As diverse as the club culture is, so is the knowledge and experience of anti-discrimination, diversity and equality that every single person brings with them. Many terms are explained in this glossary. You don’t have to know or learn all of them in order to deal with these topics. Rather, the glossary serves as an opportunity to develop independently and is a reference work that can continue to grow. This glossary was developed in German from a variety of sources and translated to English. For ease of cross-referencing, the German glossary entry is hyperlinked in parentheses after the English. For words not commonly used in English, the German term is used, followed by a literal English translation.

Note: In order to make the terms and definitions more understandable, we have given examples from club culture that reproduce discriminatory scenarios and structures. This can trigger negative reactions in some people. Please be advised if this is the case for you.


From the English word ability, the term Ableism originates from the US-American disability rights movement. Ableism refers to defining or assigning value to people with disabilities on the basis of their (attributed) physical and mental abilities. This can reduce a person solely to their disability. This tendency can be negative or allegedly positive: either way, it stems from the belief that there is a physical or mental »normal,« from which a disability is a »deviation.« When people with disabilities are treated unequally or disadvantaged on the basis of this evaluation, this is →discrimination. In German, the underscore may be used (be_hindert) to emphasize the role of external factors in disability: »dis_ability« is in fact created through external conditions, buildings and structures, rather than a person’s capacity or limitation. (For this reason, language that emphasizes the accessibility of spaces is preferred: call it an »accessible« toilet stall rather than »disabled«.)


Accountability means (collective) acceptance of responsibility. It is not only the person perpetuating harm who must address an act of violence—the →community, individuals, and the environment where it occurred also bear responsibility. The term was coined by INCITE, a US-based network of radical women of color. It includes four areas: the safety and self-determination of the person affected; the perpetrator of violence taking responsibility and committing to transformation; change in the immediate environment; and change at the political, societal level. Community Accountability positions itself against the punitive state, »carceral feminism«, and leftist sanctions (i.e. »canceling«).

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The two acronyms AFAB and AMAB stand for »assigned female at birth« and »assigned male at birth«. When babies are born, doctors determine the →gender of the person on the basis of external genitalia. Children with a penis are recorded on the birth certificate as male, children with a vulva as female. This judgment by primary sex characteristics forms the basis of gender identities for many people. The two terms AMAB/ AFAB are used to indicate the distinction between sex and gender: individuals are not born female/male, but are assigned gender at birth. However, these acronyms are also problematic because they still refer to the physical characteristics of the assigned sex at birth and therefore exclude →intersex individuals. AFAB/AMAB can be replaced by specific statements relevant to the person and context, such as: menstruating persons; persons producing sperm; persons with facial hair; persons with a deep/high voice; persons with →dysphoria due to a rounded rather than flat chest.


Agender is a term that can literally be translated as »without gender«. Agender people may feel they don’t belong to any gender, do not relate to the concept of gender at all, see themselves as gender-neutral, or have an undefinable gender that does not align with binary or →non-binary gender identities.


The General Equal Treatment Act (AGG), also known as the Anti-Discrimination Act, provides the legal framework for protection against →discrimination. The aim of the Act is to prevent or eliminate discrimination on the grounds of →race or →ethnic origin, gender, religion or belief, →disability, age, social status or sexual orientation. The AGG also provides a legal basis to take action against discrimination in access to services. This includes, among other things, access to bars and clubs. Civil law can compel a person to cease and desist from discriminatory treatment; it may also entitle a person experiencing discrimination to damages or compensation for pain and suffering. The AGG uses the term discrimination as a generic term which can include direct or indirect discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, or an instruction to discriminate.

AGG vs. Hausrecht

The →AGG (Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz, or General Equal Treatment Act) generally supersedes Hausrecht (“house rules” or the authority over the space). Under the AGG, access to a →club is a so-called “mass transaction” (Massengeschäft). At the club door, refusal of admission may either constitute illegal →discrimination under the AGG, or a legal use of Hausrecht. Permitted use of Hausrecht might be on the grounds of drunkenness, aggressive demeanor, inappropriate clothing, body odor, etc. the creation of a gender balance, or special profile/customer groups (women-only nights, under-30, →LGBTQIA+ clubs). By contrast, the AGG forbids individual exclusion according to personal characteristics (on the grounds of gender, age, perceived social class, sexual orientation, disability status, religion/belief, →BIPoC exclusion or →racist discrimination).

Ageism & Adultism

Ageism refers to discrimination against individuals or groups on the basis of their age. Ageism and adultism are both forms of age discrimination.

Adultism describes discrimination against younger children or adolescents due to an existing power imbalance between young people and adults. Adultism focuses on an often socially-accepted dominance over children that is taken for granted and rarely questioned.

Ageism is a term used to describe bias against people on the basis of older age. For older people in particular, social and economic disadvantage can negatively affect participation in work and social life.

For example, in the club context, this type of social exclusion can occur at the door, when people are read as either too old or too young/immature based on appearance alone. Neither the perceived nor the actual age of a person says anything about that person’s character, maturity or previous experience.

All-gender Toilets

All-gender toilets are toilets that people of all genders can use. Many people benefit from such facilities, including parents with children of different genders, people with a caretaker or assistant of a different gender, and →trans, →inter, and →non-binary people. We already encounter non-gendered toilets in many public places, for example on airplanes and trains, but also in many clubs and bars. Using the toilet is a universal need. No person should have to fear strange looks, verbal or physical attacks, or even being barred from using the toilet. All-gender restrooms are safer for trans, inter-, and non-binary people than binary-gendered restrooms.

Ally/ Allyship

The term ally refers to those who use their →privilege to act in →solidarity with minority or marginalized groups. In other words, they ally themselves with a discriminated group, even though they themselves may not be affected. The term is best known in context of the →LGBTQIA+ community and through the →Black Lives Matter movement. For example, an ally of the LGBTQIA+ community might use their more privileged position as a hetero- and cisnormative individual to help other gender identities to be better recognized in society. It is about actively supporting marginalized groups—simply talking about how →oppression is wrong is not enough. In the club context, allyship might mean, for example, when a white person cancels a gig because there are no →BIPoC artists represented in the line-up.


This glossary highlights two working definitions of anti-Semitism currently used in public life.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition, adopted in 2016: »Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.« (The German government also adopted the following extension: »In addition, the State of Israel, understood in this context as a Jewish collective, may also be the target of such attacks.«)

While the IHRA definition also specifies that »criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic,« the IHRA definition has been critiqued for stifling legitimate criticism of the Israeli state and government. 

The Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism (JDA) 2021 definition was drafted to more clearly differentiate between critical political speech about Israel/Zionism, and instances of anti-Semitism: »Anti-Semitism is discrimination, prejudice, hostility, or violence against Jews as Jews (or Jewish institutions as Jewish).«

Both definitions are not legally binding, and provide examples and guidelines for use. Read more:




Awareness refers to the conscious attention to situations in which the boundaries of others are or have been crossed. All forms of →discrimination and →(sexualized) violence can play a role in this, but it is also about sensitivity to a person’s well-being. Awareness (the English word is used in German) is a theory and practice that arose in feminist circles in Germany, inspired by second-wave feminism in the USA. It has since made its way into club, festival, and other subcultural spaces. Awareness work aims to ensure that all people, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, skin color, origin, appearance, and physical abilities, can feel as comfortable, free, and safe as possible. Border-crossing situations and (sexualized) violence should be prevented in advance by making people aware of structures and reflecting on them. If they do occur, there are trained staff to whom affected persons can turn for advice, support and help, if necessary.

