearing and/or identifying as neither man nor woman, presenting a gender either mixed or neutral.

consensual Bondage, Domination, Submission, Sadism, Masochism.

The word camp comes from Polari, the argot used by gay people from the late 19th to the mid-20th century. When I first encountered the word (some time in the early 1980s), it meant something like arch, wry, cheeky, or slightly over-decorated (hence the expression "as camp as Christmas"). It is possibly derived from Italian campare "to exaggerate, make stand out".

Cisgender and cissexual (often abbreviated to simply cis) describe related types of gender identity where individuals' experiences of their own gender match the sex they were assigned at birth.

A demisexual is a person who does not experience sexual attraction unless they form a strong emotional connection with someone. It's more commonly seen in but by no means confined to romantic relationships. The term demisexual comes from the orientation being "halfway between" sexual and asexual.

The magazine Anything That Moves coined the acronym "FABGLITTER" from Fetish (such as the BDSM lifestyle community), Allies or poly-Amorous, Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Intersex, Transgender, Transsexual Engendering Revolution or inter-Racial attraction; however, this term has not made its way into common usage.

Gender Expression
The external display of gender, through a combination of dress, demeanour, social behaviour, and other factors, generally measured on a scale of 'masculinity' and 'femininity'. (The idea that there is a spectrum from masculine to feminine is itself problematic. Consider referring to the landscape of gender instead.)

Gender Identity
The internal perception of an individual’s gender, and how they label themselves. (Not to be confused with biological sex - see below).

Adj. "denoting or relating to a person who does not identify themselves as having a fixed gender."

Not feeling particularly aligned to either gender in the gender binary model, either being neutral in gender expression, or expressing a mixture of gender roles.

Adj./Noun. "denoting or relating to a person who does not subscribe to conventional gender distinctions but identifies with neither, both, or a combination of male and female genders."

Gender and Sexual Diversity (GSD)
A term coined by Dominic Davies of Pink Therapy to include all forms of diversity (including kink, polyamory, LGBT, etc) without the need to add extra letters to LGBT and other acronyms.

A person with a set of sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit within the labels of female or male (e.g., 47, XXY phenotype, uterus, and penis). Note that there are seven different primary and secondary sexual characteristics that are used to assign gender to individuals, and some or all of these may vary, which means that biological sex is by no means a simple binary of male and female.

A general term for consensual practices and lifestyles falling under the BDSM umbrella - Bondage, Domination, Submission, Sadism, Masochism.

Any combination of letters attempting to represent all the identities in the queer community, this acronym represents Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Pansexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Intergender, Asexual, Ally.

Acronym used in Turtle Island (North America) to include Two Spirit people as well as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Pansexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Intergender, Asexual, Ally.

The idea that the universe contains many different types of energy, not just two types.

Non-binary refers to any gender that is not exclusively male or female. Some common nonbinary gender identities include: agender, bigender, genderfluid, androgyne, and neutrois. It is usually considered to be under the transgender umbrella, and some nonbinary people will also identify as trans. Non-binary is often shorted to NB or enby.

Any form of relationship structure, practice or orientation, that involves having more than one romantic and/or sexual partner.

The argot used by gay people from the late 19th to the mid-20th century. Polari (or alternatively Parlare, Parlary, Palare, Palarie, Palari; from Italian parlare, "to talk") is a form of cant slang used in Britain by actors, circus and fairground showmen, merchant navy sailors, criminals, prostitutes, and the gay subculture. There is some debate about its origins, but it can be traced back to at least the nineteenth century and possibly the sixteenth century.  It appears that Polari contains many words appropriated from the Romani language.

To some Wiccans, the energy created by a man and a woman interacting. To inclusive Wiccans, the energy generated by any pair of opposites - lover and beloved, Air and Earth, Fire and Water, active and passive, transmitting and receptive, spirit and matter, self and other, me and you, Red and Green, transgender and cisgender, morning people and evening people, dog-lovers and cat-lovers, tea-drinkers and coffee-drinkers, introverts and extroverts, etc. It is not clear that male and female are opposites at all.

