This is a compilation of acronyms and definitions commonly used in feminist discourse. Progressive and inclusive language is ever-changing and it can be hard to keep up. With that in mind, this is not an exhaustive list, so check back often for updates!

AAVE: African American Vernacular English

ACAB: all cops are bastards 

AFAB: assigned female at birth

AMAB: assigned male at birth

BIPOC: Black, Indigenous and people of color

LGBTQ+: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer. This is interchangeable with the acronym LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex, asexual). However, the intersex community has been very vocal about wanting to form their own community, separate from LGBTQ+.

MOC: man of color

MRA: men’s rights activist 

POC: person of colour 

SWERF: sex worker exclusionary radical feminist 

TERF: trans exclusionary radical feminist 

WM: white man

WOC: woman of color 

WW: white woman 

Allyship: supportive association with another person or group.

Asexual: is the lack of sexual attraction to others, or low or absent interest in or desire for sexual activity.

Ability privilege: describes the advantages enjoyed by those who exhibit certain abilities and the unwillingness of these individuals to relinquish the advantage linked to the abilities especially with the reason that these are earned or birth given (natural) abilities.

Ableism: discrimination or prejudice against individuals with disabilities.

Aboriginal: of or relating to the people who have been in a region from the earliest time of or relating to aborigines.

Band: also referred to as an “Indian Band,” is a governing unit of Indigenous Peoples in Canada instituted by the Indian Act, 1876.

Bisexual: romantic attraction, sexual attraction, or sexual behavior toward both males and females, or to more than one sex or gender.

Bisexual erasure: is the tendency to ignore, remove, falsify, or reexplain evidence of bisexuality in history, academia, the news media, and other primary sources. In its most extreme form, bisexual erasure can include the belief that bisexuality itself does not exist.

Christian privilege: is any of advantages bestowed upon Christians in societies and it arises out of the presumption that Christian belief is a social norm, that leads to the marginalization of the nonreligious and members of other religions through institutional religious discrimination or religious persecution.

Cisgender (or cis): is a term for people whose gender identity matches their sex assigned at birth.

Cisgender privilege: the set of unearned advantages that individuals who identify as the gender they were assigned at birth accrue solely due to having a cisgender identity.

Cishet: used as both an adjective and a noun, describes a person who is both cisgender and heterosexual.

Code-switching: occurs when a speaker alternates between two or more languages, or language varieties, in the context of a single conversation.

Colorism: based on skin color, especially favoritism toward those with a lighter skin tone and mistreatment or exclusion of those with a darker skin tone, typically among those of the same racial group or ethnicity.

Cultural appreciation: when someone seeks to understand and learn about another culture in an effort to broaden their perspective and connect with others cross-culturally.

Cultural appropriation: involves taking one aspect of a culture that is not one’s own and using it for their own personal interest. 

Demisexual: a sexual orientation characterized by only experiencing sexual attraction after making a strong emotional connection with a specific person.

Discrimination: the act of making distinctions between human beings based on the groups, classes, or other categories to which they are perceived to belong.

Emotional labour: is the process of managing feelings and expressions to fulfill the emotional requirements of a job.

Feminism: is a range of social movements, political movements, and ideologies that aim to define, establish, and achieve the political, economic, personal, and social equality of the sexes.

First Nations: a term used to describe Indigenous peoples in Canada who are not Métis or  Inuit. First Nations people are original inhabitants of the land that is now Canada, and were the first to encounter sustained European contact, settlement and trade.

Gay: homosexual (used especially of a man).

Gender: is the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between, masculinity and femininity.

Gender binary: the classification of gender into two distinct, opposite forms of masculine and feminine, whether by social system or cultural belief.

Gender fluid: a nonbinary gender identity that’s not fixed and is capable of changing over time.

Gender non-binary: is a spectrum of gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine—‌identities that are outside the gender binary.

Gender roles: a social role encompassing a range of behaviors and attitudes that are generally considered acceptable, appropriate, or desirable for a person based on that person’s biological or perceived sex.

Heteronormative: the belief that heterosexuality, predicated on the gender binary, is the norm or default sexual orientation.

Heterosexual: sexually attracted to people of the opposite sex.

Heterosexual privilege: is the receiving of advantages that are favorably granted to individuals solely because of their heterosexual orientation, in preference over other sexual orientations.

Homophobia: irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals.

Homosexual: sexually attracted to people of the same sex.

Indigenous peoples: also known in some regions as First peoples, First Nations, Aboriginal peoples or Native peoples or autochthonous peoples, are ethnic groups who are the original or earliest known inhabitants of an area, in contrast to groups that have settled, occupied or colonized the area more recently.

Internalized misogyny: takes the form of sexist behaviors and attitudes enacted by women toward themselves or other women and girls.