Accessibility (Barrierefreiheit)

Accessibility means that all areas of daily life are equally accessible to all people without outside assistance. This may include buildings, public places, apartments, workplaces, modes of transport, clubs, bars, festivals, services or access to information. Concrete accessibility measures may include ramps, elevators, sign language interpreters or simple language (Leichter Sprache). To acknowledge that complete accessibility is not always possible, German language may use the term Barrierearmut (low-barrier) rather than Barrierefreiheit (barrier-free).

Limitations/Restrictions (Beschränkung)

Limitations or restrictions (Beschränkung) means a limit to the full enjoyment of human rights in practice. Limitations are the opposite of →equal opportunity.

Complaint Management (Beschwerdemanagement)

Complaint management is generally defined as the systematic handling of customer complaints and grievances. In the club context, it refers to a →club’s defined, systematic process for handling cases of →discrimination, boundary violations, or complaints reported by guests. This process covers the following questions: Where can an issue be reported? How and by whom will it be handled, during and after the event? How are affected persons supported, during and after the event? How are cases documented and evaluated? What measures will be taken to minimize or prevent similar cases in the future? Every club, open air or festival is free to choose to develop and implement a complaint management system. Establishing this type of process can allow for a more responsible handling of guests affected by discrimination, and can prevent boundary violations and assaults.

Betroffenenarbeit (‘affected-person work’)

Betroffenen-Arbeit (literally, »affected-person work« sometimes also betroffenorientierte Arbeit) advocates for the interest of »affected persons« and is fundamentally shaped and determined by them*. This concept comes from feminist theory and activism (see → Awareness). As »experts in their own experience”, their expertise is essential and must always be consulted by non-affected people when making decisions related to discrimination. As the saying goes: »nothing about us, without us.«

*In German, awareness praxis uses Betroffene (»affected person«) instead of »victim« (Opfer), which carries a disempowering connotation.

Gender Binary (binäres Geschlecht)

The binary (Western) gender system assumes that there are only two genders, male and female. It does not allow for other genders, or identities in-between.This binary is applied to every area of society, e.g. gendered social roles, gender identities, as well as the physical sex characteristics of people. This binary erases the existence of →intersex, →non-binary, and other people who do not fit into this system. The binary gender system is repeatedly produced in everyday life through behaviors, norms, and rules. In cases of doubt, violence may be used to enforce it. For example, intersex people are often subjected to unnecessary medical procedures to make them conform to a binary gender model. Clubs may offer a space to openly live and experiment with different gender identities. However, people in →clubs still encounter binary gender rules: for example, during bag checks at the door, people who are read as female are usually sent to a security person who is also read as female. While this may have a justification, a person’s gender identity cannot be assumed from external appearances. To avoid →misgendering, security personnel should ask the guest who should carry out the bag check.


Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPoC) is a self-identifying term created by and for people with experiences of racism. The term marks a political and social position and sees itself as emancipatory and standing in →solidarity. It positions itself against attempts at division through the influence of →racism and cultural conditioning as well as discrimination from a majority-white society. Black, Indigenous, and People of Color each have different experiences of discrimination and are therefore labeled separately. However, when speaking or writing about a specific subgroup of BIPoC, only the relevant group should be named. The term PoC includes all people who are racially or →intersectionally discriminated against on the basis of skin color, language, names, origin, and/or religion. For →queer, →trans and →inter Black, Indigenous and People of Color, the abbreviation QTIBIPoC is used.

Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter is a movement originally established in the United States to combat violence against Black, Indigenous and People of Color (→BIPoC). Black Lives Matter regularly organizes protests against the killing of BIPoC by police officers and on other issues such as racial profiling, police violence, and →racism. The movement began in 2013 with the use of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter on social media and has since spread widely outside the US.

Equal Opportunity (Chancengleichheit)

Equal opportunity means being able to fully enjoy human rights in practice without restriction. In the case of a restriction of human rights, one speaks of →restrictions, limitations, or barriers.


Cis is a Latin prefix meaning »on this side of«. Cisgender denotes that a person lives in accordance with their sex assigned at birth: for example, a cis woman was assigned a female gender at birth and likewise self-identifies as a woman. Being cisgender corresponds to a social norm—i.e., in our →heteronormative society, it is assumed that all people are cisgender. This assumption can lead to →transphobia/cissexism.


A club is a venue characterized by a program focused on live music, restricted access of a certain nature to create a protected space with its own rules, and a community that meets there to listen to music, dance and socialize

Club Culture

Club culture describes a phenomenon of people meeting at events in protected spaces to produce, present and enjoy music, dance, and socialize.


A community is a group of people who have something in common. The community can be defined by the common characteristics of the people in it, the strength of the interpersonal connections, and/or the sense of belonging. A community can exist for any common interest. Smaller sub-communities can also emerge within them. For example, the →LGBTQIA+ community has many smaller communities that have often emerged because of animosities and »isms.« New York City’s ballroom culture arose due to the fact that QTIBIPoC were only allowed in mostly-white →drag shows under certain limitations or not at all.


Darkrooms emerged in US gay culture during the 1970s. They are rooms in bars, →clubs or saunas with little or no lighting where sexual activity can take place. For health and safety reasons, →safer sex practices (ie, a condom requirement) and →consent are essential to establish in this context.

Definitionsmacht (Power of Definition)

People have different emotional and physical boundaries. The concept of Definitionsmacht (»power of definition«) holds that →(sexualized) violence is everything that an affected person defines or names as such. Accordingly, the affected person determines what constitutes →discrimination or violation of personal boundaries. This approach focuses on the affected person, rather than the person perpetuating discrimination or violence. What happens after an instance of boundary violation or discrimination should be based on the wishes and needs of the person affected. Coming from feminist activism and theory (see →Awareness), this concept serves to create a →safer space and is part of standing in →solidarity with those affected by discrimination or violence.

Fatphobia (Dickenfeindlichkeit)

Fatphobia arises from the assumption that people with higher body weight are physically, intellectually, morally or healthwise inferior. There is a belief that health can be controlled if people diet or eat a certain way, and that one can control how long they will live (diet culture). Fat people often have no control over their body size. Being fat is in many cases not self-determined, but may result from congenital factors or chronic health conditions.


Discrimination means »systematically preventing people from exercising their human rights on the basis of individual or group characteristics. International law assigns three main characteristics to discrimination: adverse treatment, based on unlawful grounds, and lacking an adequate and objective justification.« In the →AGG (Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz, or General Equal Treatment Act), discrimination is based on the effect, not the motive. In the instance of discriminatory treatment, it does not matter whether treatment was based on 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:

  • Differentiation – when, for example, →BIPoC are systematically targeted by police checks.
  • Exclusion – when, for example, people are turned away at club doors because of their identity.
  • Restriction – when, for example, →LGBTQIA+ are not granted freedom of assembly.
  • Preference – when, for example, national origin dictates preference in the allocation of housing.
  • Segregation – when, for example, →Roma and Sinti children are systematically taught in separate schools or classes without consideration of their abilities and needs.
  • Denial of adequate facilities – when, for example, buildings are not wheelchair accessible.



Everyone has characteristics, habits and behaviors that set them apart from others. [In our society,] some characteristics are linked to →privilege and power, while others make it more difficult to access resources. The diversity approach problematizes (i.e., points out) how power relations in society are →intersectionally linked to structures of discrimination and privilege, especially in categories like skin color, origin, residence status, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, and social origin or social status. Diversity means not just »variety« or »multiplicity,« but it is also a critique of discrimination, power, and norms. It stands for empowerment and power-sharing, as well as an intersectional perspective.

