PopBoard Glossary

Our glossary is intended to help create more certainty and clarity when dealing with terms in the context of diversity, awareness and anti-discrimination discourse.



The term ableism is borrowed from the English word for “ability” and originates from the US disability movement. It refers to the assessment of people with disabilities based on their (ascribed) physical and mental abilities. This is associated with a reduction of people to their impairment alone. The evaluation can be negative through devaluation, or supposedly positive through appreciation. The assessment is based on the assumption that there is something like an idea of a physical and mental normal state, on the basis of which disability can be assessed as a deviation.

If people with disabilities are treated unequally or disadvantaged on the basis of this assessment, this is discrimination.

The underscore is also used in the language to make it clear that people are not disabled, but are made so by external circumstances, buildings and structures.


Read further:


Source: Awareness Academy, https://awareness-akademie.de/glossar/



Accessibility means that all areas of daily life are equally accessible to all people without assistance. This includes, for example, buildings, public spaces, homes, workplaces, transportation, services and access to information. In concrete terms, this means that ramps, elevators, interpreters for sign language or information in plain language are available. Absolute accessibility is hardly possible in all areas of life, which is why the term “low barrier” is often more appropriate.


Source: Awareness Academy, https://awareness-akademie.de/glossar/



Agender is a term that can literally be translated as “without gender”. People either do not feel they belong to any gender, cannot relate to the concept of gender, see themselves as gender-neutral or have an undefinable gender that cannot be assigned to binary or non-binary gender identities.


Source: Awareness Academy, https://awareness-akademie.de/glossar/

Age discrimination / ageism / adultism

Age discrimination refers to the discrimination of persons or groups on the basis of their age. Ageism and adultism are forms of age discrimination.

Ageism is a term used to describe the negative evaluation of people due to their advanced age. For older people in particular, social and economic disadvantage makes it more difficult to participate in work and social life.

Adultism describes discrimination against younger children or adolescents due to an existing power imbalance between children and adolescents and adults. Adultism focuses on a frequently socially accepted dominance over children, which is seen as a given and is rarely questioned.


Source: Awareness Academy, https://awareness-akademie.de/glossar/


Awareness refers to the awareness of and attention to situations in which the boundaries of others are or have been overstepped. All forms of discrimination and (sexualized) violence can play a role here, but it is also about sensitivity to a person’s well-being.

Awareness work aims to ensure that all people can feel as comfortable, free and safe as possible, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, skin color, origin, appearance and physical abilities. Cross-border situations and (sexualized) violence should be prevented in advance by raising awareness of structures and reflecting on them. If they do occur, there are trained staff available to whom those affected can turn for advice, support and, if necessary, help.


Source: Awareness Academy, https://awareness-akademie.de/glossar/


Code Of Conduct

A code of conduct is a collection of guidelines and regulations that a company imposes on itself and that apply to the company’s employees.

Cis / Cisgender

People who identify with their sex assigned at birth are considered cisgender. “Cis” and terms such as “cisgender” were introduced by the trans* movement in order not to always define trans* as deviating from the norm.


Source: Sauer, Arn (2018): LGBTIQ lexicon. Completely revised licensed edition of the glossary of the Trans*Inter*Sectionality Network. Federal Agency for Civic Education, Bonn.




Discrimination means that “people are systematically prevented from exercising their human rights on the basis of individual or group-specific characteristics [werden]. International law assigns three main characteristics to discrimination: adverse treatment based on an unlawful ground and lacking reasonable and objective justification.”

The concept of discrimination under the General Equal Treatment Act is based on the effect, not the motive. For the existence of discrimination, it does not matter whether the treatment is the result of a hostile or derogatory attitude or whether the disadvantage is simply the unintended consequence of a particular regulation. In practice, discrimination can take various forms.


Read further: https://awareness-akademie.de/glossar/

Source: Awareness Academy, https://awareness-akademie.de/glossar/




Empowerment comes from the English and means empowerment. This means that people or groups who are socially disadvantaged acquire the tools to shape their lives in a more self-determined way through targeted strategies and qualification programs.

Read further: https://diversity-arts-culture.berlin/woerterbuch/empowerment

Source: Diversity.Arts.Culture Berlin, https://diversity-arts-culture.berlin/woerterbuch/empowerment





The abbreviation stands for women, intersex, non-binary, trans and agender people. This refers to all people who live in patriarchy are discriminated against. The abbreviation FLINTA* also exists, but was decided against here, as the abbreviation is not about sexual orientation, but gender identity. In feminist circles, the spelling “Frauen*” (women with an asterisk) or “womxn” is often used. However, these spellings are subject to critical discussion. On the one hand, they can give the impression that trans women are not “normal” women and are therefore trans-hostile. On the other hand, non-binary, agender and inter people may also feel excluded and not addressed by this spelling. An inclusive way is to clearly name the identities that are at stake.


