Equality, Diversity & Inclusion – glossary of terms

Publication date:
15 February 2022
Date range:
February 2022 onwards

Glossary of terms


Discrimination or unfair treatment based on a person's age.


An ally is someone who actively promotes the culture of inclusion. An ally, regardless of their own ethnicity, sexuality, religion or ability recognises that they can and want to make a concerted effort to understand the obstacles marginalised groups face.


Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jewish people, which may be expressed as hatred towards Jewish people. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.


Asexuality is the lack of sexual attraction to others, or low or absent interest in or desire for sexual activity. It may be considered a sexual orientation or the lack thereof. It may also be categorized more widely to include a broad spectrum of asexual sub-identities. Sometimes asexual people will feel ashamed talking about their sexuality in these terms as there is societal pressure to be sexually active especially as a young adult.

Assigned Female at Birth (AFAB)

When a person's gender identity is different from the female sex they were assigned at birth, for example, they might share that they were AFAB.

Assigned Male at Birth (AMAB)

When a person's gender identity is different from the male sex they were assigned at birth, for example, they might share that they were AMAB.

Autistic Spectrum disorder (ASD)

A condition that affects social interaction, communication, interests and behaviour. In children with ASD, the symptoms are present before three years of age, although a diagnosis can sometimes be made after the age of three. An example would be Asperger’s Syndrome.


Something believed or accepted as true, especially a particular ideology or a body of principles accepted by a group of persons.


Romantic attraction, sexual attraction, or sexual behaviour toward both males and females, or to more than one sex or gender. It may also be defined as romantic or sexual attraction to people of any sex or gender identity, which is also known as pansexuality.

Black Asian & Minority Ethnic (BAME)

This is a term applied to individuals or communities who are Black or are from an Asian or minority ethnic culture or racial group. Asylum seekers and refugees are sometimes included in this category although this is not always accurate as it often depends how a person self-identifies. Migrants and Economic Migrants are also sometimes included within this category.


A person may be born without sight or lose their vision over a period of time or following an incident. Legally blind indicates that a person has less than 20/20 vision in the better eye after best correction (contact lenses or glasses), or a field of vision of less than 20 degrees in the better eye. See also visual impairment.

British Sign Language (BSL)

The language of signs and gestures used by Deaf people.


Denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex. Non trans is also used by some people.


Classism is differential treatment based on social class or perceived social class. Classism is the systematic oppression of subordinated class groups to advantage and strengthen the dominant class groups.


This term can be applied to the population of Kent and Medway (or any town, city, county or country). It can also be applied to a specific community which people identify themselves with such as the Asian community.

Communities of interest

This term is applied to communities which have a particular interest in a subject. An example would be all the communities identified under the ‘equalities’ definition below would be ‘interested’ in the equalities work of KMPT.

Community Sector

This term is applied to workers, projects and groups which work with communities or communities of interest. They are typically voluntary but can be indirectly employed by statutory bodies.

Deaf people

People born without hearing or who have lost part or all of their hearing. Deaf people may also prefer the term ‘hearing impairment’.

Deaf/Blind people

People who born without hearing or sight or have lost part or all of their hearing and all or part of their sight.

The Deaf Community/Deaf Culture

Some people who have lost all or part of their hearing feel that there is a difference in human experience rather than referring deafness as a disability.


An inability to feel sexual attraction without an emotional or familiar bond. The best way to conceptualise this would be to consider it as between sexual and asexual (hence “demi”). some people put hetero or homo as a prefix in front of it in the definition EG: hetero-demisexual/homo-demisexual.


This definition of disability is explained in terms of barriers some people experience which are created by social or organisational barriers.
Barriers can be:

  • Prejudice and stereotypes
  • Inflexible organisational procedures and practices
  • Inaccessible information
  • Inaccessible buildings

(dis)Ability Forum

See Staff Forums.


Prejudice, stereotyping, or "institutional discrimination" against disabled people.


This term is applied when any of the people or communities described under the ‘equalities’ definition below are seen to have been directly or indirectly disadvantaged by individuals or organisations.

