Last year, the student initiative Common Ground at the UdK Berlin launched the Common Ground Studio (CGS), a mentorship program aiming to support disadvantaged people with migration experience ahead of their Fine Art study application. It offered aspiring artists access to one of the classes, as well as assistance during their preparation and application process.

Samet Durgun was one of the seven participants in the inaugural CGS 2020/21 edition, attending the class of Mathilde ter Heijne, along with many online meetings with the group. During this time, Samet further developed his photographic project “Come Get Your Honey” into an eponymous book published in June this year by Kehrer Verlag. He also exhibited the photo series on several occasions, including the group show “Seen By #15. Nothing Ever Happened (Yet)” at the Museum für Fotografie in Berlin.

In this interview with the Common Ground member Adela Lovric, Samet speaks about his project that tells the story of a group of gender-nonconforming, trans*, queer refugees and asylum seekers in Berlin, and his own journey of weaving bonds and friendships with them through vulnerability and joy. Its title—taken from the pop song “Honey” by Robyn—reflects their shared desire to live better lives while staying true to themselves.


Samet, what does your photo series “Come Get Your Honey” aim to show?


With this photographic story, I aim to broaden what we understand about photographing people who have multiple, historically oppressed identities by challenging the power and relationship dynamics between me—“the artist”—and “the subject.” I strive to depict everyone as complex human beings in their wholeness while being aware of the limitations of representation.


Who are the subjects starring in these photographs?


They are the people I bonded with, who are queer, trans, gender-nonbinary refugees and asylum seekers from Berlin. As a side note, I prefer not to use the word ‘subject’ as I strive to close the gap between the artist, the viewer, and the people in front of the camera.

Dieses Bild hat ein leeres Alt-Attribut. Der Dateiname ist Durgun_3-scaled.jpg
Samet Durgun, Keil Li in Patricia’s Lap, 2020


What other term would be more fitting than ‘subject’? Does ‘protagonist’ work in this case?


It could be words such as ‘person,’ ‘individual,’ ‘people,’ or anything that reminds us that they are human beings. The way I see it, ‘protagonist’ is an alienating term that better fits fictional characters in movies, plays, or novels.

The artist Martha Rosler says: “[T]he ‘non-artist’ art world prefers art that doesn’t direct their attention to the now … They prefer to see it as something that helps them move away from concerns of the everyday … Art has an obligation to speak to people about the conditions of everyday life, not necessarily to make them feel insuperable, quite the opposite, to remind them that they are engaged citizens.”

Even if art, especially photographing people, might seem close to “the now” and appreciated for it, the power dynamics in photography are still rigid, therefore serving the viewer’s old expectations. I want to create art that makes non-artists feel neither insuperable nor superior. 


Can you tell me more about these people and your relationship with them?


The first person I’ve met was Prince Emrah, a gender-nonbinary (she/he) refugee from Turkmenistan and a figure known in the Berlin underground performance art scene as a belly dancer. Back then, she formed a collective called House of Royals, which provides space and champions BIPOC LGBTQIA+ artists, especially refugees and asylum seekers. Against all odds, Emrah was doing truly trailblazing work, and he was kind enough to accept my request to photograph him for a photo series I was doing at the time. From that portrait session, we grew a friendship. I was able to support the collective with photos while spending time with them and to develop my aesthetics and artistic process.

On one of the show days, Emrah introduced me to a close group of friends with whom she used to share a dorm. That day I met Reza who encouraged me to tell their story and opened the doors of the dorm for me. My visits became regular and relationships got closer; friends introduced me to their friends. I got to know an incredibly diverse group of queer individuals, in and outside the dorm, from countries like Russia, Syria, Serbia, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Iran, Malaysia, Yemen, Libya, and Turkey.

During those meetings, their stories felt extremely close to me. There it was, a group of people I was more comfortable with than most people I’ve met in my entire life. Every gender-nonconforming, trans*, and queer individual had a different story, a different origin, a different way of living in Berlin, and different plans for the future. Yet there was an understanding for each other, a sense of relief.

Samet Durgun, Prince Emrah at Silver Future, 2018
Samet Durgun, Cherry Petals, 2020


The photos are very tender and intimate; they imply an atmosphere of trust. Can you tell me about the process of making them and your intentions behind this kind of up-close approach? 


During my visits, we talked a lot about how we like it in Berlin and how we are doing now. Those were the moments when I was impressed by the warmth, kindness, and resilience I witnessed.

The up-close approach allowed me to eliminate most of the visual clues of the physical space. The viewer is left with the person in front of them, and the rest is up to their imagination. There are fewer elements to be used to perpetuate what we assume about a person or a community. There are also multiple portraits of the same individuals.

As a person who sits in the middle of many historically oppressed identities, I have formed a ‘superpower’ to perceive who is looking down on me. Thus I asked myself a fundamental question while photographing the individuals: “Whose gaze am I going to serve?”

I try my best to disengage from artistic and journalistic storytelling made merely out of curiosity, saviorism, pity, or toxic masculinity; narratives that are pervasively melancholic, objectifying, mystifying, sensationalizing, or brutally simplifying, thus ultimately dehumanizing. 


So, this is the gaze you’re actively not serving. To borrow your question—whose gaze are you serving with these works?


The people I photograph first. And then those who are aware of the pitfalls of today’s storytelling and willing to expand their perception.

Samet Durgun, Gabo Gazing, 2020
Samet Durgun, Shoes under a Bridge, 2020


You yourself are not part of the depicted community. Why was it important for you to focus on its members?


Before becoming a permanent immigrant (recently, a German citizen) in Berlin, I came here in 2010 for a summer internship, and I fell in love with the city. The only choice I had back then was to live in Istanbul, and I knew that deep down, I would never feel comfortable living there just being myself.

