The working group Critical Diversity was founded in 2016 as a working group within the Commission for Equal Opportunities at the UdK Berlin to draft a diversity policy. All Berlin universities are called upon to submit such a policy by 2022. This is a position paper describing measures that can be taken to further develop the UdK Berlin into a non-discriminatory art university. In order to emphasize that this endeavour will only be sucessful when dealing with existing discrimination and exclusion, the working group understands diversity as critical diversity. The development of a policy requires a participatory process and discussions with many actors in the field of diversity within and outside the UdK Berlin. For this reason, the working group has initiated the Council for Diversity and Equal Rights and set up the Critical Diversity Blog.



The Standing Commission for Equal Opportunities (KfC) advises the Academic Senate (AS) and the university management on the development of internal university structures for the implementation of equal opportunities, thus complementing the function of the Women’s Representative. KfC’s specific tasks include strengthening gender/queer studies and intersectional perspectives in teaching and research and promoting equal opportunities for young artists and scientists. For example, the KfC makes an internal UdK selection of projects within the framework of the Berlin Programme for the Promotion of Equal Opportunities (BCP) and evaluates the mentoring programme for female artists and scientists. In addition, KfC proposes members for the Confidence Council (Vertrauensrat), which is convened in cases of (sexual) discrimination, harassment and violence. In order to develop structures and measures to implement diversity at the UdK Berlin, KfC has founded the working group Critical Diversity in 2016.

CHAIR: Prof. Mathilde ter Heijne
OFFICE: Valentin Mertes


The task of the Women’s Representative is to work towards equal opportunities for women in higher education and to campaign for the elimination of existing disadvantages for female university members. This is stipulated in the Berlin Higher Education Act. The full-time Women’s Representative, the employees in the Women’s Representative’s Office and the part-time Women’s Representative in the faculties and other university instances are thus primarily responsible for women. The basis of our work, however, is an intersectional understanding that understands gender-related discrimination as broad and intertwined with other forms of discrimination.

The core activities of the Women’s Representative include counselling, monitoring recruitment and appointment procedures, and participation in various committees focusing on equal opportunities policy in higher education. In addition, the full-time Women’s Representative continuously implements
gender equality measures, which are developed in cooperation with other actors. Highlights in the last two years include the inter-university action day on proximity and distance in artistic education and the interdisciplinary project DiVAversity of Arts.




We are here to advise and support you if you have any questions regarding

  • critical diversity, empowerment and intersectional anti-discrimination
  • racialized (but also other form of) discrimination and violence
  • racism- and discrimination-sensitive actions and speech

Alejandra Nieves Camacho (Pronoun: she/her)


Support Against Discrimination and Violence works on the basis of the directive on protection against (sexual) discrimination, harassment and violence, which came into effect in June 2019. The aim of this initiative is to provide information on the subject of sexual discrimination, harassment, and violence, to support those affected, and to recommend and initiate preventive measures and concepts. 

The initiative is open to all members of the UdK Berlin, including students, for whom the General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) has only limited validity; the council would like to close this gap. Those affected have the possibility to contact a specific member or several members of the initiative. All of its members are subject to the duty of confidentiality. Support Against Discrimination and Violence consists of one member of each status group within the university, one member of the Staff Council (Personalrat) and, if necessary, the representative for disabled persons (Vertrauensperson für Schwerbehinderte.) A deputy member is appointed for each member. The full-time Women’s Representative (Frauen- und Gleichstellungsbeauftragte) and the University Medical Doctor are permanent advisory members of the Support Against Discrimination and Violence. Members are elected for four years.



In January 2019, the working group Critical Diversity convened a networking meeting on the topic of diversity at the UdK Berlin. The aim was to bring together UdK actors who are already working on topics such as diversity in different areas of the university. At this meeting, the idea of establishing an independent council for critical diversity development at the UdK Berlin was born. In June 2019, the Council for Diversity and Equality was founded. It currently consists of over 50 persons from all status groups and faculties and is open to all.

The Council for Diversity and Equal Opportunities serves

  • the networking of different actors and groups on aspects of diversity and criticism of discrimination at the UdK Berlin
  • the exchange, communication and joint reflection on a critical furthering of diversity,
  • the feedback exchange during the development of a diversity policy for the UdK Berlin.

The Council for Diversity is self-organized and works independently. Its many voices allow it to speak decentrally.



