Diversity and Inclusion Glossary

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Ableism - discrimination against persons with mental and/or physical disabilities; social structures that favor able-bodied individuals. (The National Multicultural Institute)

Acculturation - the process of learning and incorporating the language, values, beliefs, and behaviors that makes up a distinct culture. This concept is not to be confused with assimilation, where an individual or group may give up certain aspects of its culture in order to adapt to that of the prevailing culture. (The National Multicultural Institute)

Advocate - noun a person who actively works to end intolerance, educate others, and support social equity for a marginalized group. 2 verbs: to actively support or plea in favor of a particular cause, the action of working to end intolerance or educate others. (Swarthmore University)

Affirmative Action - proactive policies and procedures for remedying the effect of past discrimination and ensuring the implementation of equal employment and educational opportunities, for recruiting, hiring, training and promoting women, minorities, people with disabilities and veterans in compliance with the federal requirements enforced by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). (Society for Human Resources Management)

Ageism - discrimination against individuals because of their age, often based on stereotypes. (The National Multicultural Institute)

Agender - adj.: a person with no (or very little) connection to the traditional system of gender, no personal alignment with the concepts of either man or woman, and/or someone who sees themselves as existing without gender. Sometimes called gender neutrois, gender neutral, or genderless. (Glacier Queer Alliance)

Androgyny - “An-jrah-jun-ee”/ (androgynous) – 1 noun.: a gender expression that has elements of both masculinity and femininity; 2 adj.: occasionally used in place of “intersex” to describe a person with both female and male anatomy, generally in the form “androgyne.” (Safe Zone Project)

Androsexual - androphilic – adj.: being primarily sexually, romantically and/or emotionally attracted to men, males, and/or masculinity. (The National Athletic Trainer Association)

Anti-Oppression - Recognizing and deconstructing the systemic, institutional and personal forms of disempowerment used by certain groups over others; actively challenging the different forms of oppression. (Center for Anti-Oppressive Education)

Anti-Racism - the work of actively opposing discrimination based on race by advocating for changes in political, economic, and social life. Anti- racism tends to be an individualized approach, which is set up to counter an individual’s racist behaviors and impact. (Time’s Up)

Arbitrary - Based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system. (Lexico.com)

Arbitrary status hierarchies - Status differences that are not based on actual differences in competence or ability but are based on what somebody happens to be born as (their gender, their race/ethnicity, their disability status, and so on). (Marian University)

Aromantic - /” ay-Ro-man-tic”/ adj.: experiencing little or no romantic attraction to others and/or has a lack of interest in romantic relationships/behavior. Aromanticism exists on a continuum from people who experience no romantic attraction or have any desire for romantic activities, to those who experience low levels, or romantic attraction only under specific conditions. Many of these different places on the continuum have their own identity labels (see demiromantic). Sometimes abbreviated to “aro” (pronounced like “arrow”). (Safe Zone Project)

Asexual - adj.: experiencing little or no sexual attraction to others and/or a lack of interest in sexual relationships/behavior. Asexuality exists on a continuum from people who experience no sexual attraction or have any desire for sex, to those who experience low levels, or sexual attraction only under specific conditions. Many of these different places on the continuum have their own identity labels (see demisexual). Sometimes abbreviated to “ace.” (Illinois Wesleyan University)

Assimilate - To take in (information, ideas, or culture) and understand fully. It is to blend in without diversity of unique traits. (Merriam-Webster)

Audit - To take in (information, ideas, or culture) and understand fully. It is to blend in without diversity of unique traits. (Merriam-Webster)

Belonging - the feeling of security and support when there is a sense of acceptance, inclusion, and identity for a member of a certain group or place. For people to feel like they belong, the environment (in this case the workplace) needs to be set up to be a diverse and inclusive place. (SHRM)

Belongingness - The feeling that a person has that they are a valued part of the group.

Bias - a positive or negative inclination towards a person, group, or community; can lead to stereotyping. (Thiederman)

Bi-curious - adj.; a curiosity toward experiencing attraction to people of the same gender/sex (like questioning). (The Safe Zone Project)

Bigender - adj.: a person who fluctuates between traditionally “woman” and “man” gender-based behavior and identities, identifying with both genders (or sometimes identifying with either man or woman, as well as a third, different gender). (The National Athletic Trainers Association)

Bigotry - intolerant prejudice which glorifies one’s own group and denigrates members of other groups. (Dismantling Racism Institute)

Binder - noun: an undergarment used to alter or reduce the appearance of one’s breasts (worn similarly to how one wears a sports bra). binding – adj.: the (sometimes daily) process of wearing a binder. Binding is often used to change the way other’s read/perceive one’s anatomical sex characteristics, and/or as a form of gender expression. (San Luis Valley Behavioral Health Group)

Biological sex - noun: a medical term used to refer to the chromosomal, hormonal and anatomical characteristics that are used to classify an individual as female or male or intersex. Often referred to as simply “sex,” “physical sex,” “anatomical sex,” or specifically as “sex assigned at birth.” (National Athletic Trainers Association)

Biphobia - noun: a range of negative attitudes (e.g., fear, anger, intolerance, invisibility, resentment, erasure, or discomfort) that one may have or express toward bisexual individuals. Biphobia can come from and be seen within the LGBTQ community as well as straight society. biphobia – adj.: a word used to describe actions, behaviors, or individuals who demonstrate elements of this range of negative attitudes toward bisexual people. (The Safe Zone Project)

