To facilitate discussion, we must define and agree on our terms. In an attempt to avoid confusion and offence, we offer our words in good faith.
Here is our glossary of terms:
“Male supremacy is fused into the language, so that every sentence both heralds and affirms it. Thought, experienced primarily as language, is permeated by the linguistic and perceptual values developed expressly to subordinate women. Men have defined the parameters of every subject. All feminist arguments, however radical in intent or consequence, are with or against assertions or premises implicit in the male system, which is made credible or authentic by the power of men to name. No transcendence of the male system is possible as long as men have the power of naming... As Prometheus stole fire from the gods, so feminists will have to steal the power of naming from men, hopefully to better effect.” - Andrea Dworkin
AFAB/AMAB = assigned female at birth/assigned male at birth. WE question this concept. Sex is decided in utero and observed via scan or at birth.
Cis or cisgender = someone whose personal “gender identity” matches their biological sex. There is often a push to validate this concept by referring to the word's latin etymology.
However, cis is rejected by feminists and frequently seen as offensive as it implies that the gender stereotypes assigned to being female are real and correct. To say you are ‘cis’ is to suggest a woman identifies with sexist stereotypes that society places on her. It also suggests that she recognises that gender is real and that everyone therefore has a gender identity. This may be contrary to her political beliefs and understanding of herself.
Gender criticism is fundamental to feminist thought. Gender is understood as a socially constructed concept that places rigid societal roles on both sexes, placing a hierarchical value on supposed male traits. Thus it is a tool of patriarchy as it structurally disadvantages women. Women have been talking and writing about this imposed relationship with gender for hundreds of years. For many women and feminists 'cis' feels like just another way of pushing gender and identity onto us.
“Cis is a way to normalise the oppressed nature of women masquerading as inclusive identity politics” -Gail Dines
Cissexism = manifestation of prejudice and discrimination against people who are not cisgender.
It is a linguistic sleight of hand as it effectively positions women as more powerful than, and therefore oppressors of men. This is often seen when trans lesbians (men who identify as lesbians) suggest that lesbian women have a power privilege.
Conversion therapy = Referring to the homophobic idea that homosexuality is deviant and can be corrected. That a homosexula person on can be converted to a heterosexual person.
This anti gay theory is often promoted by the religious right and christian fundamentalists such as the ADF.
Techniques used in conversion therapy in the United States and Western Europe have included ice-pick lobotomies, chemical castration with hormonal treatment and aversive treatments.
Despite conversion therapy being recognised as a form of torture by the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims, conversion therapy is is still openly practiced.
The concept of conversion 'therapy' that homosexuality can be corrected, or a person can be shamed into remaining closeted can also manifest in violence, beatings and corrective rape. This can occur within families.
Many gay rights activists are suggesting that the high referral rate of gay and pre gay children to gender clinics is evidence of a form of conversion therapy. This is practiced openly in countries such as Iran where homosexuality is punishable by death and gay men and lesbian women are encouraged to transition to become 'straight' members of'the opposite sex'.
Cotton ceiling = Term used by trans lesbians (trans-identifying heterosexual males) to refer to the refusal of lesbians to entertain them as sexual partners.
DFAB/DMAB = designated female at birth/designated male at birth. Less commonly used than AFAB/AMAB and apparently means exactly the same thing.
Dead name = The name a trans person was given at birth, which is no longer used. Also used as a verb as in ‘deadnaming someone’.
Desistance = The term commonly used when people commit to transitioning and try to present as the other sex but ultimately decide not to.
Equality Act 2010 = Legislation that legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society.
It replaced previous anti-discrimination laws with a single Act, making the law easier to understand and strengthening protection in some situations. It sets out the different ways in which it’s unlawful to treat someone.
It lists 9 protected characteristics. These refer to groups of people according to their material demographic (sex, age, sexual orientation etc). It also allows these groups exemptions from discrimination law, making it lawful for them to exclude people who don't share their characteristic, for example, single sex groups, LGBT groups.
It also provides mechanisms to allow an employer to recruit a person according to their protected characteristic eg a female worker for a rape crisis service, gay man for supporting gay men.
FtM/MtF = female to male/male to female
Gender = Feminists define and understand gender as a socially constructed concept that assigns different behaviours and personality types according to sex (i.e. broadly speaking sexism). Gender construct also places these assigned behaviours in a hierarchy with traditional male stereotypes having more value and status than female stereotypes.