Read more:

Diversity-oriented organizational development (Diversitätsorientierte Organisationsentwicklung)

Diversity-oriented organizational development is a strategy for institutions that do not yet fully reflect societal diversity. The aim is to increase equal opportunities for all members of the organization and to counteract (structural) →discrimination. Diversity-oriented organizational development responds to the increasing need and necessity to anchor diversity as a cross-cutting issue in institutions. To do so, approaches of anti-discrimination work are combined with approaches of organizational development.


The earliest origin of the term drag is uncertain, but was popularized by LGBTQ+ communities in the US and UK. (Some sources allude to this term as an acronym for »Dressed Resembling A Girl/Guy,« but this origin story is widely doubted.)

While for many people, the term »drag« evokes a mental image of cisgender men dressing in stereotypically feminine clothing (drag queens), →cis women/men, →trans women/men, and →non-binary people also appear as drag artists. Therefore, referring to drag artists or performers may be more inclusive and appropriate than →binary references to drag kings or queens. Drag focuses on playing with gender roles and norms, parodying or satirizing them, and thus resisting dominant →power structures. Drag not only reveals the performative nature of →gender, but also demonstrates how gender is a cultural construct. Drag performance aims to destabilize the »truth« of gender identity through re-iterating and revising gender onstage.

Read more:

»Third Option« (Dritte Option)

Since the end of 2018, →intersex people have been able to select a third gender option, »diverse,« for official identification cards. This third option, »diverse,« is in addition to »male« and »female.« However, until now this has been determined solely on the basis of physical sex characteristics. Only those who have a so-called »variant of sex development« (i.e. physical sex characteristics that do not clearly correspond to the medical categories »male« or »female« ) can claim the option »diverse,« excluding →trans and →non-binary people. However, persons who do not yet meet the criteria for the third option can apply for a so-called →supplementary ID card.

Drogenmündigkeit (»drug maturity«)

Drogenmündigkeit (literally, »drug maturity«) refers to a person’s ability to assess the pleasures and risks of drug use on a factual basis and to make responsible decisions about use. Advocates of this approach argue that drug users of legal age are qualified to choose pleasure-oriented and risk-minimizing modes of consumption, alongside uncontrolled consumption or total abstinence.

Drug Checking

When drugs are illegally acquired, their composition and concentration are unknown. This creates enormous risks for the consumer. In drug checking, drugs are tested for their contents.

A core element of drug checking is communicating not just results, but also advice on effects and risks, and health recommendations related to the tested substance.

There are various technical options for analyzing substances. Some methods only confirm that a substance contains or excludes particular ingredients. Other methods may allow for a quantitative assessment: how much of a certain ingredient a substance contains. In many European countries, there are now state-supported drug-checking projects implemented by drug safety and health organizations. The Berlin Senate also supports such measures.

Dysphoria (Dysphorie)

Dysphoria refers to deep feelings of unease, distress, anxiety, depression, or discomfort. One example of dysphoria is gender dysphoria: an extreme discomfort caused by a discrepancy between the gender a person was assigned at birth (→AMAB/AFAB) and the gender they perceive themselves to be (affirmed gender). Some individuals with gender dysphoria may feel uncomfortable because they feel »trapped« in a body that does not match the gender that feels right to them.


Empowerment (in German: Selbst-Ermächtigung or Selbst-Befähigung) can describe a process in which disadvantaged people develop their own strengths and use their abilities to participate in political and social decisionmaking processes, in order to improve their quality of life and opportunities for further development. Empowerment includes concepts and strategies that enable people in (relatively) →marginalized positions to achieve greater self-determination and autonomy, and to represent and assert their interests in empowered, self-responsible, and self-determined ways. In this context, empowerment refers both to the process of self-empowerment, and to professional support enabling people to recognize their own scope for action and use it to shape their lives and resources.

Ergänzungsausweis (»supplementary identification card«)

In everyday life, official documents are often required to confirm a person’s identity. However, for →trans and →non-binary people, official documents may not match their gender identity, especially if their legal name and/or gender marker has not yet been formally changed. Similarly, this can be the case with external appearance, which may be misinterpreted by outsiders. This mismatch can lead to unpleasant, stressful and humiliating questioning, or even dangerous situations. To address this, the dgti (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Transidentität und Intersexualität e.V.) supplementary identity card (Ergänzungsausweis) contains all self-chosen personal data, as well as a current passport photo, to eliminate discrepancy between the papers and the person. The dgti supplementary identity card is recognized by governments of all German federal states, the Federal Ministry of the Interior (Bundesministerium des Inneren), as well as various other authorities, ministries, and different organizations and societies in Germany – hopefully also at the next club door!



Ethnicity refers to the individually-perceived belonging to an ethnic group whose common characteristics may include language, religion or shared traditions. Ethnicity refers solely to cultural practices and attitudes distinguishing one community from another. Unlike the concept of race, ethnicity is not a fixed or biological concept. It is an idea exclusively associated with social meaning.

The concept of ethnicity is currently subject to critical debate. With the concept of »race« no longer used because of its biological connotations, the incompatibility of certain cultures and ethnic groups has become a disputed subject. Culturally-related arguments have replaced biology-based claims to discriminate against certain sections of the population.


Ethnization refers to a process in which people are assigned to an →ethnicity because of their origin, appearance, or habits. This attribution is not necessarily accurate. These individuals’ behaviors are defined primarily based on a (supposed) ethnicity. This term gives a name to the practice of creating and constructing →racist markers and affiliations.


The exclusion of a person or group of persons from a social circle. Exclusion should only occur in a party’s social circle if the actions of the person(s) are clearly related to the reasons for their exclusion and if their actions threaten to disrupt the event’s social atmosphere. For example, this could be aggression towards others or drunkenness at the entrance. The moment of exclusion can take place during or even before the beginning of the event. The opposite of exclusion is →inclusion.


Feminism arose in a society dominated by →cis men, in which women — legally or actually — had fewer rights than men. Feminism aims to end →oppression and structural disadvantages based on gender and to thus achieve equality. It advocates for all of those who are discriminated against in →patriarchy. Feminism is not only an individual experience but also a structural one: for example, in Germany, the income of women with the same qualifications as men is, on average, 21 percent lower than that of men. 80 percent of those affected by violence are women. In feminism there are different movements for which the term »feminism« holds varying definitions and priorities: →intersectional, ecological, →Queer, socialist, and deconstructionist feminism.

What feminists still have to fight for today:


The German acronym FINTA* stands for »Frauen, intergeschlechtliche, nicht-binäre, trans und agender«: women, →intersex, →non-binary, →trans and →agender people. It refers to people who are discriminated against in the →patriarchy. (The abbreviation FLINTA* also exists, including Lesben (lesbians), but the Awareness Akademie Glossary opts for this alternative version, as the abbreviation is not about sexual orientation, but gender identities.) In feminist circles, the first term may be styled as »Frauen*« (with asterisk*) or »womxn,« but these spellings are subject to critical debate. On one hand, these altered spellings can give the impression that trans women are not »normal« women and thus be →transphobic. On the other hand, non-binary, agender, and inter persons can also feel excluded and not addressed by these terms. In general, a more →inclusive approach is to clearly name the identities that pertain to a given situation.

Fragile Masculinity

When a person’s masculinity is »fragile,« it means they are insecure in their masculinity. Usually it is brought to light by men wanting something more masculine or denying something they perceive as not masculine (enough).

Fragile masculinity refers to the particular anxiety of men who believe that they fall short of cultural standards of masculinity. Fragile masculinity can lead to compensatory attitudes/behaviors meant to restore the threatened status of being a »real« man.

Example: a man does not want to wear skinny jeans or use a pink razor because he is afraid of being perceived as not masculine enough.