Direct Discrimination

Direct discrimination occurs where someone is denied an opportunity, or offered special treatment because, for example, they are a woman, or they are white, or they are disabled.

Indirect Discrimination

Indirect or “institutional” discrimination occurs where policies, practices and procedures tend to lead a particular group of people to be either at a disadvantage or an advantage.

Discrimination by association

Discrimination by association is where a person may be discriminated against because of their association with another person.

Discrimination by perception

When a person is perceived to be of a particular characteristic and is treated less favourably.


This term is applied when a country, county, town, society, organization or even a team is seen to have a range of different groups (as defined under the ‘equalities’ definition below) within it.


This is a term applied to a range of issues where individuals or communities are seen to have less equal access to aspects of life taken for granted by other people. 

Equality Impact Assessments (EIA)

EIAs help us improve our work and see what effect, or likely effect, it will have on different groups in the community. EIAs also help us to comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty.

Equality Analysis

Equality analysis is a way of considering the effect on different groups protected from discrimination by the Equality Act, such as people of different ages.


An umbrella term for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual people. Refers to a person whose primary sexual attraction is to people of the same sex. The term is more commonly applied to men who self-identify as same sex attracted, rather than men who have sex with men but do not self-identify as Gay. While many women identify as Gay, the term Lesbian is commonly used to describe same sex attracted women. It is best to avoid using this word to cover all LGB people as it can lead to the exclusion of lesbians and bisexual people.


Gender is the term that refers to the social roles and relationships that structure men’s and women’s lives, in contrast to the term ‘sex’ which is used to describe the biological differences between men and women.

Gender identity

A person’s sense of identity defined in relation to the categories of male and female. In this glossary, the term is primarily used to describe people whose gender identity does not match their biological sex at birth. However, it is important to note that not everyone identifies exclusively with one sex or the other. Some may well identify as both male and female, while others may identify as male in one setting and female in another.


Genderqueer is a spectrum of gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine‍—‌identities that are outside the gender binary. Non-binary identities can fall under the transgender umbrella, since many non-binary people identify with a gender that is different from their assigned sex. See also non-binary.

Gender Reassignment

The process of transitioning from one gender to another.

Hearing Impairment

Hearing Impairment is a partial or total inability to hear. A deaf person has little to no hearing. Hearing loss may occur in one or both ears.

Human Rights Act

The Human Rights Act 1998 gives legal effect in the UK to the fundamental rights and freedoms contained in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). These rights not only affect matters of life and death like freedom from torture and killing but also affect your rights in everyday life: what you can say and do; your beliefs, your right to a fair trial and many other similar basic entitlements.


An irrational fear and/or dislike of lesbian, gay and bisexual people, which can lead to hatred resulting in verbal and physical attacks.


Considered by some in the LGB community to be a derogatory and offensive term. It originates from a medical definition when same-sex attraction/relationships were construed as mental illness.

Impact Assessments

See Equalities Impact Assessments definition above.


Inclusion requires effort to be achieved. It is about an individual’s experience and the extent to which they feel valued and included.


This term is applied when any of the people or communities described under the ‘equalities’ definition above are not seen to be having their needs met.


Professionals who can translate one language into another verbally or using British Sign Language.


A term used to describe a person who may have the biological attributes of both sexes or whose biological attributes do not fit with societal assumptions about what constitutes male or female. Intersex people may identify as male, female or non-binary.


A woman whose primary sexual attraction is to other women. This term often refers to women who are same sex attracted rather than women who have sex with other women but do not self-identify as lesbian.

Limiting Long Term Illness (LLTI)

Term used for a disability that restricts daily activities in the Census 2011.

LGBT Forum

See Staff Forum.


LGBTQ+ Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Trans and Queer or questioning the plus symbol stands for all the other identities that is not covered by the first 5 letters e.g. pansexual and Asexual.

Learning Disability

This term is applied to a range of conditions where a person has usually been born with difficulties which stop them developing learning skills at the same rate as others. For example: Down’s Syndrome.

Mental Health

This term is applied to a range of conditions where a person is suffering from an emotional or brain function disorder such as depression, schizophrenia etc.


