YUFE Diversity & Inclusivity Glossary

This glossary has been developed to facilitate a shared understanding of terms used in the YUFE Diversity and Inclusivity Strategy and in further documents related to diversity and inclusion. The definitions relating to each term are not legal definitions (either in European law or in the law of any individual country), they are simply YUFE’s interpretation of the term.

We recognise that not all the terms contained within this glossary are used at all YUFE institutions, and some institutions have taken conscious decisions not to use certain terms, to fit their own particular context and environment.

We also recognise that language evolves over time. Terms that were once widely used are considered inappropriate and unacceptable and others enter the vernacular. This glossary is therefore a snapshot in time and will inevitably change throughout the lifetime of the YUFE project.

Diversity & Inclusivity (General) Glossary of Terms

Active Bystander

A person who is aware of when someone’s behaviour is inappropriate or threatening and steps in or speaks up (at the time or later) to challenge it.

Anti-Discriminatory Practice

Actively opposing any form of discrimination and promoting equality.


Someone who actively advocates for the lives and rights of members of under-represented or marginalised groups.


The process in which people with privilege and power take steps to understand and develop trust and empathy with people from under-represented or marginalised groups.


Being true to yourself through your thoughts, words and actions.


Inclination for, or against, one person or group especially in a way considered unfair.


Unpaid role of care or support for a child, an elderly, sick, disabled, or addicted family member, for tasks such as hygiene, food, medication, mobility, household tasks, emotional support, personal administration. This is in a framework with a broad definition of family.


Someone who supports another person (the coachee) in achieving a specific personal or professional goal through helping them to set milestones and develop strategies for action.

Conscious Bias

Stereotypes and prejudices that we are aware of and act on intentionally.


The ideas, customs and social behaviour of a particular people or society.

Cultural Intelligence

The capability to relate and work effectively across cultures.


Sharing of personal information.


The unequal treatment of members of various groups based on race, gender, social class, sexual orientation, physical ability, religion and other categories.


A group made up of people or things that are very different from each other.


Embracing and taking into account the differences between individuals and groups of people.

Diversity-sensitive Coaching

A coaching service that focuses on supporting students and staff from under-represented groups to achieve their potential.


Being equal in status, rights or opportunities.


Adjusting for need in order to achieve equality.


The organisation has a culture of understanding and facilitating the combination of work or study with caring tasks.


Being willing and able to change to adapt to different circumstances.

Gender Mainstreaming

Integrating a gender equality perspective at all stages and levels of policies, programmes and projects.

Gender-sensitive Language

Avoids the use of language that refers explicitly or implicitly to only one gender and helps perpetuate stereotypes. Acknowledges that gender is not binary.


Something that does not leave any part, or group, out.

Inclusive Environment

One in which all members feel respected by, and connected to, one another. All members contribute to the formation of the group’s goals and to the realisation of those goals.

Inclusive Leaders

Leaders who are aware of their own biases and preferences, actively seek out and consider different views and perspectives to inform better decision-making.


The practice or policy of including people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalised.


A social group to which an individual identifies as being a member.


The combination of different identities such as cultural, sexual orientation, dis/ability that combine to define a person, and can help clarify the different ways one can simultaneously experience privilege and oppression.

Lived Experience

The personal accounts and impressions of living as a member of a minority or oppressed group.


Someone with experience in a particular role or on a particular topic who supports and advises someone with less experience to help them develop.


The everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalised group membership.


The ability to freely move or be moved.


Based on the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities.


Accessible to all. Free from limitations, boundaries or restrictions.


A situation in which people are governed in an unfair and cruel way and have limited or no opportunities or freedoms.


The process of thinking about, talking about and treating individuals and groups of people who are already marginalised or under-represented as inferior to the rest of society.


A social group with which an individual does not identify.


A primary caregiver for a child, regardless of gender, biological relationship, or other family definition. Parent encompasses anyone who has custody or guardianship of a child.


A preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.


A special right or advantage that is only available to a particular person or group.

Reverse Mentor

Someone with less privilege, status and power supports and advises someone with more privilege, status and power to help them see things from a different perspective.

Role Model

Someone whose behaviour, example or success is emulated by others.

Social Engagement

Refers to ones degree of participation in a community or society.


A widely held but fixed and over-simplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.


An approach that addresses the distinct learning needs, interests, aspirations or cultural backgrounds of individual students and groups of students.


The ability or willingness to tolerate the existence of opinions or behaviour that one dislikes or disagrees with.

Unconscious (or implicit) Bias

Learned stereotypes and prejudices that are automatic, unintentional, deeply ingrained, universal and able to influence behaviour.

Under-represented Group

A subset of a population that holds a smaller percentage within a significant subgroup than the subset holds in the general population.

Universal Design

An approach to the design and creation of a building, product, service or environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by everyone, regardless of age, disability or any other factors.

Zero Tolerance

Commitment to challenging and addressing all forms of discrimination.

LGBTQ Glossary of Terms


Those who identify as having no gender or being without a gender identity.


A person who does not experience sexual attraction.


Having two genders and exhibiting characteristics of both.


Discriminatory behaviour towards bi/bisexual people for their sexual orientation.


Sexual attraction to two or more genders.


Gender identity matches gender assigned at birth.

Coming Out

The process of voluntarily sharing one’s sexual orientation, or gender identity with others.


Abbreviations for female to male, and male to female, commonly used to describe a trans person’s identity or journey.


Sexual orientation toward people of the same gender.


A social construct to classify a person as a man, a woman, or another identity.

Gender Confirmation Surgery

GCS, surgeries trans* people might have to help their bodies match their gender identity.