As feminists we see gender as the societal tool for limiting and subjugating women on a structural level. Gender IS patriarchy.
GC = Gender critical. This is used to describe people who reject gender, and understand gender to be seperate fromsex, and a social construct that embeds sexism.
GC feminism is also frequently used. This term is problematic as feminism is inherently gender critical, so the prefix is not needed. Most feminists simply prefer 'feminist'.
GD = Gender Dysphoria (formerly GID Gender Identity Disorder), a condition where a person experiences discomfort or distress because there’s a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity. Not all trans people suffer from this condition.
Gender expression = How a person expresses the gender they feel themselves to be through behaviour, clothing, hobby, hairstyle, etc. This is based in sexist norms e.g. long hair is an expression of being female.
Gender fluid = Describes someone who doesn’t consistently identify with one gender but switches from one to another.
Gender identity = The gender an individual identifies as and feels themselves to be.
Genderqueer = a gender identity that supposedly doesn’t fit either male or female and can be genderfluid.
Gender Reassignment = This refers to one of the nine protected characteristics in Equality 2010
The definition of Gender Reassignment is extremely broad and covers someone as soon as they propose to undergo a process to change sex. This ‘process’ is a personal one and is not clearly defined but it may or may not include bodily changes. Gender reassignment surgery or a gender recognition certificate is not required for someone to be protected under Gender Reassignment or to be termed a transsexual. All people (including children) covered by gender reassignment are collectively described by the term ‘transsexual people’. This definition also covers young children who socially transition. In the context of the Act the term transsexual is used whereas most people would now use the word transgender. Even if a child is too young to know what reassigning gender means they will still be covered because they have started their ‘personal process’,
GIDS = Gender Identity Services. Refers to NHS funded Tier 4 clinics such as the Tavistock.
Girl = Human immature female
GNC = gender non-conforming.
GRA = Gender Reassignment. Used in scientific studies on intersex people to refer to patient-initiated gender reassignment and by trans people to refer to medical transition.
GRA = also refers to the Gender Recognition Act (2004) in England and Wales.
Intersectional Feminism = The phrase was coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw in her 1986 paper 'Demarginalizing the intersection of race and sex'. It refers to the dual structural oppression of sex and race informed by critical race theory and feminism.
The phrase is now used more widely to explore the intersection of multiple oppressions with sex. For example how poverty, class, religion, sexuality, health and disability intersect with womanhood.
Intersex also DSD (Difference in Sex Development) = Intersex is an outdated and misleading term. DSD is a term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male. Although the individual has a sex, they experience developmental issues with their primary and/ or secondary sex characteristics.
Intersex is a misleading word implying it is a person who exists ‘between sexes’, or it is evidence that sex is a spectrum. This is not true and betrays a lack of understanding as to the nature of DSD conditions.
Lesbian = Same-sex attracted woman.
Male Violence = Refers to 'male pattern violence'. This is the well documented phenomena whereby men (and boys) commit the majority of violent crime and sexual offences. This is observed in every society globally.
Men accounted for 80.4 percent of persons arrested for violent crime and 62.9 percent of those arrested for property crime. The vast majority of ONS respondents who had experienced rape or assault by penetration since they were 16 reported that the offender(s) were male (99%), with 65% of victims reporting that the offender was a male aged between 20 and 39 (Appendix Table 13).
The reasons for male violence are unknown, but it is widely acknowledged that it is is a mix of socialisation (that embeds masculinity and a patriarchal view of women combined, a poor criminal justice system combined with with testosterone). Women's services assert there is a link between rigid and sexist sex stereotypes, social/power inequality between the sexes and an increased level of violence generally and also VAWG specifically. Men who are convicted of rape, sexual assault, domestic violence often hold very rigid and sexist ideas about men and women.
This is why feminism has always had a focus on securing women only spaces. Because men pose a statistical threat to women and girls. This is what Dworkin meant when she said 'all men are rapists'. She was not suggesting that all men will attack women, but as women we have know way of knowing which men are a danger, so we have to behave as if every man is. This also leads to a general preference for single sex spaces as women look for places where they don't have to be vigilant.
This fear is rooted in reality, as unisex spaces are more dangerous for women. Read here.
