Ally—A person in a position of privilege who takes an active stance against oppression and injustice. Typically refers to those who act within the same sphere(s) they experience privilege in, for instance, white people who oppose racism, straight people who stand for LGBT rights, etc.
Anarchism—Political ideology advocating for a world without the state and other hierarchical systems of power. Contrary to popular belief, it has nothing to do with Armageddon, wild-eyed bandits running around and eating children, or other states of social disorder.
Cisgender (adj.)—Term used to describe a person whose assigned sex at birth matches their gender identity. The opposite of transgender.
Consent—Permission, typically for a sexual act. Valid consent is enthusiastic, verbal, and freely given by someone who is in a sound state of mind (not intoxicated)
Genderqueer (adj.)—Term used by some individuals who don’t identify as entirely male or entirely female.
Intersectionality—The interaction of multiple statuses—such as race, class, gender, age, etc.— and how these specific interactions contribute to and magnify experiences of social inequality and oppression.
Intersex (adj.)—Used to describe a person whose genitalia, chromosomes, or other physical sex characteristics do not match those “traditionally” considered male or female.
Kyriarchy (n.) —(adj. kyriarchal) from the Greek kyrios “master” and archein “rule/dominate”, coined by feminist theologian Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza to be more encompassing than the word “patriarchy”, meaning a “complex pyramidal system of intersecting . . . social structures . . . of ruling and oppression.” As opposed to patriarchy which only refers to sexism as the “main” manifestation of domination, kyriarchy describes a dynamic network of structures of domination, including but not limited to racism, sexism, ageism, ableism, hetero- and cis-sexism, etc.
Liberal (adj.)—Pertaining to a political ideology that advocates establishing representative democracies and capitalist economies and/or working within said systems for increased social and economic justice. See also: radical.
Marginalization—The lowered status that comes with having an aspect of one’s identity not regarded as the social norm. Closely linked to privilege.
Patriarchy—The domination of men over women and institutions and social structures that support that domination.
POC—Short for “person of color.” Generally the preferred term for referring to non-white people.
Preferred pronouns—A person’s chosen words to refer to themselves. While many individuals feel comfortable using “she” or “he,” many genderqueer, trans* and non-binary individuals use other pronouns, including “they” or “ze.”
Privilege—The elevated status that comes with having an aspect of one’s identity, such as one’s race, sex, sexual orientation, or class, regarded as the social norm. Privilege is multidimensional, meaning that an individual may experience privilege with regards to one aspect of their identity while experiencing marginalization (see above) with regards to another. See also: Intersectionality.
Racism—A form of systematic oppression which privileges white people above people of other races. Many people use “racism” interchangeably with “prejudice based on race.” Some people will defend this definition by pointing to the dictionary, while ignoring who wrote the dictionary (white people). However, while anyone can experience prejudice or stereotyping as a result of their race, racism describes an institutionalized system in our culture which benefits white people at the expense of other races.
Radical (adj.)—Pertaining to the large, heterogenous group of left-wing political ideologies (e.g. anarchism, socialism) that advocate for forms of social organization fundamentally different from capitalist, representative democracy. See also: Liberal.
Trans*—An all encompassing-term for transgender, genderqueer and intersex people, as well as those whose gender identity doesn’t fit within the male/female gender binary. The asterisk comes from search logic, where putting an asterisk at the end of a prefix returns results for all words beginning with that prefix.
Transgender (adj.)—Term used to describe a person whose assigned sex at birth does not match their gender identity. The opposite of cisgender.
Trigger warning—A warning, typically in text, that the following content could cause extremely strong and damaging emotional reactions in certain readers or viewers who encountered them unaware. Sometimes abbreviated as “TW.” Typically written as “[trigger warning: nature of content]”.