Bipoc - An acronym that stands for Black, indigenous and people of color. The term is meant to unite all people of color while acknowledging that Black people face different and often more severe forms of racial oppression and cultural erasure as consequences of systemic white supremacy and colonialism. (Diversity Style Guide)

Bisexual - 1 noun & adj: a person who experiences attraction to some men and women. 2 adj.: a person who experiences attraction to some people of their gender and another gender. Bisexual attraction does not have to be equally split or indicate a level of interest that is the same across the genders an individual may be attracted to. Often used interchangeably with “pansexual”. (Safe Zone Project)

Bisexuality - romantic and/or sexual attraction to people of more than one sex and/or gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree. (Ochs)

Bullying - intimidating, exclusionary, threatening or hostile behavior against an individual. (Sierra Club Employee Handbook)

Butch - noun & adj: a person who identifies themselves as masculine, whether it be physically, mentally, or emotionally. ‘Butch’ is sometimes used as a derogatory term for lesbians but is also be claimed as an affirmative identity label. (Swarthmore University)

Bystander - intervention The act of stepping in and correcting in the moment when a person of lower status is interrupted, talked over, disregarded, or ignored; it can be an act of speaking up on behalf of another person or insisting that someone be allowed person or insisting that someone be allowed to finish their thought, make their point, to be heard within a meeting, and so on. (Marian University)

CIS - Normativity noun: the assumption, in individuals and in institutions, that everyone is cisgender, and that cisgender identities are superior to trans* identities and people. Leads to invisibility of non-cisgender identities. (Illinois Wesleyan University)

Cisgender - a gender identity where an individual’s self-perception of their gender aligns with their perceived sex. (The National Multicultural Institute)

Cissexism - noun: the assumption, in individuals and in institutions, that everyone is cisgender, and that cisgender identities are superior to trans* identities and people. Leads to invisibility of non- cisgender identities. (Illinois Wesleyan University)

Classism - biased attitudes and beliefs that result in, and help to justify, unfair treatment of individuals or groups because of their socioeconomic grouping. Classism can also be expressed as public policies and institutional practices that prevent people from breaking out of poverty rather than ensuring equal economic, social, and educational opportunity. (The National Multicultural Institute)

Climate Employees - shared perceptions about the behaviors that are expected and rewarded within the organizational or workgroup context. It is a powerful tool that drives employee behaviors. (SHRM)

Closeted - adj.: an individual who is not open to themselves or others about their (queer) sexuality or gender identity. This may be by choice and/or for other reasons such as fear for one’s safety, peer or family rejection, or disapproval and/or loss of housing, job, etc. Also known as being “in the closet.” When someone chooses to break this silence, they “come out” of the closet. (Gender Equality Law Center)

Collusion - when people act to perpetuate oppression or prevent others from working to eliminate oppression. Example: able-bodied people who object to strategies for making buildings accessible because of the expense. (Adams, Bell and Griffin)

Colorblind - term used to describe personal, group, and institutional policies or practices that do not consider race or ethnicity as a determining factor. The term “colorblind” de-emphasizes or ignores race and ethnicity as a large part of one’s identity. (The National Multicultural Institute)

Coming out - noun: the process by which one accepts and/or comes to identify one’s own sexuality or gender identity (to “come out” to oneself). 2 verbs: the process by which one shares one’s sexuality or gender identity with others. (The University of Memphis)

Competence - The ability and confidence to do something successfully or efficiently. (Lexico.com)

Conscious Bias - In its extreme is characterized by overt negative behavior that can be expressed through physical and verbal harassment or through more subtle means such as exclusion. (Virginia Wesleyan University)

Constellation - noun: a way to describe the arrangement or structure of a polyamorous relationship. (Illinois Wesleyan University)

Corporate Social Responsibility - a business model that helps a company be socially accountable to itself, its stakeholders, and the public. CSR initiatives seek to make a positive impact on local communities and the environment. It is the way through which a company achieves a balance of economic, environmental and social imperatives. (UNIDO)

Cross-dresser - noun: someone who wears clothes of another gender/sex. (Swarthmore University)

Cultural Competence - refers to an individual's or an organization’s knowledge and understanding of different cultures and perspectives. It’s a measure of an individual's or a workforce’s ability to work with people of different nationalities, ethnicities, languages, and religions.

Cultural Intelligence (CQ) - the capability to adapt, relate and work effectively across cultures. People with high CQ are not experts in every kind of culture. Instead, they have the skills to go into new environments with confidence, and to make informed judgments based on observations and evidence as opposed to stereotypes and biases. They recognize shared influences among groups. (Seramount)

Cultural Sensitivity - being aware that cultural differences and similarities between people exist without assigning them a value. (Southeastern University) Cultural sensitivity skills can ensure the ability to work effectively alongside people with different cultural attitudes and behaviors. (Cultural Sensitivity Workshop)

Culture - a social system of meaning and custom that is developed by a group of people to assure its adaptation and survival. These groups are distinguished by a set of unspoken rules that shape values, beliefs, habits, patterns of thinking, behaviors and styles of communication. (Institute for Democratic Renewal and Project Change)

Demiromantic - adj.: little or no capacity to experience romantic attraction until a strong sexual connection is formed with someone, often within a sexual relationship. (Suny Cortland)

Demisexual - adj.: little or no capacity to experience sexual attraction until a strong romantic connection is formed with someone, often within a romantic relationship. (Suny Cortland)

