AN INTERSECTIONAL LGBTQ+ GLOSSARY OF TERMS
Our glossary of terms:
AAVE is a way of speaking typically seen in African American and Black Canadian Communities.
AAVE may be considered a dialect, ethnolect or sociolect. While it is clear that there is a strong historical relationship between AAVE and earlier Southern U.S. dialects, the origins of AAVE are still a matter of debate.
(See: Black and Blaq/Blaqueer)
AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is the name used to describe a number of potentially life-threatening infections and illnesses that happen when your immune system has been severely damaged by the HIV virus. During the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, primarily gay men were persecuted in connection with the illness, as it was perceived that only gay men could contract HIV. However, nowadays, for the first time, more heterosexual people are HIV positive than Queer people. And statistically over 50 per cent of all adults living with HIV currently identify as women.
Beliefs or practices that rest on the assumption that being able-bodied is “normal” while other states of being need to be “fixed” or altered. This can result in devaluing or discriminating against people with physical, intellectual or psychiatric disabilities. Institutionalised ableism may include or take the form of un/intentional organisational barriers that result in disparate treatment of disabled people.
See: Accessibility, Inter-able, Neurodiverse & Autism.
Abuse is the improper usage or treatment of a person, often to unfairly or improperly gain benefit. Abuse can come in many forms, such as: physical or verbal maltreatment, injury, assault, violation, rape, unjust practices, crimes, or other types of aggression. Historically marginalised groups are disproportionately impacted by the effects of abuse.
The "ability to access" the functionality of a system or entity, and gain the related benefits. The degree to which a product, service, or environment is accessible by as many people as possible. Accessible design ensures both direct (unassisted) access and indirect access through assistive technology (e.g., computer screen readers). In this sense, thinking about digital accessibility makes us consider the way in which we share information. Universal design ensures that an environment can be accessed, understood, and used to the greatest extent possible by all people.
In the world we live in, especially when it comes to our careers, a lot of our accomplishments are based on achievements. In the LGBTQIA+ Community, we have achieved a lot, as far as civil rights and acceptance in society. When there is always more to do to improve though, it is sometimes easy to forget to reflect on what we have achieved, and where we have come from. The same applies to all of us on an individual basis - we should all make time to look back and truly appreciate what we have done, and what it took to bring us here today.
Someone who labels themselves as an ‘activist’ typically adopts a more grassroots approach and can (to an extent) hold anti-establishment mindset. Often, an activist’s lifestyle can be heavily steered by their stance on a specific issue. Furthermore, activists spur on wider political and systemic change through their actions and words.
An addiction manifests in any behaviour that a person finds temporary pleasure or relief in and therefore craves, suffers negative consequences from, and has trouble giving up. Members of the LGBTQIA+ Community are statistically more than twice as likely than straight people to battle with addiction at some point in their lifetime. This may be down to increased mental health challenges, internalised negative views about oneself as a result of marginalisation and discrimination, or a coping response to trauma.
The adoption of children by same-sex and queer couples is a concept that has recently received more-widespread support in the mainstream and this has been reflected in changes in legislation.
This does not mean that same-sex and queer parents do not face opposition to adopting children from those who are more conservative. Adoption is a great way for same-sex/queer couples who are not able to conceive naturally to expand their family, and also provide a loving home to a child who is disadvantaged. It is also common for couples who can conceive to adopt out of a desire to positively impact the life of a child living in care.
(See: Family and Fostering)
Referring to a difficult or unpleasant situation. Queer people regularly face adversity that cisgender heterosexual people do not, such as discrimination in the workplace, rejection by family members, medical gatekeeping, political scapegoating or violence and abuse on account of their identity.
Similarly to an ‘activist,’ an advocate also wants to make change and support a cause or community that matters to them. However, they work within existing systems to raise awareness about issues and injustice, selectively considering when they are vocal about a specific issue - amplifying discourse taking place in society, and bolstering the efforts of activists.
Something that motivates, inspires and encourages you to take action and to realise your goals. These are most often short phrases that you can repeat throughout the day. Affirmations are important tools to help us change our patterns of thought, maintain a positive mindset, and also help us get back on to the right path if we are struggling.
Affirmative action involves sets of policies and practices within a government or organisation seeking to include particular groups based on their gender, race, disability, sexuality, creed or nationality in areas in which such groups are underrepresented. This is important to ensure diversity of thought within organisations, as well as to bolster social mobility of individuals who are afforded opportunities.
An ally is someone who supports people who are in a minority group or who are discriminated against, even though they do not belong to that group themselves. True allyship requires action and continuous unwavering solidarity. It is not about convenience or optics - this would be considered 'Performative Allyship'. The positive effect of an ally can only be evaluated by the receiver.
Anti-racism encompasses a range of ideas and political actions which are meant to counter racial prejudice, systemic racism, and the oppression of specific racial groups. It is important that we all practice Anti-Racism within the Queer Community, as many of the biggest changemakers who have helped afford us the civil rights we have today, have been People of Colour.
Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities. Just like any other form of discrimination, Anti-Semitism has no place in the Queer Community, or in wider society as a whole.
Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe (which is often identified through medical diagnosis). Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life, but LGBTQ+ people are more than twice as likely to experience. If your anxiety is getting in the way of your everyday life, it's important to seek support from people that you trust, and find holistic tools to help manage the symptoms.
See: Grounding, Meditation & Reflection.
The inappropriate or unacknowledged adoption of an element or elements of one's culture or identity by members of another culture or identity. This can be controversial when members of a dominant culture appropriate from minority cultures. When thinking specifically about the appropriation of the LGBTQIA+ community, Queerbaiting is a prime example of this.
A statement, pattern of behaviour, or model which others then replicate or emulate going forward. The archetype has become recognisable or quintessential as a standard of the type in society over generations of human culture - specifically for the LGBTQIA community, this manifests itself in types of people or crowds in the community - who have similar body types, interests or display similar behaviours.
A person who does not experience sexual attraction. Some asexual people experience romantic attraction, while others do not. Asexual people who experience romantic attraction might also use terms such as gay, bi, lesbian, straight and queer in conjunction with asexual to describe the direction of their romantic attraction.