Gender Expression

The outwardly, visible expression of one’s gender through appearance such as but not limited to hair and clothing.

Gender Fluid

Describes someone whose gender identity shifts.

Gender Identity

A sense of one’s self as woman, man, trans, or another identity regardless of whether this matches the sex and gender assigned at birth.

Gender Neutral

Relating to people, and not especially to women or men.

Gender Non-conforming

Adjective for people who do not subscribe to social expectations of gender roles and gender expressions.

Gender Star

Recognises that gender is not binary and acknowledges the existence of intersex people, for example.


The belief that heterosexuality, predicated on the gender binary, is the default, preferred, or normal mode of sexual orientation.


Sexual orientation to people of a gender other than one’s own.


Behaviour that discriminates against homosexual people for their sexual orientation.

Hormone Replacement Therapy

Hormone treatments used by trans people to assist in their physical transition.


Someone born with neither or both male and female biological characteristics.


Term for gay women.


A gender identity that goes beyond the male/female gender binary.


Exposing someone’s sexual or gender identity without their consent and permission.


Sexual orientation to all genders and sexes.


When a trans person does not “appear” trans, and passes for a cis person.


Linguistic tool to refer to someone in the third person, such as he/him, she/her, they/them.


Previously derogatory term that is being reclaimed by some members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Sex Assigned at Birth

The sex that is externally identified at birth.


Umbrella term for transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary people.


Someone whose gender identity does not match their assigned sex/gender at birth.


Behaviour that discriminates against trans people for their gender identity.

Race / Ethnicity Glossary of Terms

Anti Racism

The act of actively opposing racism by advocating for changes in political, social, and economic life.


Hostility to, prejudice, or discrimination against Jews.


Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic


Black, Indigenous, People of Colour


Black and Minority Ethnic


Settling on, and establishing dominance over land of Indigenous People.

Cultural Appropriation

Theft of cultural elements for one’s own use, commodification, or profit. This includes symbols, language, art, customs, and is done without respect or acknowledgement of the value it holds in the original culture.

Cultural Identity

The identity or feeling of belonging to a group, and is related to nationality, ethnicity, religion, social class, generation, locality or any kind of social group that has its own distinct culture.


Active resistance against colonial powers, and a shifting of power towards political, economic, educational, cultural, psychic independence and power that originate from a colonized nations’ own indigenous culture. This process occurs politically and also applies to personal and societal psychic, cultural, political, agricultural, and educational deconstruction of colonial oppression.


A social construct that divides people into smaller social groups based on characteristics such as a shared sense of group membership, values, behavioural patterns, language, political and economic interests, history and ancestral geographical base.

Institutional Racism

The ways in which institutional policies and practices create different outcomes for different racial groups. The institutional policies may never mention any racial group, but their effect is to create advantages for whites and oppression and disadvantage for people from groups classified as people of colour.

People of Colour

A preferred collective term for non-White racial groups.


A group of people who share the same characteristics, language, history etc.

Racial Inequality

When two or more racial groups are not standing on approximately equal footing e.g. the percentages of each ethnic group in terms of university or school dropout rates, single family home ownership, access to healthcare etc.


Prejudice and discrimination against a group of people or a person based on their belonging to a particular racial or ethnic group that is most typically marginalised or a minority. Racism also involves one group having the power to carry out systematic discrimination through shaping cultural beliefs and developing institutional policies and practices.

White Fragility

The discomfort and defensiveness on the part of a white person when confronted by information about racial inequality and injustice.

White Privilege

The discomfort and defensiveness on the part of a white person when confronted by information about racial inequality and injustice.

Disability / Accessibility Glossary of Terms


Excludes no-one.

Accessible Bathrooms

Bathrooms that have level access, sufficient space for wheelchair or other mobility aids, and adaptive features such as wall bars, floor level emergency bell and accessible sinks.


Loss of ability to see, either partially or fully.


Tactile alphabet made of a series of raised dots, use by blind or visually impaired people to read.

Captions / Closed Captions

Written text of spoken conversations and audio cues in a video. These appear at the bottom of a video.

Chronic Illness

A long-term condition or illness that might not have a cure.


Loss of ability to hear, either partially of fully.

Digital Accessibility

Features making a digital environment accessible to all, such as text to speech features, text size increase options, closed captions.


A restriction or lack of ability to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered “typical” for a human being given environments that are constructed for and by the dominant or “typical” person.

Hard of Hearing

Difficulty and limitation in hearing, or loss of hearing.


The natural and important variations in how human minds think. These differences can include autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyspraxia, dyslexia, dyscalculia, Tourette Syndrome, and others. Like other variable human traits like race, gender, sexuality, or culture, there is no right or wrong form of diversity.


Having a brain that functions in ways that diverge significantly from the dominant societal standards of “normal.” A person whose neurocognitive functioning diverges from dominant societal norms in multiple ways – for instance, a person who is Autistic, has dyslexia, and has epilepsy – can be described as multiply neurodivergent.


Having a style of neurocognitive functioning that falls within the dominant societal standards of ‘normal’.

Physical Accessibility

Features making an environment accessible such as elevators if the building has multiple stories, clear signage to accessible bathrooms, braille or other tactile signage for directions, wheelchair accessible parking if parking is provided.

Reasonable Adjustment

A change to remove or reduce the negative effect of an individual’s disability.

Sign Language

Non- verbal means of communication using gestures and facial expressions. Each country has its’ own sign language, or more than one.

Sign Language Interpreter

Someone who interprets for a deaf or hard of hearing person and a hearing person, allowing the two parties to communicate.

Text to Speech

Software that will vocalise digital text.

Visually Impaired

Encompasses, blind, partially sighted and people with other visual disabilities.