Non-binary is a spectrum of gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine‍—‌identities that are outside the gender binary. Non-binary identities can fall under the transgender umbrella, since many non-binary people identify with a gender that is different from their assigned sex. See also Genderqueer.


Pansexual is attraction formed outside of gender, but some Pan people call themselves Bisexual for ease.

Person of Colour

A broad term often used to describe people who are not white. Whilst those who use the term are not being disrespectful the problem is putting all non-white people in one category and assuming that is fine. This can be very offensive and it is best not to use this term.

Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED)

The PSED is a duty on public bodies and others carrying out public functions. It ensures that public bodies consider the needs of all individuals in their day to day work – in shaping policy, in delivering services, and in relation to their own employees.


While it may be our habit to refer to everyone as “he” or “she” based on appearances, we recognise that gender is a spectrum and we shouldn’t assume a person’s gender or a person’s pronouns based on appearances.

Protected Characteristic

The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful to discriminate against people with a ‘protected characteristic’ (previously known as equality strands / grounds). The protected characteristics are: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.


Questioning is a term that can refer to a person who is questioning their gender, sexual identity or sexual orientation.


One of the main groups to which people are often considered to belong, based on physical characteristics that they are perceived to share such as skin colour, etc.


Harmful or unfair things that people say, do, or think based on the belief that their own race makes them more intelligent, good, moral, etc. than people of other races. Policies, behaviours, rules, etc. that result in a continued unfair advantage to some people and unfair or harmful treatment of others based on race.


A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader.

Refugee and asylum seeker

An asylum seeker is an individual who arrives in a new country and makes an asylum application. The Government then decides if their claim satisfies the definition of a refugee. Under the UN Convention on Refugees a refugee is termed as someone who has fled their country due to ‘a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.’

Service User

A person who has, or is, using KMPT services.


Assigned to a person on the basis of primary sex characteristics (genitalia) and reproductive functions. Sometimes the terms ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ are interchanged to mean ‘male’ or ‘female’.


Sexism is prejudice or discrimination based on a person's sex or gender.

Sexual Orientation

An enduring pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to persons of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or to either sexes or more than one gender.

Staff Forums

Forums allow staff to build up a support network and helpful resources and they also enable KMPT to seek the views of staff in new projects and policies and ensures that staff have the opportunity to be involved in their development.

Staff Networks

See Staff Forums.

Third party harassment

Harassment of an employee related to a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010 (other than marriage and civil partnership, and pregnancy and maternity) by third parties, for example clients or customers.


An umbrella term to describe people whose gender is not the same as, or does not sit comfortably with, the sex they were assigned at birth.
Trans people may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms, including (but not limited to) transgender, transsexual, gender-queer (GQ), gender-fluid, non-binary, gender-variant, crossdresser, genderless, agender, nongender, third gender, bi-gender, trans man, trans woman, trans masculine, trans feminine and neutrois.


The steps a trans person may take to live in the gender with which they identify. Each person’s transition will involve different things. For some this involves medical intervention, such as hormone therapy and surgeries, but not all trans people want or are able to have this. Transitioning also might involve things such as telling friends and family, dressing differently and changing official documents.


An irrational fear and dislike of Transgender people, which can lead to hatred resulting in verbal or physical attacks and abuse.


This was used in the past as a more medical term (similarly to homosexual) to refer to someone whose gender is not the same as, or does not sit comfortably with, the sex they were assigned at birth. This term is still used by some although many people prefer the term trans or transgender and may consider this a derogatory term.


Treats someone less favourably because they have taken action, given evidence or alleged discrimination.

Visual Impairment

Visual Impairment is also known as vision impairment or vision loss, is a decreased ability to see to a degree that causes problems not fixable by usual means, such as glasses. Some people born without sight or lose it over a period of time or following an incident. Some also include those who have a decreased ability to see because they do not have access to glasses or contact lenses.

White Privilege

Is the privilege of not having to think about your skin colour in everyday life. It is being able to move through life without being racially profiled or unfairly stereotyped.