Denial - the refusal to acknowledge the societal privileges that are granted or denied based on an individual’s identity components. Those who are in a stage of denial tend to believe, “People are people. We are all a-like regardless of the color of our skin.” In this way, the existence of a hierarchical system of privileges based on ethnicity or race are ignored. (Institute for Democratic Renewal and Project Change)

Disability - physical or mental impairment, the perception of a physical or mental impairment, or a history of having had a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. (The Department of Justice) Replaces the term Handicap or The Handicapped, which do not reflect the individuality, equality or dignity of people with disabilities. (Seramount)

Discrimination - unfavorable or unfair treatment towards an individual or group based on their race, ethnicity, color, national origin or ancestry, religion, socioeconomic status, education, sex, marital status, parental status, veteran’s status, political affiliation, language, age, gender, physical or mental abilities, sexual orientation or gender identity. (Sierra Club Employment Policy, Employee Handbook)

Disengagement - An individual’s sense of apathy for and detachment from the work; it’s characterized by being withdrawn, burned out, showing no effort, or going through the motions of work without giving of oneself.

Disruptor - The forces that change or shake up our old ways of behaving, acting, and doing business; they interrupt the status quo; they force us into new ways of behaving.

Diversity - The characteristics that describe differences among people; they include demographic characteristics, such as gender and race, ethnicity, age, national origin, religion, disability status, sexual orientation, personalities, values and interests.

Diversity - psychological, physical, and social differences that occur among all individuals; including but not limited to race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, age, gender, sexual orientation, mental or physical ability, and learning styles. A diverse group, community, or organization is one in which a variety of social and cultural characteristics exist. (The National Multicultural Institute)

Diversity value proposition - The idea that when you've got diverse members in a group, that diversity brings with it a collective of perspectives, experiences, beliefs and values.

Downlow - adj.: typically referring to men who identify as straight but who secretly have sex with men. Down low (or DL) originated in, and is commonly used by, communities of color. (The Safe Zone Project)

Drag king - noun: someone who performs (hyper-) masculinity theatrically. (The Safe Zone Project)

Drag queen - noun: someone who performs (hyper-) femininity theatrically. (The Safe Zone Project)

Dyke - noun: referring to a masculine presenting lesbian. While often used derogatorily, it is also reclaimed affirmatively by some lesbians and gay women as a positive self-identity term. (The Safe Zone Project)

Egalitarian - Relating to or believing in the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities. (Lexico.com)

Emotional attraction - noun: a capacity that evokes the want to engage in emotionally intimate behavior (e.g., sharing, confiding, trusting, inter- depending), experienced in varying degrees (from little-to-none to intense). Often conflated with sexual attraction, romantic attraction, and/or spiritual attraction. (Glacier Queer Alliance)

Emotional Tax - the combination of being on guard to protect against bias and feeling different from peers at work because of gender, race, and/or ethnicity and the associated effects on health, well-being, and ability to thrive at work. It particularly affects BIPOC employees. (Catalyst)

Empowerment - when target group members refuse to accept the dominant ideology and take actions to redistribute social power more equitably. (The Christ College of Nursing Health Sciences)

Engagement - An individual’s sense of purpose and focused energy, evident to others in the display of personal initiative, adaptability, effort, and persistence directed toward organizational goals.

Environmental Conditions - An important source of influence on inclusiveness of the climate; they may include institutional policies, rules, and regulations, the economic conditions or industry within which you're embedded that might be relevant, and even interpersonal dynamics that you inherited when you took on your role.

Equality - evenly distributed access to resources and opportunity necessary for a safe and healthy life; uniform distribution of access to ensure fairness. (University of Houston)

Equity - the guarantee of fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups. The principle of equity acknowledges that there are historically underserved and underrepresented populations and that fairness regarding these unbalanced conditions is needed to assist equality in the provision of effective opportunities to all groups. (Step Up Equity Matters)

Ethnicity - a social construct which divides people into smaller social groups based on characteristics such as values, behavioral patterns, language, political and economic interests, history, and ancestral geographical base

Eurocentrism - the practice of using Europe and European culture as a frame of reference or standard criteria from which to view the world.

Eurocentrism - favors European cultural norms and excludes the realities and experiences of other cultural groups (Quinsigamond Community College)

External motivator - Factors that influence behavior; people are influenced to behave a certain way not because of their own belief systems, but because they feel obligated to do so or they want to avoid embarrassment, punishment, or other negative consequences.

Fag(got) - noun: derogatory term referring to a gay person, or someone perceived as queer. While often used derogatorily, it is also used reclaimed by some gay people (often gay men) as a positive in- group term. (Safe Zone Project)

Feminine Presenting Masculine Presenting - adj. - a way to describe someone who expresses gender in a more feminine/masculine way. Often confused with feminine-of- center/masculine-of-center, which generally include a focus on identity as well as expression. (Swarthmore University)

Feminine-of - center/Masculine-of center - adj.: a phrase that indicates a range in terms of gender identity and expression for people who present, understand themselves, and/or relate to others in a generally more feminine/masculine way, but don’t necessarily identify as women or men. Feminine-of-center individuals may also identify as “femme,” “submissive,” “transfeminine,” etc.; masculine-of-center individuals may also often identify as “butch,” “stud,” “aggressive,” “boi,” “transmasculine,” etc. (Swarthmore University)

Feminism - theory and practice that advocates for educational and occupational equity between men and women; undermines traditional cultural practices that support the subjugation of women by men and the devaluation of women’s contributions to society (College of DuPage)