Source: Awareness Academy, https://awareness-akademie.de/glossar/



Gender refers to the “social gender” and stands in contrast to the biological gender (sex). Social gender describes the culturally constructed gender aspects of people, i.e. things that are usually considered typically female or typically male in a culture. This insight goes back to the feminist writer Simone de Beauvoir. In her book “The Other Sex” (1949), she put forward the thesis that one is not born a woman, but is made into a woman during life and that the supposed differences between women and men are not a product of nature, but a product of society.


Source: Awareness Academy: https://awareness-akademie.de/glossar/

Gender identities

Gender identity is the deeply felt inner and personal sense of belonging to a gender. This may or may not correspond to the sex assigned to a person at birth. It also does not have to be experienced stringently over time. Gender identity manifests itself, among other things, in the perception of one’s own body and its external representation.


Source: Sauer, Arn (2018): LGBTIQ lexicon. Completely revised licensed edition of the glossary of the Trans*Inter*Sectionality Network. Federal Agency for Civic Education, Bonn.



Heteronormativity describes a world view and a social value system that only recognizes two genders (male and female) and heterosexual relationships (one man and one woman) between these genders and considers them normal.


Read further: https://diversity-arts-culture.berlin/woerterbuch/heteronormativitaet

Source: Diversity.Arts.Culture Berlin, https://diversity-arts-culture.berlin/woerterbuch/heteronormativitaet



Inclusion means that everyone belongs in society as a matter of course, is accepted and can participate in a self-determined way – regardless of “skin color”, language, supposed ethnic origin, residence status, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age and social origin or social status. An inclusive society explicitly sees diversity as enrichment – it is normal to be different.


Source: Awareness Academy, : https://awareness-akademie.de/glossar/


Intersectionality refers to the interaction of discrimination categories such as gender, ethnic origin, class, sexual orientation, disability and many more. It is not just a matter of simply adding up the categories, but of understanding what concrete effects this multiple discrimination has on individuals and structures.

For example, a woman belonging to an ethnic group may be affected by discrimination in a different way than a man from the same marginalized group. In addition, other personal characteristics or circumstances, such as a disability or level of education, influence an individual’s risk of becoming a victim of discrimination. The combination of different grounds of discrimination is also referred to as intersectional discrimination.


Source: Awareness Academy: https://awareness-akademie.de/glossar/



Classism refers to discrimination on the basis of social origin and/or social and economic position. Classism is therefore not just about how much money someone has at their disposal, but also about their status and the financial and social circumstances in which they grew up. The majority of classism is directed against people of a “lower class”. In particular, homeless and unemployed people and people from the working and poverty classes are excluded.


Read further: https://diversity-arts-culture.berlin/woerterbuch/klassismus

Source: Diversiy.Arts.Culture Berlin, https://diversity-arts-culture.berlin/woerterbuch/klassismus



Lookism is discrimination based on appearance. It is the assumption that appearance is an indicator of a person’s value. It refers to the social construction of a beauty or body norm and the oppression through stereotypes and generalizations about people who conform to these norms and those who do not.


Source: Awareness Academy, https://awareness-akademie.de/glossar/


The abbreviation stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex and asexual. The plus stands for all other gender identities and sexual orientations and expresses their inclusion.


Source: Awareness Academy, https://awareness-akademie.de/glossar/



Marginalization refers to the displacement of individuals or population groups to the margins of society. Displacement can occur on different levels, for example geographically, economically, socially or culturally; it usually takes place on several levels simultaneously.


Read further:https://diversity-arts-culture.berlin/woerterbuch/marginalisierung

Source: Diversity.Arts.Culture Berlin, https://diversity-arts-culture.berlin/woerterbuch/marginalisierung



We speak of othering when a group or a person differentiates themselves from another group by describing the non-native group as different and alien. This usually happens within a power imbalance: those described as different are affected by discrimination and therefore have few opportunities to defend themselves against the attribution.


Read further: https://diversity-arts-culture.berlin/woerterbuch/othering

Source: Diversiy.Arts.Culture Berlin, https://diversity-arts-culture.berlin/woerterbuch/othering



PoC / BPoC / BIPoC

PoC stands for People of Colour and is a self-designation of people who experience racism. The term has been used in this sense since the US civil rights movement in the 1960s. As a reappropriation and positive reinterpretation of the pejorative attribution “colored”, People of Color describes a solidary alliance of different groups who experience structural exclusion due to racism.


In certain contexts, the term BPoC or BIPoC is also used. The B stands for “Black” and refers to the particular historical and structural discrimination that Black people have experienced and continue to experience. BIPoC is used particularly in the US context. The I stands for “Indigenous” and emphasizes the special discrimination that indigenous people and groups have experienced and continue to experience.