Polyamory (sometimes abbreviated to "poly") is a form of ethical non-monogamy, in which romantic (and/or sexual) relationship structures involve more than two people and all involved have knowledge of each other and the nature of the relationship.

Red and Green
Term coined by Hoblink magazine in the mid-1990s to describe two types of gay men who could create polarity together.

Term coined by Eddie Gutierrez meaning the energy created when two people who are attracted to sameness make magic together (e.g. two femme people or two butch people).

Term coined by Yvonne Aburrow to mean the energy that is created in a circle when all the participants are attuned to each other and the energy thus created is greater than the sum of the parts.

A medical term designating a certain combination of gonads, chromosomes, external gender organs, secondary sex characteristics and hormonal balances. Because usually subdivided into ‘male’ and ‘female’, this categorisation often does not recognize the existence of intersex bodies. It's also worth noting that the importance we accord to sex and gender as a society are not inevitable and therefore the meanings of biological sex are socially constructed.

SOGI (acronym)
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. Acronym used by international human rights organisations.

SSI (acronym)
Same Sex Initiation.

A term referring to when one's gender and sex are not always or ever equivalent. Often used as a referent to the person themself. This is a broad term that includes transexual (pre/non or post-op), non-gender, bi-, tri- & multi- gender, androgynes, etc. The state of being transgender does not usually have any bearing on sexual preferences.

Two-Spirit is a modern, pan-Indigenous, umbrella term used by some Indigenous North Americans to describe people in their communities who fulfill a traditional third-gender (or other gender-variant) ceremonial and social role in their cultures.

The term two-spirit was created in 1990 at the Indigenous lesbian and gay international gathering in Winnipeg, Canada.

The term [two-spirit] does not diminish the tribal-specific names, roles and traditions nations have for their own Two Spirit people. Examples of such names are the winkte among the Lakota and the nadleeh among the Diné (Navajo) people.

Two Spirit is a role that exists in a Native American/First Nations/Indigenous tribe for gender queer, gender fluid, and gender non-conforming tribal members. If you don't have a tribe/nation, you can't claim that role.



The policy or practice of opposing racism and promoting racial tolerance. (source: Oxford Dictionaries) Often contrasted with multiculturalism. According to Ibram X Kendi, in his book How to be an anti-racist, an anti-racist is a person who works to get racist policies changed.

Black, Indigenous, People of Colour. The preferred term in Canada.

Black, Asian, & Minority Ethnic - this is the preferred term in the UK. Why “Minority Ethnic”? to remind us that people are only in a minority in the UK, not everywhere in the world. (Source:

The construction of whiteness
The category of whiteness has changed over time due to the social construction of what being white means, and has gradually assimilated more and more ethnic groups over time.  Initially, Irish and southern European people didn't count as white, and so were on the receiving end of racism, until they were assimilated into the dominant group.
Racism is based on the concept of whiteness--a powerful fiction enforced by power and violence. Whiteness is a constantly shifting boundary separating those who are entitled to have certain privileges from those whose exploitation and vulnerability to violence is justified by their not being white (Kivel, 1996, p. 19).
‘Whiteness,' like ‘colour' and ‘Blackness,' are essentially social constructs applied to human beings rather than veritable truths that have universal validity. The power of Whiteness, however, is manifested by the ways in which racialized Whiteness becomes transformed into social, political, economic, and cultural behaviour. White culture, norms, and values in all these areas become normative natural. They become the standard against which all other cultures, groups, and individuals are measured and usually found to be inferior (Henry & Tator, 2006, pp. 46-67).
Institutional racism
When a whole organisation’s procedures and policies disadvantage BME people. In the UK the 1999 Macpherson report into the death of Stephen Lawrence defined institutional racism for the first time: ‘the collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture of ethnic origin. It can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racial stereotyping which disadvantaged minority ethnic people.’