In psychology, gaslighting is defined as a form of psychological violence or abuse in which victims are deliberately disoriented, manipulated and made deeply insecure. Victims’ sense of reality and self-awareness is distorted or destroyed so that they can no longer distinguish between truth and appearances. Gaslighting is an attack on one’s reality. It is also part of many forms of discrimination. In contrast to gaslighting in relationships, it is not just one person who repeatedly questions the reality of another. In →racist or →sexist gaslighting, many people may reinforce this pattern of distortion, thus making a recipient or affected person question their own actions rather than that of the perpetrators (→perpetrator:victim reversal).


The term gatekeeping is used for people who are in a position to decide whether another person may have access to certain resources, such as participation in a →community or at the →club door.


Gender refers to the social constructs and roles around sex. It is distinct from one’s biological sex. 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 a woman during life, and that the supposed differences between women and men are not a product of nature, but a product of society.

Gender neutrality (Gender-Neutralität)

Gender neutrality is the idea that policy, language, and other social institutions should avoid differentiating roles based on people’s sex or gender, in order to reduce →discrimination. Gender neutrality can be practiced through →gender-neutral or gender-inclusive language as well as gender-neutral toilets (→all-gender toilets).

Gentrification (Gentrifizierung)

Gentrification refers to a process of socioeconomic structural change in metropolitan neighborhoods:  through increasing neighborhoods’ attractiveness, more affluent owners and tenants subsequently move in. This process is associated with the displacement or replacement of entire population groups and decreased social mix or diversity.

Gender-Inclusive/Gender-Neutral Language (Geschlechtergerechte Sprache)

The German language often defaults to masculine forms of address (for example, even a group of 99% female artists would be addressed with the masculine plural). To ensure that →FINTA* people also feel addressed, it is best practice to explicitly include other genders. Addressing and naming people of all genders helps to eliminate gender stereotypes. This can be done through adopting gender-neutral wordings (ex: in German Techniker becomes technische Fachkraft. An English equivalent would be referring to »performers« or »actors« rather than actors and actresses). Additionally, the gender star *, gap _, or colon : can also be used in German to make language more inclusive (ex: Veranstalter:innen). This website uses the colon (Gender-Doppelpunkt) because it refers to people who do not identify with the gender binary. This variant is also more accessible and makes it easier to read.

Weight Discrimination (Gewichtsdiskriminierung)

Weight discrimination refers to discrimination based on physical appearance and the fear and hatred towards people who are perceived as too fat or too thin. People whose weight falls significantly above or below the »normal« range (defined by BMI: Body Mass Index) are particularly discriminated against and stigmatized. Weight discrimination can have consequences of unemployment, lower pay, poor working conditions, violent insults—or, in club culture, rejection at the club door.

Equal treatment (Gleichbehandlung)

Equal treatment is the positive counterpart to →privilege or →discrimination / disadvantage. The term means that no privilege or disadvantage is conferred on the basis of skin color, origin, birth, religion, language, gender, sexual identity, or physical ability.

Harm Reduction

Harm reduction refers to policies, programmes and practices that aim to reduce the negative health, social and economic consequences of drug use, without necessarily aiming to reduce drug use. Harm reduction is based on justice and human rights. It focuses on positive change and working with people without judging, coercing, discriminating or requiring them to stop using drugs as a precondition for support. It is accepted that people make a conscious decision to use or not to use substances. Harm reduction pays special attention to the framework conditions that support the target group to reduce or avoid harm and to take advantage of health promotion services. Harm reduction views substance users as self-determined and intelligent individuals and recognises the bond that each person has with a substance. It promotes knowledge and strengthens the competence of substance users with the aim of minimising risk. It refuses to stigmatize any substance and to shame users. Harm reduction also includes the component of social justice with the aim of changing drug policies and opposing the (racist, imperialist) war on drugs. Harm reduction measures include safer-use counseling/information stands/materials, drug consumption rooms, awareness teams, drug checking, syringe exchange and vending machines.


Hate Speech

Hate speech refers to instances where people are devalued or attacked, or when hate or violence is incited against them. Hate speech often entails →racist, →antisemitic, →sexist or →transphobic comments that target specific people or groups. Hate speech is thus an umbrella term for the phenomenon of group-based enmity or inciting hatred on the Internet and social media spaces. The legal facts of this term are in a gray area that includes both criminal and non-criminal forms of expression.


Heteronormativity is conditioned by a →binary gender order and the assumption that all people identify as either #cis women or cis men and that all cis men are sexually attracted only to cis women – and vice versa. Heteronormativity is also the assumption that women and men have certain characteristics, behaviors, tastes, and preferences and adhere to these patterns. In other words, it is a socially produced »norm« that designates only heterosexuality as the standard. All other lifestyles, such as homosexuality, are thus considered deviant or exceptions. Other gender identities are ignored in this binary. We experience heteronormativity everywhere: for example, in television, children’s books, advertising, and the legal system.


Heterosexism is the assumption that heterosexuality is the only »natural« or superior sexuality. Sexual orientations such as homosexuality, bisexuality, asexuality and pansexuality are regarded as »not normal« or rejected. This bias sometimes also includes people


Homophobia refers to discrimination against gay and lesbian people. It manifests itself, for example, through rejection, anger, intolerance, prejudice, discomfort, or physical or psychological violence towards people who are, or are perceived as LGBTQIA+. →Internalized homophobia describes homophobia directed against one’s own sexual orientation and thus against oneself. This often happens in a homophobic environment and/or before one’s own internal coming out.

The German term Homofeindlichkeit is preferred to Homophobie as -phobia means fear. A »phobia« makes it sounds as if discrimination against homosexual people is involuntary; a »phobia« is a a diagnosis that is very difficult to address. However, in most cases discrimination is based on hatred and rejection, not fear.


Homonormativity results from the assumption that there are only two genders. Homosexual individuals thereby reproduce traditional notions of masculinity and femininity. Through their political activities, they primarily pursue ideals of heterosexual lifestyles (marriage, children, home ownership, monogamy) instead of challenging and questioning common social norms and institutions. Although the recognition of gay marriage has been celebrated, this →privileged way of life supports and perpetuates →heteronormative institutions. Homonormativity results in the exclusion of other →queer identities, such as →non-binary and →trans persons.

Identity politics

Identity politics refers to political action linked to the needs of a specific group of people. The goal is to achieve greater recognition of the group, reduce (structural) →discrimination, improve the group’s social position, and strengthen its influence. Members of a group are identified through cultural, ethnic, social, or sexual characteristics.


Inclusion means that every person in society belongs without question, 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 understands diversity as enrichment – it is normal to be different.


Internalized experiences of discrimination resulting from social power relations are referred to as »internalized oppression.« Internalization happens when a person takes on, or internalizes, negative beliefs of an identity group as if they were real.

  • Internalized →racism: when white colleagues or supervisors’ approval is seen as »better« than that from other →BIPoC, this is internalized racism.
  • Internalized →classism: when a poor child imitates the dress, mannerisms, attitudes, and ambitions of rich children because it is unacceptable to be poor, this is internalized classism.
  • Internalized →Transphobia: If →trans persons think that they are not »real« men/women, then this is internalized transphobia.

Individuals are referred to as intersex if they cannot be assigned a clear gender at birth. A person may be born with physical characteristics which do not fit the binary social norm of male and female. This may be at the genetic, hormonal or anatomical level. Intersex is not a disease and generally does not affect a person’s health. Intersex support and advocacy groups criticize the practices of operating on or medicating intersex people, often in infancy and childhood, without consent, in order to make their gender »clear«. International human rights organizations see this as a violation of the right to physical integrity and sexual self-determination.