Femme - noun & adj. someone who identifies themselves as feminine, whether it be physically, mentally or emotionally. Often used to refer to a feminine-presenting queer woman or people. (Swarthmore University)

Fluid(ity) - adj. generally with another term attached, like gender-fluid or fluid- sexuality, fluid(ity) describes an identity that may change or shift over time between or within the mix of the options available (e.g., man and woman, bi and straight). (Illinois Wesleyan University)

FtM/F2M/MtF/M2F - abbr. female-to-male transgender or transsexual person; male-to- female transgender or transsexual person. (The Safe Zone Project)

Gay - adj. experiencing attraction solely (or primarily) to some members of the same gender. Can be used to refer to men who are attracted to other men and women who are attracted to women. 2 adj. an umbrella term used to refer to the queer community, or as an individual identity label for anyone who is not straight. (The Safe Zone Project)

Gender - The socially constructed ideas about behavior, actions, and roles a particular sex performs

Gender Binary - noun: the idea that there are only two genders and that every person is one of those two. (National Athletic Trainers Association)

Gender Expression - noun: the external display of one’s gender, through a combination of clothing, grooming, demeanor, social behavior, and other factors, generally made sense of on scales of masculinity andfemininity. Also referred to as “gender presentation.” (National Athletic Trainers Association)

Gender Fluid - adj. a gender identity best described as a dynamic mix of boy and girl. A person who is gender fluid may always feel like a mix of the two traditional genders, but may feel more man some days, and more woman other days. (The Safe Zone Project)

Gender Identity - a personal conception of one’s own gender; often in relation to a gender opposition between masculinity and femininity. Gender expression is how people externally communicate or perform their gender identity to others.

Gender Neutral - used to denote a unisex or all-gender inclusive space, language, etc. Examples: a gender-neutral bathroom is a bathroom open to people of any gender identity and expression; gender-neutral job descriptions are used to attract qualified, diverse candidates. (Seramount)

Gender non-conforming - 1 adj. a gender expression descriptor that indicates a non- traditional gender presentation (masculine woman or feminine man). 2 adj.: a gender identity label that indicates a person who identifies outside of the gender binary. Often abbreviated as “GNC.” (Swarthmore University)

Gender normative/Gender Straight - adj. someone whose gender presentation, whether by nature or by choice, aligns with society’s gender-based expectations. (National Athletic Trainer Association)

Gender Queer - 1 adj. a gender identity label often used by people who do not identify with the binary of man/woman. 2 adj. an umbrella term for many genders non-conforming or non-binary identities (e.g., agender, bigender, genderfluid). (Illinois Wesleyan University)

Gender Variant - adj. someone who either by nature or by choice does not conform to gender-based expectations of society (e.g., transgender, transsexual, intersex, genderqueer, cross-dresser, etc.). (Swarthmore University)

Gynesexual/gynephilic - / “guy-nuh-seks- shu-uhl”/ adj. being primarily sexually, romantically and/or emotionally attracted to woman, females, and/or femininity. (Safe Zone Project)

Harassment - unwelcome, intimidating, exclusionary, threatening or hostile behavior against an individual that is based on a category protected by law. (Nicholas State University)

Hermaphrodite - noun: an outdated medical term previously used to refer to someone who was born with some combination of typically male and typically female sex characteristics. It’s considered stigmatizing and inaccurate. See intersex. (Glacier Queer Alliance)

Heterosexism - social structures and practices which serve to elevate and enforce heterosexuality while subordinating or suppressing other forms of sexuality (Diversity Dictionary)

Heterosexual Straight - adj. experiencing attraction solely (or primarily) to some members of a different gender. (Illinois Wesleyan University)

High potentials -These are the employees who are considered “rising stars” within the display of personal initiative, adaptability, effort, and are considered among the most valuable employees. (Marian University)

Hispanic - the U.S. Census Bureau defines Hispanic as people who classified themselves as Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino categories, which also included the subgroups Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano, Puerto Rican or Cuban. (The National Multicultural Institute)

Homophobia - A fear of individuals who are not heterosexual. Often results in hostile, offensive, or discriminatory action against a person because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, queer identified, or because they are perceived to be. These actions may be verbal or physical and can include insulting or degrading comments; taunts or ‘jokes’; and excluding or refusing to cooperate with others because of their sexuality. (The National Multicultural Institute)

Homosexual - adj. & noun: a person primarily emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to members of the same sex/gender. This [medical] term is considered stigmatizing (particularly as a noun) due to its history as a category of mental illness and is discouraged for common use (use gay or lesbian instead). (The Safe Zone Project)

Human Rights - the basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled, often held to include the right to life and liberty, freedom of though and expression, and equality before the law. (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language)

Identity Group - a particular group, culture, or community with which an individual identifies or shares a sense of belonging. Individual agency is crucial for identity development; no person should be pressured to identify with any existing group, but instead the freedom to self- identify on their own terms. (The National Multicultural Institute)

Implicit Bias - Implicit biases are negative associations that people unknowingly hold. They are expressed automatically and without conscious awareness. Many studies have indicated that implicit biases affect individuals’ attitudes and actions, thus creating real-world implications, even though individuals may not even be aware that those biases exist within themselves. (Maine Association of Nonprofits)

Incivility - Rude or unsociable speech or behavior.

