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Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) Resources

This guide is designed to support the study and practical application of resources related to DEI topics.

Key Terms

Asexual -  An identity where people do not feel sexual attraction, or feel very little sexual attraction (Grey-asexual). This does not determine romantic attraction or sexual desire.

Biphobia - Hatred and/or discrimination against bisexual people from both the straight and gay communities. Some members of the straight community often collapse bisexuality into homosexuality and refer to bi people as “gay.” Thus, bisexual people often face the same forms of discrimination, difficulty in adopting children, and emotional and physical violence as the lesbian/gay community. Some members of the lesbian/gay community, on the other hand, often feel hostility toward bisexual people for being able to “pass” as straight or for being “confused.”

Bisexual - A person who is emotionally, spiritually, physically and/or sexually attracted to those of any sex or gender.

Cisgender - A person whose gender identity is the same as the sex they were assigned at birth. (i.e. a person assigned female at birth identifies as female). 

Femininity - Describes the qualities, formed by cultural and historical changes, perceived as feminine ideals to which all women at a specific time and place should aspire.

Feminism - The belief in social, political and economic equality between the sexes. In practice and in history, feminist social movements and academic theories have defined the relationship between the sexes in general and the liberation of women in particular.

Gender Binary - The assumption that there are only two genders, male and female.

Gender Expression/Presentation - The way that someone outwardly displays their gender through clothing, style, demeanor, and behavior.

Gender Identity -  Refers how a person self identifies on the gender spectrum. There are countless ways in which people may identify themselves.

Genderqueer - A person whose gender identity or gender expression does not align with the gender binary.

Heterosexual - Sexually attracted to people of the “opposite” sex

Homophobia - Hatred and/or discrimination based on perceived or actual sexuality or gender identity. Homophobia manifests itself in a variety of ways, including verbal threats, jokes, physical/emotional violence, and discrimination in adoption, marriage, employment, et cetera.

Homosexual - Sexually attracted to people of one's own sex.

Masculinity - Refers to masculine traits or characteristics that are capable of being transformed in line with historical and cultural change.

Pansexual - Someone who identifies their personal and/or sexual attraction to the personality of the individual nondependent on sex, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Pansexual is often confused/closely related with Bisexual.

Romantic Orientation - An affinity for someone that evokes the desire to engage in an emotionally intimate relationship often described based on the gender relationship between the person and the people they are romantically attracted to.

Queer - Is sometimes used as an umbrella term for those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, inter-sex, or asexual. Historically, the term was used as an insult against those perceived to be LGBTQIA. For this reason, its use can be controversial. It has been reclaimed by some LGBTQ people, especially younger generations. It can be a political statement which advocates breaking binary thinking and seeing both sexual orientation and gender identity as potentially fluid.

Queer theory - An academic field of study that challenges cultural acceptance of heterosexuality as the only natural and normal sexual identity. It promotes the ideas that an individual's identity comprises numerous elements, most of which are not dependent on gender or sexual behavior, and that the range of sexual identities people experience is based on a variety of social, physical, and psychological influences.

Questioning - A term used to describe a person who is unsure about their sexual orientation and chooses to label themselves as “questioning.”

Sex or Biological/Natal Sex - A term used to classify individuals as male, female, or intersex (often at birth or based on an ultrasound) based on their chromosomal, hormonal, and anatomical characteristics.

Sexual Orientation - The type of attraction one feels for others, often described based on the gender relationship between the person and the people they are sexually attracted to. 

Sexism - Prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex.

Transgender - A person whose gender identity (and sometimes expression) is different from the sex they were assigned at birth. Trans* is an umbrella term that refers to various different ways that people identify differently than their biological sex.

Transphobia - Hatred and/or discrimination against people who break or blur gender roles and sex characteristics. Transphobia is mandated by a gender regime that says we are either man or woman, masculine or feminine. Like biphobia, it is prevalent in both straight and lesbian/gay communities.

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Comstock, Nancy W. “Queer Theory,” Salem Press Encyclopedia, 2020. EBSCOhost

"Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Vocabulary," The Avarna Group. https://theavarnagroup.com/resources/equity-inclusion-diversity-vocabulary/.

Hurd, Mary. “Femininity as a Cultural Construct.” Salem Press Encyclopedia of Health, 2019. EBSCOhost.

Hurd, Mary. “Masculinity as a Cultural Concept.” Salem Press Encyclopedia of Health, 2019. EBSCOhost.

Issitt, Micah L., and Simone Flynn. “Feminism Debate,” Salem Press Encyclopedia, 2018. EBSCOhost

"LGBTQ Terminology," LGBTQ+ Project, Louisiana State University. https://www.lsu.edu/lgbtqproject/resources/vocabulary.php

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