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In this Picture:
Willie Beasley
Hablando ¡ALTO! Ambassador

Developed by our Social Justice Institute is a glossary of justice and equity related terms.


A global phenomenon, because white supremacy is global. Through colonization, ideas about Black people have been exported to various parts of the world from Europe and the United States. Remember that the racial category of “Black” was created to support the logic of slavery, the idea that Black people were property, and that their bodies and labor were to be owned and used for profit. Black as a racial category created a color line between who deserved freedom and who didn’t.

Biological Essentialism

The belief that the traits we associate with men and women are undebatable facts and are unchanging. Biological essentialism invalidates the existence of trans and non-binary people. When we think of gender and sex we normally think of sex as purely biological and gender as something that’s social, but even when you look at biological sex it’s not necessarily something that’s natural or essentialist. Physical characteristics like genitalia and chromosomes exist, but sex as a category is a social construction.

Bodily Autonomy

The right of self governance and discretion over one’s own body without external influence.


State of mental and physical exhaustion caused by one’s professional life/job. Can also occur in activism when an individual feels social change is not occurring at the pace they would like.


An economic system characterized by private/corporate ownership of capital goods. Private property is the foundation of capitalism. Capitalists use private property for dominance and criminalize the common use of land to dispossess indigenous people. Capitalism cannot provide enough well-paying jobs for every worker without sacrificing profit. Capitalists must always make a choice between prioritizing paying workers or making more money.


Directly translates to “gossip” in Spanish. Can be a tool for communities to discuss issues ranging from sex to domestic violence to validate our experiences.


System of ordering society where people are divided based on their perceived social and economic status.


Control by one power over a dependent area or people. In practice, a country violently invades another, claiming it as their own. They also send their people, also known as “settlers” to now populate that land. 

Cultural Appropriation

Adopting aspects of a culture that is not of your own. Many times members of a dominant culture take elements from a culture of people who have been systematically oppressed.


The principle of fairness amongst all individuals.


In the early 20th century, white American intellectuals created eugenics as a fake science and believed that physical traits could show how moral someone was. Eugenics was largely a response against integration of Black people in America, and those who practiced it were interested in protecting and perfecting “the white race.” R.W. Shufeldt, a US Army doctor, used eugenics to study LGBTQ people and lie about them being “human failures.” Shufeldt and other eugenicists started medicalized homophobia and taught people that they should hate LGBTQ people.

Gender Expression

External appearances of one’s gender identity which may or may not conform to socially constructed standards and characteristics.

Gender Identity

An individual’s concept of self, how they perceive themselves, and what they refer to themselves as.

Healing Justice

“A framework that identifies how we can wholly respond to and intervene on generational trauma and violence and to bring collective practices that can impact and transform the consequences of oppression on our bodies, hearts and minds.” - Cara Page, a Black Feminist Queer cultural worker and co-founder of Kindred Southern Healing Justice Collective.


How those in power convince oppressed people to accept the systems that oppress them. Instead of overt force, like the military or police, elites in power use their control of religious, educational and media institutions to convince us that social and economic hierarchies are fixed, natural, and unchangeable. Hegemony creates accepted dominant thinking, or “common sense”. Because elites never have our total consent forever and ever, they have to constantly create new methods for preventing subversive (counterhegemonic) thought and action.


The assumption that everyone is straight (or should be) and that this is the only “normal” right and moral way to be. An ideology that stigmatizes and denies any non heterosexual form of behavior, identity, and relationships on the basis that heterosexuality is the normal orientation.


Imperialism involves political and economic control, but through the expansion of a nation’s power beyond its borders to control other peoples abroad. Imperialism can take the form of settlement, direct rule, or indirect systems of control.


To describe people as members of cultures, as members of a shared indigenous cultural background, or as members of historic political communities (known officially as “tribes” in New Zealand and the US, and “First Nations” in Canada)


The interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, gender, culture, language, and age as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.


