Here’s some terms that you may hear often during this camp:

Ally: A person who supports marginalized, silenced, or less privileged groups without actually being a member of those groups. This includes educating oneself and others, providing support to individuals, and challenging oppressive remarks, behaviors, policies, and institutional structures. This person will often directly confront and challenge systems of oppression.

Androgynous/Androgyny: One who is / the quality of simultaneously exhibiting masculine and feminine characteristics.

Anti-Racism: More than an intellectual opposition to the principles of racial supremacy, it is the recognition of racism as part of institutional structures and the struggle to stop power and gain based on racism and/or race bigotry.
It’s actively confronting racism in everyday situations.

Assimilation: the process whereby newcomers to society are encouraged to give up their cultural way of life and accommodate as quickly as possible to values and culture of the host society. It is an ethnocentric, one-way process of cultural exchange, in that only the newcomer is expected to adapt, with the implied promise that group acceptance will be the social reward.

Assigned Sex: The sex (female, male, intersex) assigned at birth based in the appearance of genitalia.

Bi-gendered: One who switches between masculine and feminine gender roles.

Bisexual/Bi: A person who is attracted to two sexes or two genders, but not necessarily simultaneously or equally. This used to be defined as a person who is attracted to both genders or both sexes, but since there are not only two sexes and there are not only two genders this definition can be inaccurate.

Cisgender: Cisgender is a concept in queer studies that labels persons who are not transgendered as something other than simply “normal.” That is, it provides a name for a gender identity or performance in a gender role that society considers to match, or be appropriate for one’s assigned sex.

Class: A class consists of a large group of people who occupy a similar economic position in the wider society based on income, wealth, property ownership, education, skills, or authority in the economic sphere. Class affects people not only on an economic level, but also on an emotional level.

Classism: Prejudice and/or discrimination, either personally or institutionally, against people because of their real or perceived economic status or background.  Classism is the systematic oppression of poor people and people who work for wages by those who have access to control of the necessary resources by which other people make their living. Classism is also held in place by a system of beliefs which ranks people according to economic status, “breeding,” job and level of education. Classism says that upper class people are smarter and more articulate than working class and poor people.

Colonialism: The establishment, maintenance, acquisition, and expansion of colonies in one territory by people from another territory.  This system incorporates power and privilege as well as different forms of oppression, particularly racism.

Cultural Oppression: Aspects of our society that overtly and covertly attribute value and normality to dominant cultures and devalue, stereotype, and label people within targeted groups as “other”, different, less than, or render them invisible.

Fluid Identity: The concept that identity is not rigid but can and does change. This idea is often used in terms of gender, sexuality, as well as other factors of identity. This concept is fundamentally contrary to binary systems. A person who feels their identity is fluid often believes that rigid categories are oppressive and incapable of accurately describing their experience and identities.

Gender: A. In its most accepted definition, gender refers to the social roles (e.g., men, women) and characteristics that develop through cultural interpretations of biological or anatomical sex. In this definition, sex is seen as natural, and gender as the social construction that stems from readings of sex. B. A societal construct referring to roles, characteristics, behaviors, appearances, and identities that develop through cultural interpretations of genetic sex. one’s sense of being woman, man, girl, boy, androgynous, or something else entirely, or of being perceived as woman, man, etc.

Gender Binary/Gender Dualism: A system that defines and make room for two and only two distinct, natural, and opposite genders (i.e., male and female). These two genders are defined in opposition to each other, such that masculinity and femininity are seen as mutually exclusive. In this system, there is no room for any ambiguity or intermingling of gender traits.

Gender Identity: The gender with which a person identifies, or is identified. This can be different from a person’s assigned gender, which is determined as birth to be male or female or manipulated to resemble one or the other.  Anyone who does not abide by these arbitrary rules may be targeted for mistreatment ranging from not being included in people’s circle of friends, through the cold shoulder, snide comments, verbal harrassment, assault, rape, and murder based on one’s (perceived) gender identity. It is important to note that gender identity, biological sex, and sexuality are not necessarily linked.

Gender Oppression: Oppression of women and transgender people because of the gender binary system, gender roles and norms. Privileges cisgender men and people who choose to appear or present as men. Sexism and transphobia are two forms of gender oppression.

Genderqueer: A person who redefines or plays with gender norms, or who refuses the gender binary altogether. A label for people who bend/break the rules of gender and blur the boundaries.

Gender Roles: Cultural norms dictating how “men” and “women” are supposed to behave and look in a society. Expects people to have certain personality characteristics, act, and dress a certain way based on their assigned sex. Labels these behaviors as either masculine or feminine.

Heterosexism: The belief, upheld by hetero-patriarchy, that heterosexual desire is the only “natural” or “normal” sexuality and is superior to other sexual orientations, and therefore the perceived right to dominate Gay/Lesbian/Bi/Trans/Queer people.  This can refer to any institution or belief system that excludes or makes invisible questioning, lesbian, non-labeling, bisexual, transgender, queer, and gay people, as well as any system that constructs queer sexualities as deviant, wrong, or immoral. Heterosexism is deeply rooted in the culture and institutions in our society. Homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia all stem from and are supported by heterosexism. Heterosexism enforces and is enforced by a binary gender system. Binaries similarly enforce racism and other systems of power.

Intersections of Oppression: These occur when an individual is defined by more than one oppressed element of their identity. Often these intersections are used to further oppress an individual; this manifests frequently in situations where an individual is forced to choose one oppressed element of their identity over another for political reasons.