MVAWG or MVAW = Male/Men's Violence Against Women and Girls. Used when talking specifically about man/boy on woman/girl violence. As a phrase it interconnects the many forms of men's violence against women and girls within patriarchy (including but not limited to; rape, FGM, femicide, prostitution, domestic violence, pornography).
These acronyms are often criticised for allowing an acronym to become a word. This erases the meaning of
Misgendering = calling someone by the pronoun of their biological sex rather than of the gender with which they identify. There is a push to have this considered to be a hate crime.
Mission Drift = An inadequate situation where an NGO/ not for profit, in which the trade off required by the need to generate its own revenue through social entrepreneurship, or to secure the funding from external sources, compromises the initial organizational objectives and mission. See also policy capture.
Non-binary = Like genderqueer, a gender identity that supposedly doesn’t fit either male or female.
Patriarchy = A structural societal system whereby men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it. A society that practices principles of patriarchy (male dominance, male lineage, exploitation of women). Perpetuates and maintains a system of sex-based hierarchy in society which assigns most power to men, and assigns higher value to men, maleness, and "masculine traits". It does this by constructing the idea of 'gender', which is the roles and behaviours socially ascribed to men and women in order to perpetuate patriarchy.
Policy Capture = Refers to how institutions and organisations adopt policy without due diligence, democratic oversight or scrutiny. This often occurs as a consequence of lobbying by single issue groups. Issues arise when their lack of due diligence fails to adequately risk assess a policy or measure its negative impacts on other groups (impact equality assessment). To read how policy capture affects women click here. See also mission drift.
Protected characteristics =
There are nine protected characteristics outlined in Equality 2010; Age, gender reassignment, being married or in a civil partnership,being pregnant or on maternity leave, disability, race (including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin), religion or belief and sex.
It is a legal obligation that these must be listed correctly in equality policy documents. Often we see sex omitted, or replaced with gender or gender identity. Check your workplace documents now!
Racism = A structural system of white supremacy. It manifests itself in a discriminatory economic and political system resulting in a structural racist bias that maintains white privilege at the expense of the equality, autonomy and dignity of Black people and people of colour.
It also refers to the interpersonal racism when this power dynamic is weaponised through perpetuating racial prejudice.
ROGD = Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria. A recent phenomenon where children at puberty suddenly adopt a trans identity. There are elements of social contagion where clusters of children and young people adopt a transgender identity. This is said to explain the 4000% increase of children and young people referred to Gender Identity Services in recent years.
SEX = denoting male or female. Humans are a sexually dimorphic species. Sex is defined by gametes (a mature haploid male or female germ cell which is able to unite with another of the opposite sex in sexual reproduction to form a zygote).
SEX EXEMPTIONS = Detailed in the equality Act 2010 this allows for single sex services, groups, sport and employment.
Single-sex services: Schedule 3 Part 7 Sections 26-28 applicable to
SERVICES & PUBLIC FUNCTIONS (Part 3 Section 29: Provision of services)
Communal accommodation: Schedule 23 Part 3 applicable to all parts of the act
Single-characteristic associations:Schedule 16 Part 1 applicable to ASSOCIATIONS (Part 7)
Occupational requirements: Schedule 9 Part 1 Section 1 (3) applicable to WORK (Part 5 Chapter 1: Employment)
Self ID = The ability for a person to be seen legally as a member of the opposite sex without medically transitioning or obtaining a GRC.
Spousal Veto = Granted in 2013 by the Coalition government (Same Sex Marriage Act- section 5), this gives a spouse legal grounds to annul their marriage if their partner transitions and they no longer wish to be married to them for this reason. It is often wrongly implied that the spousal veto means a spouse can stop their partner from transitioning, This is not the case.
WE prefer the phrase 'spousal consent' as it refers to consenting to the marriage as opposed to vetoing transition.
Surgery: ‘Bottom surgery‘ is often used for genital surgery and ‘top surgery‘ for mastectomies.
TERF = Is an offensive misogynistic slur. It stands for Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist. It is designed to misrepresent and discredit feminist concerns about gender ideology and the documented erosion of womens sex based rights. It is also used to dehumanise women and incite harassment and violence against women.
TERF has become a slogan used by extreme trans activists, see the ‘art installations’ by the Degenderettes here.
Joanna Cherry QC on the Human Rights Commission denounces TERF as a slur. View here.
WE will not tolerate the use of the term TERF.