I grew up watching legendary trans*, gender-nonconforming, and other queer artists on TV, but they seemed from another planet. Until my mid-twenties, no one ever told me their gender identity or sexual orientation—neither did I to anyone! While my friends didn’t owe me an “outing,” it was very lonely. At the same time, I was always sure that we were plenty (according to a Gallup survey, 15% of the Gen Z in the US identify as queer). Over the years, I had openly gay friends, but the invisibility of the other letters of LGBTQIA+ carried on. 

I have so many identities that make me belong to several communities and none of them at the same time. My mom brought us up by comparing us to the mother and the father’s side. Men and women in the big family ate in different rooms when gathered together for holidays; guess which side I was on. I’ve learned about the forced displacement my forebears went through only by reading books. People often questioned if I was a minority in my hometown because of my pale skin, “too thin” bones, and off-accent. My manager in Berlin once asked me at a party if I was drinking water because I am Muslim. I didn’t tell him that I am agnostic.

To clarify: I am not counting all these to justify my connection with “the community.” In contrast, when there are so many intersections in someone’s identity, I look for what connects us—a common ground—rather than what separates us, as there will never be a proper match. As far as the book’s context is concerned, I belong to a group of individuals in Berlin who deeply knew they had to find a new home because of their gender or sexual identity. With the power of the community, I am able to connect to a bigger consciousness than myself.

Samet Durgun, Suryani’s Body, 2020
Samet Durgun, View from the 18th floor, 2020


How were your ideas, approach, and the final result received by the people you photographed?


Sometimes ideas came up while in a casual stillness, preparing for a show, or in the middle of cooking. There were also times when I would come up with a concept and visit a particular person. We would discuss the feasibility and drop the idea if necessary. There were times the idea was too personal to show it in a book. I wanted to make sure everybody was comfortable with what they present. Mirna, a hairdresser, asked me to take a picture while she was whipping her hair—she said she had gotten new fancy extensions. On the same day, she pulled out a huge pack of chips from under her bed. We also made pictures of her tying that with a belt, looking like a dress. One of those two ideas made it to the book.

One of the last steps in forming the book was to interview Prince Emrah, who would ask me anything. I showed all the pictures which will be in the book. During our talk, she said she remembers my self-portraits in full-blown makeup and a belly dance costume, which I didn’t include. He suggested including them since they deserve a spot. After cross-checking with a couple more people from the book, those pictures became a part of it.


This reversal of roles you experienced with Prince Emrah and the interview that resulted seems like a very significant moment in the process. What did this shift of dynamic between you and this self-portrait, chosen by Emrah, mean to you in the context of this photo series?


The dynamic of the gaze has always been a mix from the first moment. When people are involved in photographic work, it is necessary to acknowledge their power. By acknowledging, I don’t mean to “provide space;” I mean accepting that there is participation. People pose for me, and even if they don’t, they see the photos afterward. Communication and collaboration go hand in hand.

Two self-portraits were also a fruit of this collaboration, another way of expressing my subjectivity. Thus Emrah’s suggestion was a warm welcome; he understood my good intention and will to visualize my participation.

One picture came to life when I borrowed his dress during a show night. His dresses are puzzling even the belly dancers in Turkey, where he lived for a few years before arriving in Germany. She mixes traditionally gendered costumes or rather removes the gender from them. Her clothes are the representation of gender fluidity, thus a fashion statement.

I made the second self-portrait after a makeup workshop session in the dorm. I was there to witness the occasion, and I was asked if I also wanted to participate. One of the friends I knew from House of Royals saw my raw craft and decided to paint me. She certainly did not need that workshop; she just happened to be there and wanted me to look good. I was mesmerized by this interaction, so I had to record this moment. We came to her kitchen during sunset. Her shadow is now present in the picture—both metaphorically and literally.

Samet Durgun, Self-Portrait With Julie’s Makeup, 2019


“Come Get Your Honey” is not just a series of photographs but also a photobook containing quotes, interviews, voice and video recordings, and a link to the website where the audience can access and read the backstories of some pictures. Can you tell me more about this part of the work and explain why you chose this way of portraying this community instead of limiting it to purely pictorial content?


The idea sparked while showing an early selection of images to Marianne Ager, the curator who wrote the outro for the book. She asked me whether I had videos. My immediate response was “no,” but that question stayed with me. Why was I stuck to the images, although there was so much more to offer?

Perhaps because very few authorities define my taste and hold too much cultural, economic, and political—thus decisional—power. Or maybe I wish to make perfect sense of what I see because it is a photograph. If I think about music, a much more decentralized and mature art form, there are more than 5000 genres. How many photography genres can you count? When I listen to 800 different genres, why should my photography fit one?

Over time, I started seeing photography more as a means than a medium. I remind myself to let go of certain expectations of the medium and form relationships with different elements to enrich my stories, so that people discover, unfold, feel closer, and engage more.


And lastly—has this project had any sort of direct impact on this community or on you personally? 


Two people featured in this photo series came to me and asked for a copy of the book to share with their lawyer because both of them, separately, heard that this could be useful as proof for their case of getting a refugee status. The biggest issue asylum seekers face in Berlin, or probably everywhere else, is that the authorities are not convinced by their story. That is why getting refugee status sometimes takes weeks or even years. For these people, in particular, it’s been taking a long time. I can’t say yet if this was of any help because they didn’t get their refugee status yet, but they’re in the process. I never thought this could be something helpful in this sense but I hope it will be. 

I have also been personally affected as this is my “coming out” to many of my relatives besides my core family and friend group. Whoever goes to my Instagram now can see me in a belly dance costume. So, on a personal level, it was not just about my self-expression but also about finding my confidence and being brave.

AG Critical Diversity is an initiative by associates of the Commission for Equal Opportunities at

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.