Intersectionality is a term coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw that refers to how categories of discrimination — such as gender, ethnic origin, class, sexual orientation and disability — interact with each other. Intersectionality not only represents a sum of these categories; it also reflects an understanding of how multiple discrimination affects individuals and structures. For example, a woman belonging to an ethnic minority may be affected by →discrimination differently than a man from the same minority group. In addition, other personal characteristics or circumstances, such as a disability or level of education, plays a role in determining an individual’s risk of becoming a victim of discrimination. The combination of different reasons for discrimination is also referred to as intersectional discrimination.

Classism (Klassismus)

Classism refers to →discrimination based on social origin and/or social and economic status. Classism is not only about how much money a person has at their disposal. It is also about their status and the financial and social circumstances in which they grew up. Classism is directed against people in poverty or of the working class, e.g. low-income, unemployed and homeless people, but also children from working-class families. This term was coined through the experiences of communities facing multiple types of discrimination. Classism often leads to →precarization / economic precarity. The high entrance fees for events in clubs, bars, or at festivals are examples of classism. Participating in club culture has thus become a →privilege for many people.

Consent, among other things, distinguishes sex from →sexualized violence. In this context, consent means that all participants in a sexual act have freely agreed to it and can stop at any time. The prerequisite for consent is the ability of all participants to give their consent. This is not the case, for example, with unconscious or sleeping people and can also be affected by relationships with power imbalances or dependence, alcohol and other drugs, etc.

Critical masculinity (Kritische Männlichkeit)

Critical masculinity deals with making masculinity, masculinity requirements, toxic behaviors of men and related →sexism visible. However, it is important to adopt a power-critical stance that emphasizes →feminist issues, highlights male privilege, and avoids stereotypes. Critical masculinity is also tasked with supporting alternative images of masculinity, reducing the relevance of masculinity demands, and actively curbing sexist behavior by men.

Cultural Appropriation (Kulturelle Aneignung)

The term cultural appropriation refers to the taking of a practice or element from one culture (usually systematically-oppressed) by another (usually dominant) culture or identity. The ethics of cultural appropriation fuels controversial debates, especially when the appropriated culture belongs to a minority that is socially, politically, economically, or militarily disadvantaged. →Marginalized groups, such as →BIPoC, are still treated unfairly on the grounds of appearance or cultural traditions. However, dominant social groups—especially white-identified ones—can often use these same symbols from other cultures without the risk of →discrimination, and can distance themselves from the appropriation when needed. Festivals are often sites of cultural appropriation. Many visitors appropriate or take visual elements from different cultures to make eye-catching outfits. For example, festival participants decorate their clothes with feathers from indigenous peoples in North America; paint bindis — representing wisdom or spirituality in South Asian cultures — on their foreheads; or dress in dashikis from West Africa.


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


Lookism is →discrimination based on appearance. It is the assumption that appearance is an indicator of a person’s worth. Lookism refers to social constructs of beauty or body norms. It also refers to oppression through stereotypes and generalizations that affect people who do (and do not) conform to these norms.

Power (Macht)

Power is the possibility of being able to make decisions on behalf of others and subjecting others to one’s individual opinion. It can also refer to forcefully implementing one’s goals despite opposing views. Thus, power produces frameworks leading to inequality, forms of oppression and exploitation. Whether a person experiences racism is thus dependent on one’s social position and corresponding power structures. A redistribution of power relations in favor of the disadvantaged is called for in order to end the abuse of power.


Mansplaining is a phenomenon in which a man explains something to a →FINTA* person against their will and/or in a know-it-all and condescending manner. The man usually assumes that he knows better than the FINTA* person, which of course is not necessarily the case. Regardless of this, the man is usually not interested in what the other person knows about the topic, so it is not a (knowledge) exchange. The phenomenon therefore illustrates →patriarchal power relations within communication.


The term is used to describe the behavior of men sitting in public places with their legs spread apart, taking up significant physical space. However, it may also apply in clubs when →cis-read men in particular take up a lot of (physical and metaphorical) space when dancing, at the bar, or in communication.


Marginalization is a social process in which populations are pushed to the »margins of society« and thus have little ability to participate in economic, cultural, and political life. Marginalization is one of five factors that together characterize »social oppression« – along with injustice, violence, cultural imperialism, and powerlessness.

Mental Health

Mental health encompasses our emotional, psychological and social well-being. It influences how we think, feel and act. It also contributes to how we cope with stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. The structural conditions in which people live, or the impact of oppression under existing social structures have a strong influence on both Mental Health and →Mental Illness.

Mental Illness

Mental illnesses are conditions that affect a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, or behavior, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. Such conditions can be occasional or permanent (chronic) and can affect a person’s daily functioning and ability to relate to others.


Microaggressions are everyday statements or actions that indirectly, subtly, or unintentionally discriminate against →marginalized groups of people. The statements are usually perceived as an assault. Unlike some other forms of →discrimination, the person committing a microaggression may not even be aware that the behavior is harmful. Microaggressions are part of everyday discrimination and can be explained with the metaphor of the mosquito bite: barely visible, bearable individually, but with many, the pain becomes unbearable. »Mosquito bites« can be attacks and insults, ignorance, unconscious actions, or the negation and denial of a person’s own perspective and experiences.

Examples of microaggressions are:

  • Contributions made by the affected person being ignored. Sometimes they are also dismissed as irrelevant or not important.
  • A person’s name being consistently mispronounced. At worst, the person is labeled non-German, justifying the mispronunciation. 
  • Telling a thin person to eat more.
  • Deliberately addressing people with the wrong →pronoun.

Misgendering means that a person is categorized as the wrong gender and/or addressed with the wrong →pronoun. This can sometimes happen unintentionally. But it can also be intentional, e.g. meant as a devaluation or rejection. Misgendering mainly affects →trans and →non-binary people and can lead to →dysphoria.


Misogyny (Greek: misos, »hatred« and gyne, »woman«) or hostility towards women is a generic term for socio-cultural patterns that associate women with lower—and men with higher—relevance or value. Misogyny is internalized or learned by both men and women through psychosocial development (socialization, habituation). It provides a foundation for hierarchical gender roles of masculinity and femininity. Misogyny is the basis of hegemonic (i.e. dominant) masculinity or →patriarchal relational structures.


Neurotypical people think, feel and perceive things in a way the general population considers »normal«. Neurodiverse people deviate from this norm.

Neurodiversity means neurological diversity. Autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, and learning disabilities are not disorders that need to be cured, but variations and differences that must be respected and seen as natural human differences.


Persons who identify as non-binary see themselves neither as men nor as women. The binary gender system does not apply to them and is rejected. Non-binary people can be →trans or →cis or →inter. They can be female, male, both, neither-nor, many, more, femme or →agender, or something else entirely. They can be feminine, masculine, →queer, and political. They can use different, new or old, multiple, changing or no →pronouns. They can have a wide variety of bodies, transition needs or experiences, or none of the above. As a variation, non-binary people may use the term enby [non-binary = nb = enby] to refer to themselves. (Note: Non-binary is shortened to »enby« rather than »NB«, as the latter is also used as a short form of »non-Black,« as in referring to non-Black POC.)


Outing means revealing a person’s gender identity and/or sexual orientation to another person, a group, and/or the public. Most often, this happens without the consent or approval of the person involved. A person coming out, on the other hand, is voluntary.

Panic attack

A panic attack is a one-time and sudden occurrence, usually lasting only a few minutes, of a physical and psychological alarm reaction without a clear external cause. The associated physical reactions are often experienced as (life) threatening, which further increases anxiety and panic. Symptoms include shortness of breath, a rapid heartbeat, sweating, shivering, dizziness and anxious thoughts. Immediate relief can take the form of breathing exercises, conscious muscle relaxation exercises, distractions or conversations with others, and—in an emergency—calling emergency services. Drugs can also be a →trigger for panic attacks.