The General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) stipulates that every institution has a comprehensive right to complain about discrimination and that the institution must set up a complaints instance. At the UdK Berlin this instance is the chancellor Dr. Prechtl-Fröhlich. The AGG protects in cases of discrimination. It applies in specific areas such as work and housing, as well as in so-called mass market business. At the UdK, the AGG applies to employees. Students are only indirectly covered by the AGG, so there is a “protection gap”. This gap has now been closed by the Anti-Discrimination Act (LADG), which explicitly includes the education system and thus also the universities and students.



The student parliament is the legislative body of the students, where contents are developed and decisions are made. The StuPa of the UdK Berlin consists of 30 members elected by students and appoints the AStA-representatives.
The StuPa Committee works closely together with the Commission for Equal Opportunities and all other support groups, individuals and initiatives at UdK Berlin committed to intersectionality, anti-discriminiation, intercultural diversity, equal opportunities and enpowerment. Members: Selin Doganer, Él Yusser Sebihi, Line Morath, Serena Abbondanza, Sol Kräuter, Dalís Pacheco Salcedo and Taufiq El-Mokdad.

CONTACT PERSON: Taufiq El-Mokdad


currently vacant

The AStA represents the student body in committees and is the executive of the student parliament (StuPa). There are currently eight departmental offices, each of which is headed by students. Accordingly, the higher education policy issues are divided among these persons.
The Anti-Discrimination Department within the AStA is a contact point for students who have experienced discrimination. It works closely with the Women’s Representative and the International Office of the UdK Berlin. The person occupaying this office is part of the AG Critical Diversity and the Council for Diversity and Equal Rights.



Interflugs is an autonomous self-organized group managed by students at the Berlin University of Arts. Financed by the UdK, Interflugs works to channel the resources of this privileged academic context in a way that could challenge its own discriminatory structures, offering to the community services information and support to develop their own projects and initiatives. The initiative organizes equipment to lend, video/audio editing rooms, project funds, workshops, lectures, events and so on.



Common Ground is a student initiative founded by AStA at the Berlin University of the Arts in 2015. It supports people with refugee experience and disadvantaged internationals before and during their study application process. Its members act as mediators between prospective students and other university initiatives, such as AStA, International Office, Studium Generale, and Artist Training.
Common Ground is also a place for community building. Each year the group organizes and funds several social art projects with, for, and by people with refugee experience. The support comes through financing the realization of projects and/or establishing helpful contacts with other students and artists. New opportunities for participation in the university context and raising awareness of the issues relating to migration and exile are regularly offered.



I.D.A stands for intersectionality.diversity.antidiscrimination. It is an autonomous student initiative founded by the AStA Department for Antidiscrimination and Intercultural Affairs and other students. This initiative aims to build a network of students to generate more transparency in and access to higher education policy. Seminars and workshops are also organised to raise awareness.



In 2018, the Coordination Office for Intercultural Diversity was established at the International Office, forming an interface with Intercultural Mentoring in Studium Generale. The Coordination Office enables the development, practical testing, evaluation and optimization of model projects and formats according to their contexts. This includes the structural development of a welcome culture (Willkommenskultur) for international students, further training courses to raise awareness among university staff and new communication platforms for international students. One third of all degree-seeking students at UdK Berlin are international students (as of 2020).
The project is supported by the DAAD with funds from the Federal Foreign Office (AA).



In order to enable affected students and applicants to have equal opportunities and barrier-free studies, the UdK Berlin has a representative for the interests of students with disabilities and chronic diseases. This is the contact person for all questions arising in connection with the study programme, starting with accessibility to buildings, to the consideration of individual needs in courses and examinations. Those affected can, for example, apply for adapted study and examination conditions to compensate for disabilityrelated restrictions. Possible options include time and/or deadline extensions for study and examination performances, compensation for attendance that is insufficiently observed due to illness, adapted internship conditions, etc. Financing of assistants or technical aids for studies can be applied for through the Studierendenwerk Berlin.

CONTACT PERSON: Christian Schmidts


The project ARTIST TRAINING is a continuing education program for professional artists in exile. Since 2016, basic and advanced modules offer information and contacts in the fields of music, visual arts, performing arts, film and cultural journalism. Networking events facilitate concrete professional contacts; consultations are tailored to the individual situation. The aims of the programme are firstly to develop networks for artists seeking refuge in Berlin within the city’s cultural community and creative industries by introducing the institutions, secondly to establish an artistic professional practice on site, and thirdly to support the positioning in the respective artistic field.