Inclusion - the act of creating environments in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate. An inclusive and welcoming climate embraces differences and offers respect in words and actions for all people. (UC Berkeley Initiative for Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity) (Independent Spector)

Inclusive Climate - A climate is inclusive when its norms are carefully constructed to promote experiences of both belonging and uniqueness for its members. Inclusive climates enable learning and performance.

Inclusive Language - words of phrases that include all potential audiences from any identity group. Inclusive language does not assume or connote the absence of any group. An example of gender inclusive language is using “police officers” instead of “policemen”. (The National Multicultural Institute)

Inclusive rules of engagement - Team rules and norms that are explicitly designed to facilitate the participation of all team members, and to promote the collaborative exchange of ideas among them. In the absence of these rules, team discussion and decision and decision making are often dominated by a subset of team members. This could be a function of status differences and/or can easily dominate the discussion.

Indigenous - originating from a culture with ancient ties to the land in which a group resides.

Individual Racism - the beliefs, attitudes, and actions of individuals that support or perpetuate racism; can occur at both a conscious and unconscious level and can be active or passive. Examples include telling a racist joke, using a racial epithet, or believing in the inherent superiority of Whites.

Institutional Racism - refers specifically to the ways in which institutional policies and practices create different outcomes for different racial groups. The institutional policies may never mention any racial group, but their effect is to create advantages for Whites and oppression and disadvantage for people from groups classified as People of Color. An example includes City sanitation department policies that concentrate trash transfer stations and other environmental hazards disproportionately in communities of color (Nicholls State University)

Internalized Racism - occurs in a racist system when a racial group oppressed by racism supports the supremacy and dominance of the dominating group by maintaining or participating in the set of attitudes, behaviors, social structures and ideologies that undergird the dominating group’s power. (College of DuPage)

Intersectionality - the ways in which oppressive institutions (racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, xenophobia, classism, etc.) are interconnected and cannot be examined separately from one another. (African American Policy Forum) (College of DuPage)

Intersex - adj. term for a combination of chromosomes, gonads, hormones, internal sex organs, and genitals that differs from the two expected patterns of male or female. Formerly known as hermaphrodite (or hermaphroditic), but these terms are now outdated and derogatory. (National Athletic Trainer Association)

Invisible Disability (Hidden Disability) - an umbrella term that captures a whole spectrum of hidden disabilities or challenges that are primarily neurological in nature. Invisible disability, or hidden disability, are defined as disabilities that are not immediately apparent. (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

Latino/a - individual living in the United States originating form, or having a heritage relating to Latin America

Latinx - a gender-neutral or nonbinary alternative to Latino or Latina

Lesbian - a woman whose primary sexual attraction is to other women. (UC Berkeley Gender Equity Resource Center) (Seramount)

LGBTQ (QIA) - acronym for “Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer (Questioning Intersex Allies).” The description of the movement expanded from gay and lesbian to LGBTQ and some include questioning, intersex, allies, same-gender-loving, asexual, pansexual, and polyamorous. (College of DuPage)

LGBTQ GSM DSG - abbr. shorthand or umbrella terms for all folks who have a non- normative (or queer) gender or sexuality, there are many different initialisms people prefer. LGBTQ is Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Queer and/or Questioning (sometimes people at a + at the end to be more inclusive); GSM is Gender and Sexual Minorities; DSG is Diverse Sexualities and Genders. Other options include the initialism GLBT or LGBT and the acronym QUILTBAG (Queer [or Questioning] Undecided Intersex Lesbian Trans* Bisexual Asexual [or Allied] and Gay [or Genderqueer]). (Safe Zone Project)

Lipstick Lesbian - noun; Usually refers to a lesbian with a feminine gender expression. Can be used in a positive or a derogatory way. Is sometimes also used to refer to a lesbian who is assumed to be (or passes for) straight. (Safe Zone Project)

Marginalization - the placement of minority groups and cultures outside mainstream society. All that varies from the norm of the dominant culture is devalued and at times perceived as deviant and regressive. (American Library Association)

Metrosexual -adj. a man with a strong aesthetic sense who spends more time, energy, or money on his appearance and grooming than is considered gender normative. (Safe Zone Project)

Micro-affirmations - Small, brief acts that affirm other people’s competence and value; in the workplace, they serve to acknowledge those who don’t enjoy the same privilege as all their counterparts, examples include nodding your head in response to what someone is saying, backing someone up publicly when they offer an opinion or suggestion, or giving someone your complete attention while they are speaking. (Marian University)

Micro-aggressions - Small, subtle acts that show dominance; specifically, when members of a higher status group behave in small ways, perhaps obliviously, such that they effectively have negative consequences in the workplace.

Micro-Inequity - subtle, often unconscious, messages and behavior that devalue, discourage and impair workplace performance. It can appear as individuals who are overlooked, singled out or ignored and is based on characteristics such as race, gender, ability, etc. Micro- inequities can be conveyed through facial expressions, gestures, tone of voice/choice of words.