»Passing« means that some aspect of a person’s social identity—their gender, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, religion, class or physical/mental disability—is not outwardly visible to others, meaning that the person is not subject to the social expectations associated with that identity. The person has the →privilege (also known as »passing privilege«) to »pass« for a different identity. An example of »passing« is when a black person with very light skin is taken to be a white person, or when a person is accepted as (or assumed to be) a member of the gender with which they identify or outwardly display. The concept of »passing« is also often understood as a form of →oppression. Since people who »pass« are more protected from →discrimination, →hate speech, and acts of violence, passing is an active factor in the maintenance of social norms.


The term patriarchy refers to an organizational form representing the power and privileges of men in hierarchical positions. When we refer to patriarchal structures in institutions, we are addressing how a large number of (white) →cis men are represented in leadership positions and make decisions.

Peer/ Peergroup

Peer means same-aged or equal. So when people talk about peers, they refer to an environment of people who are similar in mind or age. A peer group is then a group with great influence to which an individual feels a sense of belonging.

Police Violence (Polizeigewalt)

The term police violence is used to describe physical and psychological force used by police officers. The use of force is permitted by law only under certain conditions and then only to a proportionate extent. Drug addicts, people experiencing homelessness, sex workers, members of ethnic minorities, demonstrators and journalists are often affected. Only a few criminal charges against police officers in Germany ultimately lead to an indictment.

Precarious/ Precarization (Prekarisierung)

The root word precarious means insecure or not permanent. The term »precarization« or »precariousness« refers to insecure living conditions – especially in the area of gainful employment. Women, migrants, →BIPoC and →LGBTQIA+ persons are often most affected. Persons affected by multiple forms of discrimination usually live in even more precarious life situations.


Privilege exists when people have structural rights and advantages due to group membership or attribution (for example, white, cis, male and/or heterosexual) that have not been acquired through their own performance or special qualification. Conversely, this also means these socially-granted opportunities are inaccessible or made more difficult for others. Privilege thus always creates disadvantage for others. Privileged persons shape the norm and are often not aware of their privileged status.


Just as we generally have names that we use, we also tend to have pronouns that we want to be addressed by. The personal pronoun is a pronoun that designates participants in the speech situation or refers to third parties. In English, the most commonly used pronouns are »he/ she« (German: er / sie). There is no officially recognized third pronoun in the German language yet (equivalents: the English →»they/them« or Swedish »hen«). Alternative third-person gender-neutral pronouns in German are »sier, xier, nin.« When meeting a person you don’t know, it’s important to ask about the pronoun in addition to the name, i.e.: »What’s your name? What pronouns do you use?« Even if you’re talking about a person whose gender you don’t know, neutral is best. If you’re talking about a person, instead of using the third gender-neutral pronoun, you can just use »the person« or their name.


»The word »queer« has had many different meanings in different times and places. It originally referred to as strangeness or difference, and became a term of abuse.« (A rough equivalent might be the German »pervers.«) Queer »has since been reclaimed as a positive word.« Today, queer can operate as an umbrella term for people outside of the heterosexual norm, or for people who challenge the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans) »mainstream«. It can also be a way of challenging norms around gender and sexuality through different ways of thinking or acting,« or a political stance that also questions the norms of the conventional LGBT mainstream. Queer assumes that identities are not rigid but changeable, and that sexuality and gender are not  →binary.

Queer is also an academic discipline (queer studies) or theoretical approach (queer theory) that breaks down rigid or categorical thinking, draws connections between different forms of oppression, and particularly examines sexuality as a site of oppression. Queer can describe not only people, relationships and communities, but also actions: »we ‘queer’ things when we resist…the ‘normative’ ideals of aspiring to be normal in identity, behavior, appearance, relationships, etc.«

Queer politics may also critique LGBT activism or equality politics: »They point out that being ‘equal’ is not always ‘equally good’ and question the gay rights movement’s focus on things like marriage, consumer culture, and serving in the military. Maybe the focus should be on the groups under the queer umbrella who are most →marginalized, such as those who are at everyday risk of violence, suicide, poverty, and homelessness.« 

—adapted from Barker, Meg-John; Scheele, Julia: Queer. An Illustrated History. (Münster, 2018).

Racial Profiling

The term »racial profiling« refers to the actions of security, police, and customs officials towards →BIPoC based on external characteristics. The persons are assessed as »suspicious« on the basis of racist stereotypes without any justification or concrete grounds for suspicion.


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). For those affected, racism prevents equal participation in society. Racist degradation of →BIPoC can lead to physical and psychological violence against them, or may even be used as a supposed justification for killings and genocides (»ethnic cleansing«). In addition to these offensively brutal forms of racism, subtle racism (especially also in the form of →microaggressions) reproduces the racist system in everyday life. This subtle form provides constant reminders that a person is different and does not »belong«. While a person perpetuating discrimination may not do so intentionally, it is nonetheless exclusionary, hurtful, frustrating, and sows the seeds of more extreme forms of racism. There are many forms of racism. Distinctions can be made between anti-Black, anti-Muslim, or anti-Asian racism, →anti-Semitism, or racist discrimination against →Roma and SintiRacism is a social practice of exclusion that appears differently in different historical contexts. It creates hierarchies, differentiates, and devalues people by ascribing to them constructed, usually negative, group-specific characteristics and attributes. Specific forms of racism are »New Racism«, »Colorblind Racism«, »Cultural Racism« and »Aversive Racism«.


Racialization (derived from race) refers to a process or structure in which people are categorized, stereotyped, and put into hierarchies according to racial characteristics (appearance, ways of living, or imagined characteristics). In this process, racialized knowledge is created, and the structure is based on this knowledge. While in German language usage »race« is mainly associated with National Socialism and supposedly »natural« categories of people, the word racialization emphasizes that these are constructed categories that have real effects (racism).

Right-wing extremism

Right-wing extremism describes an attitude or behaviour that assumes the inequality of people, constructs an ethnically homogeneous people and places the community above the individual. Added to this is the desire for a strong leader figure. Right-wing extremist orientations are contrary to the principle of equality in the general declarations of human rights. Violence is accepted and even practised. For right-wing extremists, the “right of the strongest” should prevail, “weak” people are less valuable and less worthy of protection according to their ideology. Other components of right-wing extremism are racism, anti-Semitism, nationalism, social Darwinism, ableism, sexism and heteronormativity, the advocacy of authoritarian forms of rule, conspiracy ideologies and the trivialisation of National Socialism.

The working definition of right-wing extremism also includes the assumption that right-wing extremism does not exist on the margins of society, but is produced and increasingly normalised in the centre of society (see Mitte Study 2022/23). According to this study, significantly more people in Germany agree with an extreme right-wing world view in 2022/23. The far-right style of dress is characterised by an ambiguity that is referred to as the “new confusion”. Right-wing extremists include right-wing esoterics/settlers, sovereignists and parties such as the AfD or Der Dritte Weg. Right-wing extremism manifests itself in mostly violent demonstrations and attacks in public as well as in hatred and hate speech on the internet.

Roma and Sinti

Roma and Sinti is the self-identifying term used by a highly diverse population group of several hundred thousand people in Germany. They have been at home in Europe since the end of the 14th century and are recognized as a national minority in Germany.

Safer Nightlife

Safer Nightlife includes a variety of different approaches, strategies, and measures that all take an »emancipatory« approach to health (meaning, approaches that recognize the social and political aspects of health, and that value communities’ and individuals’ own knowledge). The goal is participants’ self-determined well-being, and positive relations in nightlife scenes. This requires →safer sex and →safer use organizations and event organizers to work together. The aim is to reduce the risk of →discrimination and violent assault in nightlife spaces. Safer nightlife also includes recognizing and appropriately addressing the realities of risky behavior, such as intoxication (including the use of illegal substances). Organizers should thus develop strategies to handle issues and emergencies that might arise.