The current projects Artist Training Berlin (State of Berlin), ARTISTIC COLLECTIVES (ESF and State of Berlin) and DIGITAL BASICS (DAAD PROFI) are located at the UdK Berlin Career College and are funded until December 2021.


Ableism is the discrimination of and social prejudice against people with differing physical and mental abilities and needs. It typically involves a negative assessment of a person’s body and mind due to skills and abilities, based on a supposed biological (physical and/or mental) norm of what an able-bodied, neurotypical person should be. Ableism can intersect with other forms of oppression such as racism and sexism. 

Adultism is the discrimination found in everyday life and law based on unequal power relationships between adults, on the one hand, and children, adolescents, and young people on the other. 

The General Equal Treatment Act (AGG), enforced since 2006, is the uniform central body of regulations in Germany for the implementation of four European anti-discrimination directives. For the first time, a law was created in Germany that comprehensively regulates protection against discrimination on the grounds of race, ethnicity, gender identification, religion or belief, ability, age, or sexual orientation.

Antisemitism is a belief system based on hatred/hostility towards or discrimination against Jewish people as a religious or racial group, Jewish institutions or anyone/anything that is perceived Jewish. Antisemitism varies over time and between cultures, with antisemitism intensifying in different historical moments.   

Accessibility names the extent to which a product, service, or environment can be used and accessed by as many people as possible. Inclusive accessibility therefore assesses the needs and desires of all possible people—including those who are neurodivergent or who have varying abilities—and incorporates these into its design and function. Changes to enable those with different abilities to have equal opportunity and participation are often referred to as accommodations.  

Harassment is undesired and non-consensual conduct that violates the dignity of another person. Harassment can often create intimidating, hostile, humiliating, or offensive environments, and can be based on someone’s sexual orientation, religion, national origin, disability, age, race, gender, and more. Harassment can take a variety of forms, including verbal, physical, and/or sexual. 

The gender binary is the classification of gender into two distinct and opposite categories of man/masculine and woman/feminine. This belief system assumes that one’s sex or gender assigned at birth will align with traditional social constructions of masculine and feminine identity, expression, and sexuality. Assignment beyond the gender binary is typically viewed as a deviation of the norm. 

Sex refers to a person’s biological status and is typically assigned at birth, usually based on external anatomy. Sex is typically categorized as male, female, or intersex. 

Cisgender, or simply cis, refers to people who identify with the gender assigned to them at birth. Cis comes from the Latin prefix which means “on this side of.” 

This concept, according to Birgit Rommelspacher, assumes that there is a system of hierarchies, rule and power in which the various racist, sexist, classist, and other forms of governance intertwine. In this interconnectedness, a dominant group maintains power, which is socially negotiated again and again. In a given society, the dominant group achieves their role by being perceived as pertaining to a majority of the population and having a significant presence in societal institutions. 

The prison-industrial complex (PIC) is a term that describes the complex and interrelated dependencies between a government and the various businesses and institutions that benefit from practices of incarceration (such as prisons, jails, detention facilities, and psychiatric hospitals). Based on the term “military-industrial complex,” PIC urges a more comprehensive analysis of how imprisonment is used in a society, noting all the interest groups that prioritize financial gain over keeping people out of prisons. 

Gender-expansive is an adjective that can describe someone with a more flexible and fluid gender identity than might be associated with the typical gender binary. 

Gender is often defined as a social construct of norms, behaviors, and roles that vary between societies and over time. Gender is often categorized as male, female, or nonbinary. 

Gender transition is a process a person might take to bring themselves and/or their bodies into alignment with their gender identity. This process is not a singular step nor does it have a definite end. Rather, it can include any, none, or all of the following: telling one’s family and social circles; changing one’s name and pronouns; updating legal documents; medical interventions such as hormone therapy; or surgical intervention, often called gender confirmation surgery. 

Gender expression is how a person presents gender outwardly, most typically signalled through clothing, voice, behavior, and other perceived characteristics. Society identifies these cues and performances as masculine or feminine, although what is considered masculine or feminine varies over time and between cultures.  

Gender dysphoria refers to psychological distress that results from the incongruence between one’s sex assigned at birth and one’s gender identity. People of all genders may experience dysphoria at varying levels of intensity, or not at all. 

