GIRLS ROCK DENVER 2020 VOLUNTEER HANDBOOK
GIRLS ROCK DENVER
2020 VIRTUAL VOLUNTEER GUIDE
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CAMP 2020 DETAILS
OUR MISSION IS TO...
DIVERSITY, EQUITY & INCLUSION (UPDATED!)
GENERAL “GOOD TO KNOW” INFO FOR 2020
GRD ON MIGHTY NETWORKS
ABOUT PAST CAMPS
CAMP PHILOSOPHIES, NORMS & EXPECTATIONS
WHAT WE EXPECT OF VOLUNTEERS AT CAMP
VOLUNTEER CODE OF CONDUCT (UPDATED!!)
SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY (NEW!!)
CONSENT & HARASSMENT
ABOUT OUR ROCKERS
DEVELOPMENTAL STAGES OF CAMPERS
MIDDLE CHILDHOOD (AGES 6-8)
PREADOLESCENCE (AGES 9-11)
EARLY ADOLESCENCE (12-14)
MIDDLE ADOLESCENCE (15-18)
VOLUNTEER RESPONSIBILITIES BY POSITION
SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS GLOSSARY (UPDATED!!)
Girls Rock Denver Camp —
WEEK 1: July 6-10 (M-F)
WEEK 2: July 13-17 (M-F)
We’re hosting camp remotely through a combination awesome tools:
Not an expert? Not a problem! Our 2020 volunteer training checklist will help you get comfortable and in the Girls Rock Denver spirit, we just gotta jump in, try and make the best of it!
Be sure to complete the tech needs form, too so if you need equipment, we can get it to you!
GRD Co-Director & Resident Virgo
& PA Team Lead:
GRD Co-Director & Budgetarian:
GRD Co-Director & Herstorian:
Camp Programming Director (workshops and bands)
Master of Ceremonies &
Energizer Team Lead
970 214 2185
Camper Caregiver Liaison
Camp Operations Director & Band Manager Team Lead
Adonia Arteaga firstname.lastname@example.org 720 460 7313
Gear & Equipment Director & Gear Team Lead
& Roadie Team Lead
Director of Volunteers
& Team Lead Lead
615 479 7730
Shutterbug Team Lead
& Pre-Camp Volunteer Coordinator
510 759 4998
Mental Health Squad Lead:
IT Support Team Lead:
Recording Eng. Team Lead:
Band Coach Lead:
Hype Crew Team Lead
Jen McFarlin Herdsofwerds@gmail.com
Send photos/videos/ to email@example.com
Empower our campers through music education, creation, performance and community.
Girls Rock Denver seeks to empower our campers by putting instruments in their hands and unveiling what they already possess in their feet, fingertips, vocal cords, hearts, and minds.
Girls Rock Denver does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, national and/or ethnic origin, marital status, sexual orientation, mental or physical ability, or gender identity or expression in the administration of any of our educational programs, admissions policies, scholarships, or other Camp-related policies and programs, including volunteer policies and activities.
Girls Rock Denver welcomes campers who self-identify as girls, trans, gender expansive, or as gender minorities. Girls Rock Denver also welcomes individuals who self-identify as women/girls and gender minorities to apply for leadership volunteer positions at camp. Non-leadership volunteer roles are open to individuals who self-identify as male. For more information, see the job descriptions for volunteer positions.
We recognize that diversity and inclusion do not mean equitable, and working to create equity among our campers and volunteers, at organizational and individual levels. Just as we aim to dismantle (and outright smash the patriarchy), we recognize we have other systemic structures to address. We know we are not, and will not be, perfect, AND we are investing efforts to achieve equity. We strive to face issues of race, gender, queerness and economic oppression with care, respect and a solution-oriented approach. These beliefs are core to what we embody at Girls Rock Denver, and the safe space we provide to our campers and volunteers. We fully expect our privileged volunteers to be doing the hard work of educating themselves and one another, and listen to, amplify and support BIPOC leadership and voices.
We recognize our volunteer base actively participates in intersectional social justice, and at this time you may be prioritizing your attention on the present. We urge you to do so.
Black Lives Matter.