MSM / WSW - abbr. men who have sex with men or women who have sex with women, to distinguish sexual behaviors from sexual identities: because a man is straight, it doesn’t mean he’s not having sex with men. Often used in the field of HIV/Aids education, (prevention, and treatment. (Illinois Wesleyan University)

Multiculturism - the practice of acknowledging and respecting the various cultures, religions, races, ethnicities, attitudes, and opinions within an environment. The theory and practice promote peaceful coexistence of all identities and people. (University of Houston)

MX. /“Mix” or “Schwa” - noun: an honorific (e.g., Mr., Ms., Mrs., etc.) that is gender neutral. It is often the option of choice for folks who do not identify within the gender binary: Mx. Smith is a great teacher. (Glacier Queer Alliance)

Non-Binary- an adjective describing a person who does not identify exclusively as a man or a woman. Non-binary people may identify as being both a man and a woman, somewhere in between, or as falling completely outside these categories. (Portland.gov)

Norm - an ideal standard binding upon the members of a group and serving to guide, control, or regulate power and acceptable behavior (Nicholls State University)

Organizational climate - Refers to the shared meaning that employees attach to the events, policies, practice, and procedures that they experience and what that communicates to them about the behaviors that they see as being rewarded, valued, supported and expected within their organization. (SHRM)

Organizational inclusion - Inclusion is a call to action within the workforce that means actively involving every employee’s idea, knowledge, perspectives, approaches, and styles to maximize organization success.

Outing - Involuntary or unwanted disclosure of another person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or intersex status. (Safe Zone Project)

Pansexual - adj. a person who experiences sexual, romantic, physical, and/or spiritual attraction for members of all gender identities/expressions. Often shortened to “pan.” (Safe Zone Project)

Pansexuality - a term reflective of those who feel they are sexually, emotionally, and spiritually capable of falling in love with all genders.

Passing - 1 adj. & verb: trans* people being accepted as, or able to “pass for,” a member of their self-identified gender identity (regardless of sex assigned at birth) without being identified as trans*. 2 adj. an LGB/queer individual who is believed to be or perceived as straight.

Peer influence - An important source of influence on inclusiveness of the climate; employees tend to see themselves as passive recipients of a climate that is handed down from management, but they are co- creators of the climate.

People Person of Color - is not a term that refers to real biological or scientific distinction between people, but the common experience of being targeted and oppressed by racism? While each oppressed group is affected by racism differently and each group maintains its own unique identity and culture, there is also the recognition that racism has the potential to unite oppressed people in a collective of resistance. For this reason, many individuals who identify as members of racially oppressed groups also claim the political identity of being People of Color. This in no way diminishes their specific cultural or racial identity; rather it is an affirmation of the multiple layers of identity of every individual. This term also refrains from the subordinate connotation of triggering labels like “non-White” and “minority.” (Office of Racial and Ethnic Concerns of Unitarian Universalist Association) (College to DuPage)

People Person with Disability - refers to individuals with a disability. This term utilizes Person-First Language, which posits that a person isn’t a disability, condition or diagnosis but rather, a person has a disability, condition or diagnosis. (ADA) Replaces the terms, Handicap, The Handicapped, The Disabled, Wheelchair-bound, Cripple, which do not reflect the individuality, equality or dignity of people with disabilities. (NDA Ireland)

Perpetuate - Make (something, typically an undesirable situation or an unfounded belief) continue indefinitely. (Lexico.com)

Personal Gender Pronoun - the pronoun or set of pronouns that an individual personally uses and would like others to use when referring to them. Replaces the term Preferred Gender Pronoun, which incorrectly implies that their use is optional. (PFLAG)

PGPs - abbr. preferred gender pronouns. Often used during introductions, becoming more common as a standard practice. Many suggest removing the “preferred,” because it indicates flexibility and/or the power for the speaker to decide which pronouns to use for someone else. (Safe Zone Project)

Polyamory (polyamorous) - noun refers to the practice of, desire for, or orientation toward having ethical, honest, and consensual non-monogamous relationships (i.e., relationships that may include multiple partners). Often shortened to “poly.” (Illinois Wesleyan University)

Prejudice - Preconceived opinion: bias, either unconscious or conscious, allowed to influence decision making.

Privilege - power and advantages benefiting a group derived from the historical oppression and exploitation of other groups. (University of Maryland) (College of DuPage)

Psychological Availability - A dimension which involves having the capacity to engage; it relates to an employee’s individual circumstances. It involves not just protecting employees’ efforts to renew personal energy through work-life balance, but also providing

Psychological meaningfulness - This dimension is described as "having a reason to engage." It relates to work elements: it means that employees believe their work is meaningful. It involves jobs with high “motivating potential” –challenging, meaningful, and provide opportunities for autonomy and involve specific and difficult goals. Employees’ natural tendency to reciprocate (i.e., principles of social exchange) is reinforced. (SHRM)

Psychological safety - A shared belief that teams members are safe for interpersonal risk taking and personal expression. Individuals within an organization should be able to show themselves and share their opinions without fear of negative consequences of status within the organization.

QPOC/QTPOC - abbr.: initialisms that stand for queer people of color and queer and/or trans people of color. (Illinois Wesleyan University)

Queer - 1 adj. an umbrella term to describe individuals who don’t identify as straight and/or cisgender. 2 nouns: a slur used to refer to someone who isn’t straight and/or cisgender. Due to its historical use as a derogatory term, and how it is still used as a slur many communities, it is not embraced or used by all LGBTQ people. The term “queer” can often be used interchangeably with LGBTQ (e.g., “queer people” instead of “LGBTQ people”). (Safe Zone Project)

Questioning - verb, adj.: an individual who or time when someone is unsure about or exploring their own sexual orientation or gender identity. (Illinois Wesleyan University)

Race - a social construct that artificially divides people into distinct groups based on characteristics such as physical appearance, ancestral heritage, cultural affiliation, cultural history, ethnic classification, and the political needs of a society at a given period. (Adams, Bell and Griffin)