Read further: https://diversity-arts-culture.berlin/woerterbuch/poc-person-color

Source: Diversity.Arts.Culture Berlin, https://diversity-arts-culture.berlin/woerterbuch/poc-person-color


Privilege exists when people have structural privileges and advantages due to group affiliations or attributions (e.g. white, cis, male and/or heterosexual) that have not been acquired through their own performance or special qualifications. Conversely, these socially granted options for action are denied or made more difficult for others. Privilege therefore always creates disadvantage for others. Privileged people shape the norm and are often unaware of their privilege.


Source: Awareness Academy, at: https://awareness-akademie.de/glossar/




Queer is a collective term for people whose gender identity (who they are in terms of gender) and/or sexual orientation (who they desire or how they love) does not conform to the two-gender, cisgender and/or heterosexual norm.


Queer is also used to refer to movements and things associated with queer people, such as the queer scene, queer studies or queer film festivals.


Read further: https://diversity-arts-culture.berlin/woerterbuch/queer

Source: Diversity.Arts.Culture Berlin, https://diversity-arts-culture.berlin/woerterbuch/queer




Racism means the discrimination, devaluation and exclusion of structurally disadvantaged groups or individuals on the basis of actual or ascribed physical or cultural characteristics (e.g. skin color, origin, language, religion). Racism makes it impossible for those affected to participate in society on an equal footing. The racist degradation of PoC can lead to physical and psychological violence against them or even be used as an alleged justification for killings and genocides (“ethnic cleansing”).

In addition to these offensively brutal forms of racism, subtle everyday racism is the daily reproduction of a racist system. This consists of a constant reminder that the person concerned is different and does not “belong”. This does not have to be intentional on the part of the discriminating person, but it is nevertheless marginalizing, hurtful, frustrating and provides a breeding ground for more extreme forms of racism. There are many forms of racism. A distinction is made, for example, between anti-Black, anti-Muslim, anti-Asian racism, anti-Semitism and racist discrimination against Rom:nja and Sint:ezzi. Racism is a practice of social exclusion that manifests itself differently in different historical contexts. It hierarchizes, differentiates and devalues people by ascribing to them constructed, mostly negative group-specific characteristics and qualities. Specific forms of racism are “New Racism”, “Colorblind Racism”, “Cultural Racism” and “Aversive Racism”.


Source: Awareness Academy, at: https://awareness-akademie.de/glossar/


Safer space / Protected space

Safe spaces are spaces where people who are marginalized or discriminated against can come together without being subjected to harassment. People who have negative experiences in everyday life due to their identity should be able to move and exchange ideas here undisturbed. Nevertheless, it is almost impossible to achieve absolute certainty. This is why the term “safer space” or “intentional space” (i.e. by and for those affected) is usually used. Constant efforts and reflection on structures and processes are required in order to maintain protected spaces. Clubs have an important function as a protected space for their communities.


Source: Awareness Academy, https://awareness-akademie.de/glossar/


There are often several names for marginalized groups. A name (or several names) that the marginalized group chooses for itself: this is the self-designation. And a name (or several names) that the majority society uses to talk about the marginalized group: that is the attribution.

The self-designation is empowering. It conveys a positive sense of togetherness. Attribution, on the other hand, turns the marginalized group into others: In this context, one also speaks of othering. It often takes a long time for self-designations to become established. An example of a self-designation is Person of Color.


Source: Diversity.Arts.Culture Berlin, https://diversity-arts-culture.berlin/woerterbuch/selbstbezeichnung


Sexism refers to various forms of positive and negative discrimination of people on the basis of their ascribed gender. At the same time, the term stands for the ideology underlying this phenomenon, which defines and hierarchizes gender roles. Men are positively discriminated against by sexism, i.e. privileged, while women are negatively discriminated against by sexism, i.e. devalued. The manifestations of sexism are culturally and historically determined. Sexism is particularly evident in the marginalization of women, trans, non-binary and inter people.


Read more: https://diversity-arts-culture.berlin/woerterbuch/sexismus

Source: Awareness Academy: https://awareness-akademie.de/glossar/



Trans (lat. beyond, beyond) is an umbrella term for people who challenge the boundaries of sex and gender and do not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. The opposite is cis. Trans people can either identify as a binary trans man/trans woman or as non-binary, agender, genderqueer, queer, genderfluid, bigender, androgynous or others. Not all trans people choose to have surgery or take hormones, but some do.


Source: Awareness Academy, at: https://awareness-akademie.de/glossar/


Transphobia / trans hostility

Trans hostility refers to discrimination against trans people. It manifests itself, for example, through rejection, anger, intolerance, prejudice, discomfort or physical or psychological violence towards trans people. Trans hostility can also affect people who are not trans but are perceived as trans.

Internalized trans hostility describes the fact that trans hostility is directed against one’s own transness and thus against oneself. This often happens in a trans-hostile environment and/or before their own inner coming-out.


Source: Queer Lexicon, at: https://queer-lexikon.net/2017/06/08/transfeindlichkeit/