Intersex: An anatomical variation from typical understandings of male and female genetics. The physical manifestation, at birth, of genetic or endocrinological differences from the cultural norm. Also a group of medical conditions that challenge standard sex designations, proving that sex, like gender, is a social construct. Intersex and transgender folks share some overlapping experiences and perspectives, but the terms are not synonymous, and the issues are not the same. “Intersex” or “intersexual” is used today in favor of the term “hermaphrodite”.

Institutional Oppression: The systematic mistreatment of people within a social identity group that is supported and enforced by society and it’s organizations solely based on a person’s membership in that group.

Internalized Oppression: The result of people of a targeted identity believing, acting on, or enforcing the dominant (mainstream) stereotypes about themselves and members of their group.

Interpersonal Oppression: Verbal, physical, or emotional abuse where the target individual is subjected to degrading language  and behavior that enforces them as inferior by members of an agent (privileged) group.

Minority or Under-represented: any group that is socially defined as different from the dominant group in society, is at a power disadvantage, receives less than its proportionate share of scare resources due to its power disadvantage, and finds its differential treatment justified in terms of socially define differences.

Misogyny: openly hating all women simply because they are female. Little attention is paid to the toll that misogyny takes on society in general, and on women and girls specifically, both trans and non-trans. Its forms are limitless. Misogyny manifests itself in  everyday situations such as media’s views on women’s bodies plastered virtually everywhere, to hideous violence — from brutal beatings and rape to outright torture and murder just for being viewed as a woman.

Oppression:  Prejudice + Power = Oppression.  A systematic social phenomenon based on the difference between social groups that involves ideological domination, institutional control, and the promulgation of the oppressor group’s ideology, logic system and culture on the oppressed group.The system of oppression gives power to some at the expense of others.  The result is the exploitation of one social group by another for its own benefit, real or imagined. Oppression itself is a complex and interconnected system used to maintain power structures in our society.  The unfortunate thing about the system is that each and every one of us was born into it and we all contribute to it, mostly unintentionally.

Patriarchy: In its narrow meaning, patriarchy refers to the system, historically derived from Greek and Roman law, in which the male head of the household had absolute legal and economic power over his dependent female and male family members. Patriarchy in its wider definition means the manifestation and institutionalization of male dominance over women and children in the family and the extension of male dominance over women in society in general. It implies that men hold power in all the important institutions of society and that women are deprived of access to such power. It does not imply that women are either totally powerless or totally deprived of rights, influence, and resources.

Power: The ability to exercise control. Having access to systems and resources as legitimated by individuals and societal institutions.

Prejudice: A positive or negative attitude toward a person or group, formed without just grounds or sufficient knowledge–will not be likely to change in spite of new evidence or contrary argument.

Privilege: An “unearned advantage” that works to “systematically over empower certain groups” in society/the world. Privilege assigns dominance simply based on gender, race, sexuality, and nationality, among other factors of identity. Privilege is “an invisible package of unearned assets” that members of privileged groups “can count on cashing in every day,” but about which they “are meant to remain oblivious.”

Queer: An umbrella identity term encompassing lesbians, questioning people, gay men, bisexuals, non-labeling people, transgendered folks, and anyone else who does not strictly identify as heterosexual. “Queer” originated as a derogatory word. Currently, it is being reclaimed by some people and used as a statement of empowerment. Some people identify as queer to distance themselves from the rigid categorizations of “straight” and “gay”. Some transgendered, lesbian, gay, questioning, non-labeling, and bisexual people, however, reject the use of this term due its connotations of deviance and its tendency to gloss over and sometimes deny the differences between these groups.

Race: A specious classification of human beings created by white Europeans. Race has no genetic or scientific foundation. However it assigns human worth and social status using “white” as the model of humanity for the purpose of establishing and maintaining racism, power and privilege. Thus, race is socially constructed but has real impacts on people’s everyday lives.

Racism: Racism= Race prejudice+ Power. Racial and cultural prejudice and discrimination, supported intentionally or unintentionally by institutional power and authority, used to the advantage of one race and the disadvantage of other races. The critical element that differentiates racism from prejudice and discrimination is the use of institutional power and authority to support prejudices and enforce discriminatory behaviors in systemic ways with far-reaching outcomes and effects.

Reverse Racism/other isms: This is a myth. Discrimination and racism are not the same thing. Anyone can discriminate but that doesn’t mean that they are racist. There is a difference. What makes racism different is the institution of power and control backing it. While white people hold the majority of all positions of power (institutional and interpersonal), and have so historically for hundreds of years, they are the only race that could be considered truly racist. This “reverse oppression” myth also holds true for “reverse sexism”, “reverse classism,” etc.

Sexism: Sexism = Prejudice+ Power against women and people perceived as female. Sexism is the outward manifestation of an inward system of values deliberately designed to structure privilege by means of an objective, differential, and unequal treatment of women, for the purpose of social advantage over scarce resources. This values system gives rise to an ideology of supremacy, which justifies power of position by placing a negative meaning and value on perceived or actual biological/cultural differences.

Sexual Identity: refers to how one thinks of oneself in terms of whom one is sexually and romantically attracted to.

Transgender (Trans*): This term has many definitions. It is frequently used as an umbrella term to refer to all people who deviate from their assigned gender or the binary gender system, including intersex people, transsexuals, cross-dressers, transvestites, genderqueers, drag kings, drag queens, two-spirit people, and others. Some trans people feel they exist not within one of the two standard gender categories, but rather somewhere between, beyond, or outside of those two genders. Some trans people choose to transition with hormone therapy and/or surgery while others do not.

Transmisogyny– the intersection of transphobia and misogyny that specifically targets trans women

Transphobia: The fear or hatred of transgendered and transsexual people. This term was created to call attention to the ways that prejudice against trans people differs from prejudice against other queer people. There is often transphobia in gay, lesbian, and bisexual communities, as well as straight communities.

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