Racial and Ethnic Identity - an individual’s awareness and experience of being a member of a racial and ethnic group; the racial and the ethnic categories that an individual chooses to describe him or herself based on such factors as biological heritage, physical appearance, cultural affiliation, early socialization, and personal experience. (Adams, Bell and Griffin) (Florida Tech University)

Racial Equity - the condition that would be achieved if one’s racial identity no longer influenced how one fares. Racial equity is one part of racial justice and must be addressed at the root causes and not just the manifestations. This includes the elimination of policies, practices, attitudes, and cultural messages that reinforce differential outcomes by race or fail to eliminate them. (Center for Assessment and Policy Development)

Racism - individual and institutional practices and policies based on the belief that a particular race is superior to others. This often results in depriving certain individuals and groups of civil liberties, rights, and other resources, hindering opportunities for social, educational, and political advancement. (The National Multicultural Institute)

Religionism - The individual, cultural and institutional beliefs and discrimination that systematically oppress non-Christians, which includes Anti- Semitism and Islamophobia. (National Coalition of Christians and Jews) (Seramount)

Role congruence - The types of characteristics assumed to be necessary for a job overlap with the attributes often associated with a particular demographic group.

Role incongruence - The types of characteristics that are assumed to be necessary assumed to be necessary for a job are at odds with the attributes often associated with a demographic group: the attributes assumed to be necessary to be a leader don’t overlap with the attributes that are often associated with women and members of other minority groups. (Marian University)

Romantic Attraction - noun: a capacity that evokes the want to engage in romantic intimate behavior (e.g., dating, relationships, marriage), experienced in varying degrees (from little-to-none, to intense). Often conflated with sexual attraction, emotional attraction, and/or spiritual attraction. (Safe Zone Project)

Safe Space - a space in which an individual or group may remain free of blame, ridicule and persecution, and are in no danger of coming to mental or physical harm. (Nicholls State University)

Same Gender Loving (SGL) - adj.: sometimes used by some members of the African American or Black community to express a non-straight sexual orientation without relying on terms and symbols of European descent. (Safe Zone Project)

Schema - A representation of a plan or theory in the form of an outline or model.

Sex - system of classification based on biological and physical differences, such as primary and secondary sexual characteristics. Differentiated from gender, which is based on the social construction and expectations of the category’s “men” and “women.”

Sex Assigned at Birth (SAAB) - abbr.: a phrase used to intentionally recognize a person’s assigned sex (not gender identity). Sometimes called “designated sex at birth” (DSAB) or “sex coercively assigned at birth” (SCAB), or specifically used as “assigned male at birth” (AMAB) or “assigned female at birth” (AFAB): Jenny was assigned male at birth but identifies as a woman. (National Athletic Trainers Association)

Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) - noun: used by some medical professionals to refer to a group of surgical options that alter a person’s biological sex. “Gender confirmation surgery” is considered by many to be a more affirming term. In most cases, one or multiple surgeries are required to achieve legal recognition of gender variance. Some refer to different surgical procedures as “top” surgery and “bottom” surgery to discuss what type of surgery they are having without having to be more explicit. (Safe Zone Project)

Sexual Attraction - noun: a capacity that evokes the want to engage in physically intimate behavior (e.g., kissing, touching, intercourse), experienced in varying degrees (from little-to-none, to intense). Often conflated with romantic attraction, emotional attraction, and/or spiritual attraction. (National Athletic Trainers Association)

Sexual Orientation - noun: the type of sexual, romantic, emotional/spiritual attraction one has the capacity to feel for some others, generally labeled based on the gender relationship between the person and the people they are attracted to. Often confused with sexual preference. (National Athletic Trainers Association)

Sexual Preference - noun: the types of sexual intercourse, stimulation, and gratification one likes to receive and participate in. Generally, when this term is used, it is being mistakenly interchanged with “sexual orientation,” creating an illusion that one has a choice (or “preference”) in who they are attracted to. (Safe Zone Project)

Similarity attraction effect - When perceived similarity with another person increases, so does liking and respect for that person. Shared bonds facilitate a freer exchange of information and a greater openness to other people's perspectives.

Skoliosexual - adj.: being primarily sexually, romantically and/or emotionally attracted to some genderqueer, transgender, transsexual, and/or non-binary people. (Safe Zone Project)

Social Justice - a vision of society in which the distribution of resources is equitable, and all members are physically and psychologically safe and secure. Social justice involves social actors who have a sense of their own agency as well as a sense of social responsibility toward and with others and the society (International Student Services)

Spiritual attraction - noun: a capacity that evokes the want to engage in intimate behavior based on one’s experience with, interpretation of, or belief in the supernatural (e.g., religious teachings, messages from a deity), experienced in varying degrees (from little-to-none, to intense). Often conflated with sexual attraction, romantic attraction, and/or emotional attraction. (Safe Zone Project)

Stealth - adj.: a trans person who is not “out” as trans and is perceived/known by others as cisgender. (Illinois Wesleyan University)

Stereotype - a positive or negative set of beliefs held by an individual about the characteristics of a certain group. (Nicholls State University)

Straight - adj.: a person primarily emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to some people who are not their same sex/gender. A more colloquial term for the word heterosexual. (National Athletic Trainers Association)

Stretch assignments - Assigned tasks and duties within the workplace that are meant for an employee’s growth and development; they are beyond the employee’s current level of performance: they are considered critical for accelerating advancement within an organization.