Gender identity is one’s own internal sense of self and their gender. Unlike gender expression, gender identity is not externally visible to others. 

Heteronormativity is the concept that heterosexuality—romantic and/or sexual attraction between people of the “opposite” gender—is the normative or acceptable sexual orientation in a society. Heteronormativity assumes the gender binary, and therefore involves a belief in the alignment between sexuality, gender identity, gender roles, and biological sex. As a dominant social norm, heteronormativity results in discrimination and oppression against those who do not identify as heterosexual.   

Hormone therapy, sometimes called gender-affirming hormone therapy (GAHT) or hormone replacement therapy (HRT), is the process by which sex hormones or other hormonal medications are administered. These hormone changes can trigger physical changes, called secondary sex characteristics, that can help better align the body with a person’s gender identity.

Institutional discrimination refers to prejudiced organizational policies and practices within institutions – such as universities, workplaces, and more – such that an individual or groups of individuals who are marginalized are unequally considered and have unequal rights. 

Inter*, or intersex, is an umbrella term that can describe people who have differences in reproductive anatomy, chromosomes, or hormones that do not fit typical definitions of male and female. The asterisks (*) emphasizes the plurality of intersex realities and physicalities. 

Intergenerational trauma refers to the trauma that is passed from a trauma survivor to their descendent. Due to violent and terrifying events—such as war, ethnic cleansing, political conflict, environmental catastrophe, and more—experienced by previous generations, descendants may experience adverse emotional, physical, and psychological effects. As the original sources of trauma are structured by forms of discrimination such as race and gender, intergenerational trauma also occurs along intersectional axes of oppression. For example, Black communities have brought to light the intergenerational trauma of enslavement. 
Intergenerational trauma is sometimes called historical trauma, multi- or transgenerational trauma, or secondary traumatization. 

Intersectionality names the interconnected nature of systems of oppression and social categorizations such as race, gender, sexuality, migratory background, and class. Intersectionality emphasizes how individual forms of discrimination do not exist independently of each other, nor can they be considered and addressed independently. Rather, addressing oppression should take into account the cumulative and interconnected axes of multiple forms of discrimination. 

Islamophobia is a belief system based on hatred/hostility towards or discrimination against Muslim people as a religious or racial group, muslim institutions or anyone/anything that is perceived Muslim. Islamophobia varies over time and between cultures, with Islamophobia intensifying in different historical moments.

Classism is a term that describes discrimination based on the belief that a person’s social or economic status determines their value in society. Classism, as a form of discrimination and stigmatization, is based on actual or assumed financial means, educational status, and social inclusion. “Inferior” classes in the hierarchy are problematised and stereotyped, and often receive unequal access and rights within society. 

Colonialism is the control and dominance of one power over a dependent area or people. In subjugating another people and land, colonialism entails violently conquering the population, often including mass displacement of people and the systematic exploitation of resources. Beyond material consequences, colonialism also includes processes of forcing the dominant power’s language and cultural values upon the subjugated people, thereby effecting cultural, psychological, and intergenerational trauma. 

Culturally argued racism is directed against people based on their presumed cultural or religious background. This form of discrimination can occur regardless of whether they actually practice one culture or religion and how religious they are (e.g. anti-Muslim racism and anti-Semitism). 

Cultural appropriation is the act of taking on aspects of a marginalized culture by a person or an institution who is outside of that culture, without comprehensive understanding of the context and often lacking respect for the significance of the original. Cultural appropriation, when promoting negative cultural or racial stereotypes, reproduces harm. Acts of cultural appropriation can often reveal power dynamics within a society: for example, a white person who wears a marginalized culture’s traditional dress is praised as fashionable, while a racialized person could be isolated from the dominant group and marked as foreign.  

Marginalization describes any process of displacing minorities to the social fringe. As a rule, marginalised groups are presumed to not correspond to the norm-oriented majority of society and are severely restricted in their ability to behave freely, have equal material access, enjoy public safety, and more.  

Microaggression names individual comments or actions that unconsciously or consciously demonstrate prejudice and enact discrimination against members of marginalized groups. As small, common, and cumulative occurrences, microaggressions can comprise of insults, stereotypes, devaluation, and/or exclusion. Microaggressions often negatively affect the person on the receiving end, affecting their psychological and physical health and wellbeing. 