A term referring to all Latinx people being connected through a shared identity despite encompassing different nationalities, racial and gender identities, generations, languages, immigrant status and mobility. However, Latinidad is a disputed term because of how it centers “whiteness.” If we use Latinidad to end anti-Blackness and protect Indigenous people, queer and trans people, and women then it “could really transform not only Latin American people but the world.” - Alan Pelaez Lopez, a Zapotecan activist


A gender-neutral term for individuals of Latin American descent and ethnic background. "While there have been different versions of Latino/a or Latin@, the 'x' is a helpful reminder that I live on the border, and I transgress the gender border at every turn. Latinx helps me remember my commitment to being disruptive in my gender expression.” - Dr. Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, non-binary Trans mixed-race Latinx activist- scholar of Theology and Latinx Studies


Acronym to represent the identities including, but not limited to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual. The Q can also mean Questioning.


Through a transformative justice lens, liberation is a world where relationship, communities, society are free from intergenerational legacies of violence and colonization. Individual justice and collective liberation are equally important where one cannot exist without the other.


Commonplace verbal, behavioral, and/or environmental actions that express hostile and derogatory prejudicial insults towards a group, mainly marginalized individuals.

Military-Industrial Complex

The nation’s military establishment and the industries involved in the production of arms and other military items.


Coined by Dr. Moya Bailey, a Black scholar-activist, to describe the unique anti-Black racist misogyny that Black women face. Moya mentioned that the term is “to describe the particular brand of hatred directed at Black women in American visual and popular culture." Thus, this anti-Black misogyny or misogynoir is something Black women experience intraracially and interracially.


A sociopolitical and cultural system which values and upholds traditional expectations of masculinity and male social power.


The appropriation of the LGBTQIA+ movement to promote a political and/or corporate agenda. 

Popular Education

A people-guided and people-oriented style of education that is focused on social justice for all individuals, regardless of class.

Prison-Industrial Complex

The interests of government and industry that use surveillance, policing, and incarceration as solutions to political, economic, and social issues.

Racial Justice

The systematic equality of people of all races, leading to equal access to opportunities and the elimination of systems of racial oppression.

Reproductive Justice

The human right of individuals to maintain bodily autonomy and make those decisions in safe and sustainable communities. 

Restorative Justice

A process that names and repairs the harm caused by someone while involving everyone impacted. The person doing harm must take responsibility in fulfilling the needs of the person who has been harmed. Whenever harm is done, needs must be met. Obligated needs must be met for everyone to heal and for there to be a just response. 

School-To-Prison Pipeline

A national trend where children are funneled out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice system. Instead of receiving needed benefits, children who may have histories of poverty, neglect, abuse, and other outstanding factors are isolated and pushed out.


The right for all peoples to determine their own economic, social, and cultural development.


Assigned sex is a label that you’re given at birth based on medical factors, including your hormones, chromosomes, and genitals. Most people are assigned male or female, and this is what’s put on their birth certificates.


The belief that women and aligned people are inferior to men and must compete with one another for patriarchal approval. Sexism leads to fear, jealousy, and self-hatred for women and aligned people.


The practice of making only a symbolic effort in action, especially when selecting a small group of individuals from underrepresented communities to appear diverse and inclusive.


Coined by Emi Koyama, a trans activist and intellectual. “Transfeminism is a movement by and for trans women who view their liberation tied to the liberation of all women and beyond. This movement includes LGBTQIA people, intersex people, trans men, trans women, non-trans men, non-trans women, and others who are sympathetic to the needs of trans women and consider their alliance with trans women to be essential for their own liberation.” - The Transfeminist Manifesto


“The marginalization of trans female/feminine spectrum people. Trans-misogyny is steeped in the assumption that femaleness and femininity are inferior to, and exist primarily for the benefit of, maleness and masculinity. The majority of violence committed against gender-variant individuals targets individuals on the trans female/feminine spectrum.”

This term was coined by Julia Serano, a writer, activist, performer, and biologist known for her work: Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and Scapegoating Femininity

Two Spirit

Refers to an individual who identifies with having both masculine and feminine spirits, used by some indigenous individuals to describe their sexual, gender, and/or spiritual identities. Traditionally, Native American Two Spirit people were not seen as men or women; they occupied a distinct, alternative gender status. They did combined activities of both men and women with traits unique to their status as Two Spirit people.

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