Stud - most used to indicate a Black/African American and/or Latina masculine lesbian/queer woman. Also known as ‘butch’ or ‘aggressive’. (Safe Zone Project)

Targeted recruiting - Segmented and specific conditions expected of hiring applicants for work positions.

Task-related competencies - The ability of an individual to do a task or job properly and efficiently.

Third Gender - noun: for a person who does not identify with either man or woman but identifies with another gender. This gender category is used by societies that recognize three or more genders, both contemporary and historic, and is also a conceptual term meaning different things to different people who use it, to move beyond the gender binary. (Swarthmore University)

Tolerance - acceptance and open-mindedness to different practices, attitudes, and cultures; does not necessarily mean agreement with the differences (Seramount)

Top Surgery - noun: this term refers to surgery for the construction of a male-type chest or breast augmentation for a female-type chest. (Illinois Wesleyan University)

Trans* - adj.: an umbrella term covering a range of identities that transgress socially defined gender norms. Trans with an asterisk is often used in written forms (not spoken) to indicate that you are referring to the larger group nature of the term, and specifically including non- binary identities, as well as transgender men (transmen) and transgender women (transwomen). (Safe Zone Project)

Transgender - an individual whose gender identity differs from the societal expectations of their physical sex. Transgender or “trans” does not imply any form of sexual orientation. Cisgender is a gender identity where an individual’s self-perception of their gender matches their sex. For example, a cisgender female is a female with a female identity.

Transition/Transitioning - noun, verb: referring to the process of a transgender person changing aspects of themself (e.g., their appearance, name, pronouns, or making physical changes to their body) to be more congruent with the gender they know themself to be (as opposed to the gender they lived as pre-transitioning). (Safe Zone Project)

Transman; Transwoman - noun: An identity label sometimes adopted by female-to-male transgender people or transsexuals to signify that they are men while still affirming their history as assigned female sex at birth. (Sometimes referred to as trans guy) 2 Identity label sometimes adopted by male-to-female transsexuals or transgender people to signify that they are women while still affirming their history as assigned male sex at birth. (Swarthmore University)

Transphobia - noun: the fear of, discrimination against, or hatred of trans* people, the trans* community, or gender ambiguity. Transphobia can be seen within the queer community, as well as in general society. Transphobic – adj.: a word used to describe an individual who harbors some elements of this range of negative attitudes, thoughts, intents, towards trans* people. (Safe Zone Project)

Transsexual - noun and adj. a person who identifies psychologically as a gender/sex other than the one to which they were assigned at birth. Transsexuals often wish to transform their bodies hormonally and surgically to match their inner sense of gender/sex. (Safe Zone Project)

Transvestite - noun: a person who dresses as the binary opposite gender expression (“cross-dresses”) for any one of many reasons, including relaxation, fun, and sexual gratification (often called a “cross-dresser,” and should not be confused with transsexual).

Two–Spirit - noun: is an umbrella term traditionally within Native American communities to recognize individuals who possess qualities or fulfill roles of both genders. (Illinois Wesleyan University)

Unconscious bias - Social stereotypes about certain groups of people that individuals form outside their own conscious awareness. Everyone holds unconscious beliefs about various social and identity groups, and these biases stem from one’s tendency to organize social worlds by categorizing. An inhibitor of inclusion; this refers to quick mental shortcuts that our preconceived ideas are objective.

Underrepresented Groups (URG) - a group that is less represented in one subset (e.g., employees in a particular sector, such as IT) than in the general population. This can refer to gender, race/ethnicity, physical or mental ability, LGBTQ+ status, and many more. The term also refers to populations who are not represented in STEM professions in proportions equal to White STEM workers. (Seramount)

Upstander - a person who speaks or acts in support of an individual or cause, particularly someone who intervenes on behalf of a person being attacked or bullied. (Seramount)

Veteran - A person who served in the Armed Forces of the United States during a period specified and was honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances. Armed Forces is defined as the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard, including all components thereof, and the National Guard. (Seramount)

White Centering - putting your feelings as a White person above the Black and POC causes you’re supposed to be helping. Layla F. Saad explains in her book, Me and White Supremacy, “White centering is the centering of White people, white values, white norms and white feelings over everything and everyone else.” White centering can manifest as anything ranging from tone policing and white fragility to white exceptionalism and outright violence. (Seramount)

White Privilege - refers to the unquestioned and unearned set of advantages, entitlements, benefits and choices bestowed on people solely because they are White. White people who experience such privilege may or may not be conscious of it. (Seramount)

Ze/Zir/“Zee”,“Zerr” or “Zeer” - alternate pronouns that are gender neutral and preferred by some trans* people. They replace “he” and “she” and “his” and “hers” respectively. Alternatively, some people who are not comfortable/do not embrace he/she use the plural pronoun “they/their” as a gender-neutral singular pronoun. (Safe Zone Project)

Works Cited

Swarthmore University

Glacier Queer Alliance

The Safe Zone Project

The National Athletic Trainer Association


Marian Hill


Illinois Wesleyan University

The Diversity Style Guide

Gender Equality Law Center

University of Memphis

Virgina Wesleyan University


Cultural Sensitivity Workshop

Suny Cortland

The Christ College of Nursing and Health Sciences

University of Houston

Step Up Equity Matter

Quinsigamond Community College

College of DuPage

Nicholls State University

Diversity Dictionary

Maine Association of Nonprofits

Independent Spector

University of Massachusetts Amherst

American Library Association


Safe Zones

Florida Tech University

International Student Services