Safer Sex

The term safer sex refers to sexual intercourse in which the partners use condoms, dental dams or other methods or devices to reduce the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. Taking PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is another measure to protect against infection.

Safer Space (Geschützter Raum)

»Safe(r) Spaces« are spaces where people who are →marginalized or discriminated against can come together without being exposed to harassment. Ideally in these spaces, people who experience prejudice or difficulty in everyday life because of their identity should be able to move and socialize freely. However, it is almost impossible to guarantee absolute safety. That is why the term »safer space« or also »intentional space« (i.e. space by and for a particular group) is more often used. Maintaining safer space requires constant effort and reflection on structures and processes. Clubs play an important role as safer spaces for their communities.

Safer Use

Safer Use refers to actions and strategies that make the use of psychoactive substances as low-risk as possible. Safer-use practices can help users avoid undesirable effects and overdose, as well as the risk of transmitting infections. Drug use is never risk-free. However, certain safer use practices can greatly minimize accompanying risks.

Black community in Germany (Schwarze Menschen in Deutschland)

Black is a self-identifying term by and for Black people of African or African Diaspora descent. Blackness does not refer to skin color, but is rather a construct that designates a common identity and mutual solidarity based on shared experiences of →racism and colonialism. It denotes a structurally disadvantaged position within racist →power structures. In order to emphasize the self-naming and self-defining nature of Black identity, the term is capitalized as a proper noun.

Read more:

Selbstbestimmtes Ausgehen (‘self-determined going-out’)

Selbstbestimmtes Ausgehen (literally »self-determined going-out«) is a term that generally refers to all persons affected by →discrimination, but applies particularly to people with disabilities, whose self-determination is often-limited or nonexistent. (Here, we define self-determination as people’s control over their own lives and choices.) The main issues here are barrier-free access or physical accessibility in →clubs as well as club operators’ actual or presumed liability and hazard prevention (ex. in terms of fire protection, safety measures, or necessary evacuations). Here, club operators or door staff often believe people with disabilities pose a higher security risk or need a higher level of support—and refuse access accordingly. The aim should be to make self-determined going out available to everyone, and to support and guarantee it on the basis of the →AGG.


Sensitization means creating awareness for persons, groups or topics. Example: The →club culture needs to be sensitized, or made more aware of, issues affecting →non-binary and →trans people. 


Sexism refers to various forms of →discrimination against people on the basis of their gender (actual or perceived). Sexism also refers to the ideology underneath this phenomenon, which establishes a hierarchy of gender roles: men are privileged, while women are devalued or discriminated against.

Sexism manifests in culturally- and historically-specific ways. Its effects are visible in the →marginalization of women, trans, non-binary and intersex people.

Sexualized Violence

Sexual(ized) violence includes all sexual acts that are forced or imposed on persons. It is an act of aggression and abuse of power, not the result of uncontrollable sexual urges. Sexual(ized) violence ranges from sexual harassment or rape of adult women and extends to sexual abuse of children. The term »sexualized« is intended to make clear that sexual acts are used to exert violence and power. Examples of sexualized violence include unwanted touching, sexual harassment, unwanted display and visible placement of pornographic images, verbal innuendo, up to and including sexual abuse, sexual assault, and rape. Likewise, unnecessary physical contact, unwanted sexualized remarks, and comments or jokes about employees’ appearance qualify as sexual harassment within the meaning of the →AGG. In contrast to harassment, the creation of a hostile environment is not a prerequisite.

Why sexualized, rather than sexual violence? Read more:’Sexualised’%20violence%2C%20and%20not,of%20power%2C%20control%20and%20oppression.

Sex Positivity

In our society, sex is fraught with many norms, regulations, and shame. It is often a taboo subject only discussed in private. By contrast, sex positivity is an attitude towards sex that prioritizes personal agency and preferences, minimizes moral judgment, and maximizes freedoms. The sex-positive movement is not necessarily about grand orgies or public sex. Rather, it holds that one’s body should be celebrated, in the way each person wants. The body-positivity aspect is thus an important part of sex-positivity. Some collectives and clubs also define their parties as sex-positive. Ideally, this gives people a →safer space and the »permission« to celebrate sexuality, nudity, and to indulge in sexual acts freely and publicly. These parties are often strictly curated at the door, and →consent is paramount. However, sex-positivity may mean something different to each person. For some, it is dancing naked at parties or sex in a →darkroom or dancefloor; for others it means speaking unashamedly about their own sex life, masturbation, or the desire for multiple sex partners without any emotional attachment.


Silencing is a practice of preventing someone from speaking up, reinforced by social power relations and thus also oppression. Silencing limits the voices of →marginalized people and people who draw attention to realities, violence, and discrimination,  often by denying an accusation’s legitimacy. This usually stems from a fear of damaged reputations. For example, DJs who are accused of sexual abuse may counter with claims that the accusations will harm their careers or reputations. The goal is to imply that the person perpetuating the harm is the person most affected by the situation—not the person who was harmed. Silencing tactics may include accusations like »You are hurting the community.«


Slut-shaming describes when a person is shamed by others for being too sexually provocative or permissive, or is perceived as having no control over their own sexual behavior and not expressing their sexuality as expected in patriarchal society. Putting all negative meanings of the word aside, a »slut« is simply a person, often a woman, who has/had sex with multiple partners. The term is used to control and limit female sexuality and to de-normalize high levels of sexual activity among women.

Social Justice

Social justice is a term from the USA that is used untranslated in German (it does not equate neatly with »Sozialer Gerechtigkeit«). The term Social Justice rather represents the demand for, and support of, equitable justice. Social justice sees multiple forms of oppression and discrimination not as distinct forces, but as one interwoven system of structural power relations.


To show solidarity (German: Solidarisierung, literally »to solidarize«) means to join forces with people or groups with similar interests and goals and to help each other.


SWERF stands for Sex Work Exclusionary Radical Feminist. Hostility towards sex workers often goes hand in hand with →transphobia, especially in feminist movements.


We refer to spiking when legalized or illegalized substances are administered to victims unknowingly or without their consent. A distinction can be made between drink spiking and needle spiking. In drink spiking, a perpetrator puts substances into the victim’s drink unnoticed. These can be (additional) alcohol in an alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink or prescription or illegalized substances. These are often referred to as knockout drops.
In needle spiking, a substance is injected into the victim involuntarily. In drink spiking, the motivation in most cases is control. Sexual abuse or robbery is the intent. That is why mostly sedative substances are used in this case.  Spiking is generally a criminal offense under §223 StGB bodily harm.
lubricant spiking: a substance is mixed with water-based lubricant in lubricant applicators or syringes before applicated before or during sex

Victim-Offender Reversal (Täter:in-Opfer-Umkehr)

Victim-offender reversal, also known as »victim blaming,« describes a process in which the responsibility and blame for a (criminal) act is attributed to the victim or affected person. In this case, victims do not receive understanding, support, validation or comfort. Rather, the responsibility and blame is shifted to the victim, and the perpetrator is absolved. This form of defence or justification also exists in the case of racist (criminal) acts. Victim-offender reversal is thus used, for example, to justify →racism and racist acts against Black people. This dynamic may also be present when a person speaks up about discriminatory treatment: the affected person may be attacked or accused of being (partly) to blame for the situation. Generally, victims or affected persons may be blamed if the perceived injustice is so unbearable that only an offender-victim reversal can restore justice.