Intersectionality (or intersectional theory) is a term first coined in 1989 by American civil rights advocate and leading scholar of critical race theory, Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw. It is the study of overlapping or intersecting social identities and related systems of oppression, domination, or discrimination. The theory suggests that—and seeks to examine how—various biological, social and cultural categories such as gender, race, class, ability, sexual orientation, religion, caste, age, nationality and other sectarian axes of identity interact on multiple and often simultaneous levels. 

Psychologist Derald Wing Sue defines microaggressions as "brief, everyday exchanges that send denigrating messages to certain individuals because of their group membership." They generally happen below the level of awareness of members of the dominant culture. They include statements that repeat or affirm stereotypes about the minority group or subtly demean it, that position the dominant culture as normal and the minority one as aberrant or pathological, that express disapproval of or discomfort with the minority group, that assume all minority group members are the same, that minimize the existence of discrimination against the minority group, seek to deny the perpetrator's own bias, or minimize real conflict between the minority group and the dominant culture.

Multiculturalism describes the existence, acceptance, or promotion of multiple cultural traditions within a single jurisdiction, usually considered in terms of the culture associated with an ethnic group. This can happen when a jurisdiction is created or expanded by amalgamating areas with two or more different cultures (e.g. French Canada and English Canada) or through immigration from different jurisdictions around the world. (Wikipedia: Multiculturalism)

The New Right 
An amorphous collection of neo-fascists who seek to get their ideas into the mainstream by piggybacking on more acceptable concepts.

People of colour / color (PoC)
American term for BME people. (Not to be confused with “coloured people” which was a racist term for “mixed-race” people in South Africa.)

We are all one race, members of the human race. However, racists tried to divide people up into “races”, arguing that they were biologically distinct. This does not mean that racism doesn't exist, only that the category of race is one that has been imposed and socially constructed.

The belief or ideology that ‘races’ have distinctive characteristics which gives some superiority over others. Also refers to discriminatory and abusive behaviour based on such a belief or ideology. In the UK, denying people access to good and services on the basis of their colour, nationality, ethnicity, religion etc is illegal and called racial discrimination. Institutional racism (a term coined by US Black Power leader Stokely Carmichael) occurs when a whole organisation’s procedures and policies disadvantage BME people. State racism refers to the way that racism can be enshrined in laws (such as immigration legislation), in procedures (such as police stops and searches) and programmes (such as those on political extremism). (Source:

Systemic Racism
"Systemic racism" describes how discriminatory actions show up in the American educational system, the economic system, the health care system, the criminal justice system and more. It's when individual attitudes of prejudice and bigotry are baked into the operations of cultural institutions. And as Fleming writes, “The consequences of systemic racism are vast — from the burgeoning racial wealth gap, political disenfranchisement, mass incarceration and racist immigration policies to microaggressions, racial profiling, racist media imagery and disparities in health, education, employment and housing.” - What is systemic racism - Today
Systemic racism explained in 9 charts - Vox

Völkisch / folkish
A belief that different “races” have different cultures and gods because of some essential characteristic of their “race” (e.g. the idea that the British sense of humour is genetically rather than culturally transmitted)

White feminism
A type of feminism embraced by some white women, which fails to take into account intersectional issues of race and class, and assumes it knows best and can 'helicopter in' solutions to problems experienced by women in other cultures.

White privilege
Systemic advantages experienced by white people. Some of these are rights that have been denied to other groups; others are getting away with things that other ethnic groups wouldn’t get away with.
Whiteness studies
The study of the social construction of white identity, white privilege, and racial prejudice.

Explaining or commenting on something in a condescending, overconfident, and often inaccurate or oversimplified manner, from the perspective of the group one identifies with, e.g. racism being whitesplained to a person of colour, usually to dismiss their experience as invalid.

See also:

Self-defined: an open source dictionary

6 Ways Well-Intentioned People Whitesplain Racism (And Why They Need to Stop), by Maisha Z. Johnson


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