Inclusion & Language

At TBA we want people to feel as safe and included as possible, so we thought we’d briefly explain the collective terms and language we use, why we use it and who does it include. We know that we don’t always get it right and are very much open to learning and happy to discuss new terms and meanings and trends to ensure we’re fully up to date and inclusive.

We want to write about this as we recognise language is very personal and doesn’t always fit everyone in the same way or feel right or even safe for everyone, but we understand that in order to communicate effectively we need to find a compromise. We apologise if you don’t use this language yourself or if you feel this doesn’t fully include or reflect your experience or identity.

Another reason for this page is because a number of times we have been asked if someone is trans/disabled/masculine/POC etc enough. We work on a principle of self definition and self selection and believe all the identity terms used are based on this. If you feel this is your experience, then you’re welcome. We wouldn’t expect to see evidence or justification for people to use these terms for themselves, for example, if someone identifies as disabled, we wouldn’t ask for a diagnosis or supporting evidence from a medical professional. When referring to an individual then we will of course use the language that you prefer.

Trans

We use the term trans as an inclusive term for anyone who self defines as not identifying in some way with the sex they were assigned at birth. This could range from someone who transitions to a different gender to someone who doesn’t conform to gender stereotypes and anything else around that. It can be based on gender identity and/or gender expression. We understand that not all people with these experiences may identify as trans, but may have similar experiences and that some may feel they aren’t trans, but may have a trans history, rather than a trans identity.

We also recognise that this term is a western term and that many people may have similar experiences around their gender identity, but may not identify with or use this western language and may use other terms such as, (but not limited to), two spirit, travesti, fa’afafine, tumtum, hijra, boi, masculine of centre (MoC) etc.

Trans Masculine/Trans Masc.

Some of our events are only open to specific groups of people. Due to the history of our organisation and the need we were set up for, the majority of our retreats are currently geared towards trans masculine people. By this we mean anyone who identifies as trans or has a trans history who was assigned female at birth.

People of Colour/Person of Colour

We use the term POC rather than others, such as BAME or ethnic minorities, as it is a term that has come from these communities, created by them, for them, rather than being imposed upon them, often with negative connotations. We use it to include anyone who is not white and to include people of mixed heritage and lighter skinned people.

We recognise this is a hugely diverse group of people and that individuals’ experiences and backgrounds may be very different to each other. We use this term to recognise common experiences of racism affecting people of colour.

Accessibility

When we say that an event is accessible, we try to explain exactly what we mean by this for each event, so you don’t have to guess. We do have an accessibility checklist that we use, which is always evolving, as a minimum for each venue. When we talk about accessibility, we don’t just mean that it has a ramp access, but we also consider many other aspects including acoustics, lighting, space for maneuverability, wheelchair accessible bedrooms, beds, toilets and showers, whether bedding is provided, quiet spaces, access via public transport, venue costs etc.

Disabled People

We follow the social model of disability, meaning that society is what disables a person, rather than their ability and diversity, and that a person may be disabled in some circumstances, but not in others and may or may not define themselves as disabled as a constant or at all. We therefore use the term disabled people to acknowledge this.

Cultural Appropriation

"A common practice of racism is cultural appropriation, when someone adopts an aspect or marker of a culture that is not their own, namely a dominant culture (e.g. White British) stealing something from a culture that is systematically oppressed (e.g. Black African). This can be obvious like blackface or dreadlocks on a white person, or more subtle like using racial slurs or wearing cultural clothes or accessories, or adopting indigenous identities which are not from your own culture." (taken from Inclusivity: Supporting BAME Trans People by Sabah Choudrey)

We reference this in our Code of Conduct and are highlighting it here as it can be a complex topic, for example, how do we know someone’s cultural background, and therefore what may or may not be appropriation, just by looking at them? We feel it’s really important that we create a space where people of colour feel safe, included and comfortable at our events and aim to support people and call out racism in all it’s forms.

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