Misogyny is a term for sexist oppression and contempt for women that is used to keep women at a lower social status than men, thereby maintaining patriarchal social roles. Misogyny can indicate an attitude held by individuals and a widespread cultural system that often devalues anything perceived as feminine. Misogyny can overlap with other instances of oppression and hate—such as homophobia, trans*-misogyny, and racism. 

Neurodiversity is a term that describes the unique ways each person’s brain structures function. The basic assumption of what kind of brain functioning is healthy and acceptable within a norm-oriented majority society is called neurotypical. 

Nonbinary is a term that can be used by persons who do not describe themselves or their genders as fitting into the binary categories of man or woman. A range of terms are used for these experiences, with nonbinary and genderqueer often used. 

Patriarchy is a social system whereby cis men dominantly hold positions of privilege both in public and private spheres. In feminist theory, patriarchy can be used to describe the power relationship between genders that favors male dominance, as well as the ideology of male superiority that justifies and enacts oppression against women and all non-normative genders. 

Pronouns, or personal gender pronouns (PGPs), are the set of pronouns that an individual uses to refer to themselves and desires for others to use when referring to them. The list of pronouns is continuously evolving. An individual may have several sets of preferred pronouns, or none. The intention of both asking and using a person’s pronouns correctly is to reduce the negative societal effects for those whose personal pronouns don’t match with the gender identity that’s assumed by a cisnormative society. Using gender-neutral wording and terms to refer to groups of people (such as “folks,” instead of “guys”) are also inclusive steps that resist the gender binary and cis-normativity. 

Racism is the process by which systems, policies, actions, and attitudes create unequal opportunities and outcomes for people based on race. More than individual or institutional prejudice, racism occurs when this discrimination is accompanied by the power to limit or oppress the rights of people and/or groups. Racism varies over time and between cultures, with racism towards different groups intensifying in different historical moments.   

Sex-gender difference names the distinction between the concept of “sex” as a biological fact and the concept of “gender” as a product of cultural and social processes, such as socially constructed roles, behaviours, expressions and gendered identities.

Sexism is the process by which systems, policies, actions, and attitudes create unequal opportunities and outcomes for people based on their attributed or supposed sex and the ideology underlying these phenomena. It is mostly used to name the power relations between dominant and marginalised genders within cisheteronormative patriarchal societies.

Sexual orientation is the term that describes which sex or gender a person feels emotionally, physically, romantically and/or sexually attracted to.

Social origin describes the socio-cultural values and norms into which one is born, including factors such as environment, class, caste, education biography, and more. The values that accompany one’s social origin are constructed, but often have material impact that privileges or under-privileges certain groups and people. For example, someone whose social origin includes living in a Western country, inheriting intergenerational wealth, and having a consistently good education will increase their chances for a high-paying job as an adult. Their social origin must therefore be taken into account, rather than their inherent worthiness for such a job. 

A social norm is a shared belief in the standard of acceptable behaviour by groups, both informal as well as institutionalized into policy or law. Social norms differ over time and between cultures and societies. 

Socioeconomic status, usually described as low, medium, or high, is a way of describing people based on their education, income, and type of job. The values and norms assigned to each socioeconomic class are socially constructed but have material impact. 

Structural discrimination refers to patterns of behaviour, policies, and attitudes found at the macro-level conditions of society. This discrimination of social groups is based on the nature of the structure of society as a whole. Structural discrimination is distinct from individual forms of discrimination (such as a single racist remark, which is a microaggression), though it often provides the contextual framework to understand why these individual instances occur. 

Tokenism is a superficial or symbolic gesture that includes minority members without significantly changing or addressing the structural discrimination of marginalization. Tokenism is a strategy intended to create the appearance of inclusion and to divert allegations of discrimination by requiring a single person to be representative of a minority. 

White supremacy names the beliefs and practices that privilege white people as an inherently superior race, built on the exclusion and detriment of other racial and ethnic groups. It can refer to the interconnected social, economic, and political systems that enable white people to enjoy structural advantages over other racial groups both on a collective and individual level. It can also refer to the underlying political ideology that imposes and maintains multiple forms of domination by white people and non-white supporters, from justifying European colonialism to present-day neo-fascisms. 

Whiteness is a socially and politically constructed behaviour that perpetuates an ideology, culture, history, and economy that results in the unequal distribution of power and privilege favoring those socially deemed white. The material benefits of whiteness are gained at the expense of Black, Indigenous, and people of color, who are systematically denied equal access to those material benefits. 
On our blog, white is often written in small italics to mark it as a political category and emphasize the privileges of whiteness which are often not named as such, but rather taken for granted as the invisible norm. 