Interracial adoption: the act of placing a child of one racial or ethnic group with adoptive parents of another racial or ethnic group.

Intersectional feminism: a movement recognizing that barriers to gender equality vary according to other aspects of a woman’s identity, including age, race, ethnicity, class, and religion, and striving to address a diverse spectrum of women’s issues.

Intersectionality: is a theoretical framework for understanding how aspects of a person’s social and political identities (e.g., gender, race, class, sexuality, ability, physical appearance, height, etc.) might combine to create unique modes of discrimination and privilege.

Intersex: a general term used for a variety of situations in which a person is born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit the boxes of “female” or “male.”

Kyriarchy: a social system or set of connecting social systems built around domination, oppression, and submission.

Lesbian: a homosexual woman.

Male privilege: is the system of advantages or rights that are available to men solely on the basis of their sex.

Matriarchy: a social system in which females (most notably in mammals) hold the primary power positions in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property.

Microaggression: is a term used for brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioural, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative prejudicial slights and insults toward any group, particularly culturally marginalized groups.

Misogynoir: is misogyny directed towards black women where race and gender both play roles in bias.

Misogyny: is the hatred of, contempt for, or prejudice against women or girls.

Native American: a member of any of the indigenous Peoples of the Western hemisphere.

Neurotypical:  an abbreviation of neurologically typical, is a neologism widely used in the autistic community as a label for people who are not on the autism spectrum.

Pansexual: is sexual, romantic or emotional attraction towards people regardless of their sex or gender identity.

Patriarchy: a social system in which men hold primary power and predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property.

Period poverty: a global issue affecting women and girls who don’t have access to safe, hygienic sanitary products, and/or who are unable to manage their periods with dignity, sometimes due to community stigma and sanction.

Polyamory: the practice of, or desire for, intimate relationships with more than one partner, with the informed consent of all partners involved.

Polysexual:  someone who is sexually and/or romantically attracted to multiple genders.

Prejudice: an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.

Queer: an umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities who are not heterosexual or are not cisgender.

Racism: a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others.

Radical feminist: a perspective within feminism that calls for a radical reordering of society in which male supremacy is eliminated in all social and economic contexts. Radical feminists view society as fundamentally a patriarchy in which men dominate and oppress women.

Rape culture: a sociological concept for a setting in which rape is pervasive and normalized due to societal attitudes about gender and sexuality.

Revenge porn: is the distribution of sexually explicit images or video of individuals without their consent.

Sex: either of the two major forms of individuals that occur in many species and that are distinguished respectively as female or male especially on the basis of their reproductive organs and structures.

Sexuality: capacity for sexual feelings.

Sex worker: a person who is employed in the sex industry. The term is used in reference to all those in all areas of the sex industry, including those who provide direct sexual services as well as the staff and management of such industries.

Social dysphoria: the sense of dysphoria specifically linked to social situations.

Socio-economic (class) privilege: having advantages based on access to economic resources.

Tone policing: is an ad hominem (personal attack) and anti-debate tactic based on criticizing a person for expressing emotion.

Transfeminine: noting or relating to a person who was born male but whose gender identity is more female than male.

Transgender: a gender identity or gender expression that differs from someone’s sex assigned at birth.

Transmasculine: noting or relating to a person who was born female but whose gender identity is more male than female.

Transphobia: unreasoning hostility, aversion, etc., toward transgender people.

Transsexual: a person who experiences a gender identity that is inconsistent with their assigned sex and desire to permanently transition to the sex or gender with which they identify, usually seeking medical assistance (including sex reassignment therapies, such as hormone replacement therapy and sex reassignment surgery) to help them align their body with their identified sex or gender.

Trigger: something that sets off a memory or flashback transporting the person back to the event of her/his original trauma.

Trigger warning: a stated warning that the content of a text, video, etc., may upset or offend some people, especially those who have previously experienced a related trauma.

Two spirit: a modern, pan-Indian, umbrella term used by some Indigenous North Americans to describe Native people in their communities who fulfill a traditional third-gender ceremonial and social role in their cultures.

Victim blaming: occurs when the victim of a crime or any wrongful act is held entirely or partially at fault for the harm that befell them.

White fragility: the tendency among members of the dominant white cultural group to have a defensive, wounded, angry, or dismissive response to evidence of racism.

White guilt: the individual or collective guilt felt by some white people for harm resulting from racist treatment of ethnic minorities such as African Americans and indigenous peoples by other white people, most specifically in the context of the Atlantic slave trade, European colonialism and the legacy of these eras.

White privilege: is the societal privilege that benefits white people over non-white people in some societies, particularly if they are otherwise under the same social, political, or economic circumstances.

Did we miss any terms or acronyms? Add them in the comments below so we can update this post!