The abbreviation TERF stands for »Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminism«. As the name implies, TERFs are radical feminists who exclude trans and non-binary people (→transmisogyny). They not only refuse to be politically active alongside trans and non-binary people, but also deny trans identity and existence. This is because they take the position that there are only two genders →cis female and cis male. TERF is not used as a self-designation. People referred to as TERFs often perceive it as a misogynistic insult.

They/ Them

They/them are English gender-neutral pronouns. A person’s preference for these pronouns is not synonymous with being →non-binary. The pronouns used to address a person say nothing about how the person actually defines him or herself. Names and pronouns are usually shared publicly because they are part of the language commonly used to refer to people. Identities, however, tend to be private. An example of use: »They are a Berlin based DJ and producer.« The pronoun here refers to a single person, but the verbs are always conjugated in the plural.


Tokenism is derived from the word »token«: a »symbolic gesture«. »Token« individuals may only occupy symbolic positions in companies or at events. Tokenism is less about the individual or the abilities of an individual, but rather about individuals being reduced to representing a category. They may be used as “figureheads« (as »token Black person« , »token woman«). Tokenism does not actually further the socio-political equality of the corresponding disadvantaged groups, but rather keeps discrimination mechanisms in place by concealing them, and deflects possible criticism of discriminatory structures in the company or collective. To the outside world, the impression of »fairness« and »equal opportunities« is created, so token individuals tend to serve as a »showcase« of diversity and have little chance of advancement. The individual’s struggles are only used to polish the image of the organization. Tokenism can affect all groups that are →marginalized by society.

Tone Policing

Tone Policing is a personal attack, anti-debate tactic, or distraction strategy based on criticizing a person for expressing emotion. Tone policing distracts from the validity, logic, and strength of a statement by attacking the tone of voice rather than the argument itself. For example, the image of the »angry Black woman« is a harmful stereotype that perpetuates →racism against women of color, and reinforces a stereotype of Black women as aggressive, hostile, or threatening.


Trans (Latin: ‘beyond,’ ‘across’) 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(gender). Trans or transgender persons may identify as either a binary trans man/trans woman or as →non-binary, →agender, genderqueer, →queer, genderfluid, bigender, androgynous, or other identities. Not all trans people choose to have surgery or take hormones; some do.


Transphobia* and cissexism refer to discrimination against →trans people. This may be expressed through rejection, exclusion, anger, intolerance, prejudice, discomfort, or physical or psychological violence toward people who are, or are perceived to be, trans. Cissexism is the belief that that there are two defined, unchangeable genders, and that only cisgender identities are normal or right. In contrast to transphobia, cissexism also emphasizes how the binary gender system is deeply rooted in social structures, and also violently enforced. Cissexist thinking may not consider that trans people exist. An example of cissexism is the statement, »I date only women and trans men,« which frames one’s sexuality off of the gender/sex identity (forcibly) assigned at birth, rather than that person’s actual identity.

*The German term Transfeindlichkeit (trans-hostility) is seen as more accurate than Transphobie as -phobia means fear, and in most cases discrimination is based on hatred and rejection, not fear.


Transmisogyny is →transphobia/hostility specifically directed against →trans women. This can manifest in, for example, →TERFs excluding trans women from feminist spaces or women-centered offers such as night-taxi services (even though trans women are also at risk at night), or expecting trans women to dress and behave in particular ways not demanded of →cis women. For example, a trans woman may not be accepted or seen as female (even in feminist or queer circles) when she wears sweatpants, short hair, no makeup, or chooses not to shave her legs—while this same behavior may be acceptable for cis women.


A person can be triggered when confronted with a situation that brings up negative feelings or memories. Advisories in the form of »trigger warnings« may be given so that people who have experienced life-threatening or traumatizing situations can choose to avoid an unwanted reminder of the situation.

Türpolitik (»door policy«)

In many Berlin clubs, entry is regulated by the organizer or operator’s door policy (Türpolitik). These pre-determined selection criteria are used to decide which potential guests are granted or denied entry. This form of curating and organizing an event’s crowd might be used to protect spaces from intruders, regulate the number of people, create a free space for a specific community at a party, or achieve a more balanced gender ratio. In order to enable a specific atmosphere or mix in a club, people are sometimes also turned away based on other criteria, which can often be quite arbitrary. Here, it is important to prevent →discrimination and to ensure that people are not selected or excluded on the basis of protected characteristics. For example, →racism at club doors is a very common problem. Exclusion based on other characteristics (appearance, age, origin, class, perceived disability, gender and/or sexual orientation) can also lead to illegal discrimination. Türpolitik falls under the →Hausrecht (»house rules«) of a club. It can also come into tension with the →AGG (General Equal Treatment Act). The AGG legally supersedes Hausrecht.

Oppression (Unterdrückung)

Oppression refers to a process in which a person or entire social group is burdened by unjust restraints or limitations. Oppression often results from violence, abuse of power, and arbitrariness, but it can take root as systematic oppression. Oppression arises from a general, even unconscious, assumption that a particular group of people is inferior or without rights. Individuals can fall victim to oppression if they lack the →solidarity of a social group.


Voguing is a highly stylized form of dance originally created by Black and Latino queer and trans communities in New York City’s ballroom scene in the 1970s. The dance is considered very expressive and physical and is characterized primarily by typically strict linear and right-angled arm and leg movements to form poses and postures. Voguing is a form of self-expression and →empowerment for →queer communities, often used to express freedom, acceptance beyond social rules, diversity, and individuality. However, due to the hype and commercialization of voguing, it also has a significant history of →cultural appropriation.

Prejudice (Vorurteil)

Whiteness is a social position associated with unexamined privilege. Here, as with →BIPoC, it does not connote only skin color, but rather power relations that always confer an advantage to white people over BIPoC. For example, white people often have better access to the labor and housing market, health care system, and social participation than BIPoC. Being white is often taken for granted as a norm or default position, in which whiteness is not pointed out or remarked upon, even while other identities are. In text, white is often styled in lowercase (and in German, sometimes in italics) to indicate this unjustified use of power.

White Space

There are two different types of white spaces. White space might connote spaces made up of mostly white people. These spaces are created through both blatant and subtle mechanisms of social exclusion that are mostly historically- and structurally-determined. In such white spaces, white people are rarely confronted with »race-based stress« and thus do not have to deal with →racism and their own →privileges. Because white people so seldom encounter »race-based stress,« they perceive any confrontation with issues of racism and privilege as extreme stress. →BIPoC are not expected to be in such white places. Hence, they stand out in these spaces, are exposed to racism, and feel discriminated against as well as uncomfortable. 

Racism in white-dominated queer scenes:

White space can also have a completely different second meaning. Spaces or workshops on critical whiteness (sometimes named race-based »affinity« groups) can provide space for white people to learn and practice anti-racism. Here, efforts are made to recognize and reflect on one’s own privilege, to unlearn learned racism, and to understand how each person experiences and enacts their own privilege. It is important to note that in these spaces, BIPoC are not expected to do emotional labor or educate white people. Rather, white people learn together with existing resources.

White Fragility

White fragility refers to feelings of discomfort or defensiveness experienced by white people when taking part in discussions about racial inequality or injustice. White fragility can be understood as not only a defense mechanism, but also as a means of reinforcing white supremacy. When white people react to discussions about racism with anger, fear, guilt, argumentative behavior, silence, or even leaving the situation altogether, these behaviors prevent →BIPoC from trying to talk to them about racism.


Xenophobia is an attitude that aggressively rejects people from another country or culture, particularly based upon social, religious, economic, cultural or linguistic differences. These differences are seen as a threat. Xenophobia is often a manifestation of nationalism, →racism or regionalism. It leads to unequal treatment and discrimination against foreigners in society.