Xenophobia names the hostility towards groups or individuals perceived as “outsiders” based on their culture. Xenophobic attitudes are often associated with hostile reception of immigrants or refugees who arrive in societies and communities that are not their homelands. Xenophobic discrimination can result in barriers to equally access socioeconomic opportunities, as well as ethnic, racial, or religious prejudice.

Abolition is a term that names officially ending a system, practice, or institution. Rooted in 19th century movements to abolish slavery, present day abolitionism is often invoked to end the practice of policing and military and/or the interconnected carceral systems of prisons, refugee camps, detention centers, and more. For more, see the definition of prison-industrial complex). 

Accountability is the obligation and willingness to accept responsibility for one’s actions. In the context of social justice, accountability refers to the ways in which individuals and communities hold themselves to their principles and goals, as well as acknowledging the groups to which they are responsible. Accountability often requires a transparent process and continuous self- and collective awareness. 

Ageism is discrimination or prejudice based on a person’s age, such as when skills and abilities are questioned and assessed based on one’s older or younger age. 

Agender is an adjective that can be used by persons who do not identify as any gender.

BIPoC stands for Black, Indigenous and people of color. A term that originated in the U.S., it is a self-designation intended to center the specific experiences of Black, Indigenous, and other racialized groups, who are severely impacted by systemic racial injustice rooted in histories of enslavement and colonialism, and to unite people and groups affected by racism. 

Colorism is a term that describes the prejudice or discrimination favoring people with lighter skin tones over those with darker skin tones. This is especially used to describe the nuanced discrimination faced within a racial or ethnic group. 

The Critical Diversity Policy at UdK is a document whose intention is to emphasize and enforce the idea that differences in values, attitudes, cultural perspective, beliefs, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientation, gender identity, abilities, knowledge and life experiences of each individual in each group of people should be considered and overcome within the university.

Deadnaming is the act of calling a trans*, nonbinary, or gender-expansive person by their birth name, or an incorrect name, when they have changed their name as part of their gender expression. It is never okay or necessary to use a person’s deadname when they have changed their name, including when describing past events. If you deadname someone, take accountability by apologizing and commit to not doing so in the future. Take steps to know someone’s current name and commit to using it.   

This sociological term focuses on how people observe, (re-)produce, and make gender relevant in everyday life. Rather than taking gender as an innate quality, the acts of “doing gender” emphasize how gender is a social construct that is prevalent in daily human interaction. 

Misogynoir is a term, coined by Black feminist Moya Bailey in 2010, that describes the gendered and racial oppression faced by Black cis and transgender women (the latter sometimes referred to as trans*-misogynoir). Taking an intersectional lens, misogynoir examines how anti-Black racism and misogyny combine into a particular form of oppression and discrimination. 

Queer is an umbrella term for people who are not heterosexual or cisgender. It Is used for a broad spectrum of non-normative sexual and/or gender identities and politics. 

Safer spaces are intended to be places where marginalized communities can gather and communicate shared experiences, free of bias, conflict, or harm perpetrated by members of a dominant group. Recognizing that there is no such thing as a perfectly safe space for marginalized people under the current systems of our society, the term “safer” indicates the goal of temporary relief, as well as acknowledging the fact that harm can be reproduced even within marginalized communities. 
Examples of safer spaces created in organizations and institutions are queer-only spaces and/or spaces only for Black, Indigenous, and people of color. 

Social justice is a form of activism and political movement that promotes the process of transforming society from an injust and unequal state to one that is just and equitable. Social justice is rooted in the view that everyone deserves equal economic, political, and social rights and opportunities, and the fundamental right to feel psychologically and physically secure. Social justice therefore aims to change governing laws and societal norms that have historically and presently oppressed some groups over others. Social justice is not just the absence of discrimination, but also the presence of deliberate systems and supports that achieve and sustain equity along lines of race, gender, class, ability, religion, and more. 

Transgender, or simply trans*, is an adjective that refers to people whose gender identity is different than the sex assigned at birth. Trans comes from the Latin prefix which means “across” or “beyond.” The self-designation is not an identity feature that automatically indicates whether this person identifies with a different gender, no gender or multiple genders. Thus, there are several trans* identities. The asterisks (*) emphasizes the plurality and fluidity of trans identities.