Our country was built through centuries of slavery and oppression, and rather than coming to an end, they have just taken new forms within the systems that we recognize as foundational to our society. It is the work of all humans to collaborate to dismantle all systems of oppression, internally and externally, and to seek intersectionality within our activism.
Although it may seem like our focus is on gender, sexuality, and identity, we are committed to the fight against racism in all its forms.
The opposite of being racist is not abstinence; it instead is active anti-racist action. Girls Rock Denver is a place for conversations about racism, ableism, sexism, ageism, classism, homophobia, and colonialism because we are actively working towards dismantling those systems that bring violence to anyone.
All volunteers can expect to participate in training and conversations on Inclusivity and Anti-Racism. Furthermore, we recognize our privilege and openly acknowledge a need for greater numbers of BIPOC voices and hands on our leadership and volunteer teams.
At Girls Rock Denver, we work to cultivate our campers’ ability to express themselves, to support and shape their communities; we merely amplify them.
We are committed to anti-racist work, to acknowledging where it intersects with our work of empowering girls and gender-expansive youth. We are here to acknowledge inequity in all its forms, and to respond with hope, solidarity, and action.
A special note to male allies: Girls Rock Denver is primarily led by and for women, girls and gender expansive folks. We also value diversity, inclusion, and sensitivity towards all individuals, regardless of gender identity or expression. The organization welcomes the support of male allies, and expects allies who would like to volunteer to respect the importance of leadership by women and gender expansive folks.
A note on language: At Girls Rock Denver, we believe that “girl” means many things and can be a complicated term. We recognize that the term “girl” does not automatically include all aspects of the gender spectrum welcome at camp. We also acknowledge that we do not yet live in a “post-gender” world and maintain the value in creating safe spaces of expression and growth for girls, trans and gender-expansive individuals.
Rock is a verb in our context -- Girls ROCK Denver, you ROCK, I ROCK…we recognize it as an action!
Our instrument instructors are local musicians. So are our band coaches and they understand the process of creating music and performance. Our band managers are great at coaching through collaboration and constructive creation. Our workshop and assembly facilitators challenge our campers with new information, group work, community-building, self-empowerment, and constructive problem-solving in a hands-on, interactive manner. Our dedicated base of support volunteers understand that campers and their experiences come first. We support, accept, and hold up one another to celebrate and empower each other.
Everyone at Rock Camp belongs at Rock Camp.
Girls Rock Denver is a nonprofit organization entirely funded by individual donations. Donations support our camp operations, provide financial aid to any camper who needs it in order to attend our camp, and fund equipment maintenance/purchases. We are part of the Colorado Nonprofit Development Center (CNDC), so donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. We are 100% operated by volunteers, including local musicians, devoted fans, and community leaders, parents, and change makers.
In 2020, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we waived tuition for all our camper applicants to alleviate any hardship and instead asked them for a suggested donation of $50 to put toward our camp technology fees. No camper was turned away.
Planning for camp is underway and we have a lot to do before our campers first day! We need in-real-life help kitting instruments, vital supplies, totes and t-shirts; and virtual help setting up the digital space our campers will interact within and experience GRD 2020.
July 5: We need help kitting and checking out gear to our campers and caregivers, and will need help delivering gear to those who do not have transportation. If you are available to help with moving gear and equipment from our storage unit (Broadway & Mexico in Denver), or to help set up the digital/virtual camp space, let us know and we’ll put you on our communication list to coordinate with you. We anticipate taking precautions through social distancing and mask wearing and instructing our campers and caregivers to do the same, staggering their pickup times.
Rock Camp kicks off Monday, July 6 at 1 p.m. where campers are given a Girls Rock Denver welcome and tour of the virtual space. We create a shared set of goals, values and guidelines for the week, and provide key volunteer introductions and an agenda for the day. Each day will have time for instrument instruction, band practice, workshops, and fun! The schedule will have links in each box so campers know where they need to be logged into. We will also make sure that volunteers know where they need to be! Please note that this schedule is still in transition as we create a GRD digitally.
Here’s a glimpse of what we’ve got (loosely) scheduled for 7/6-7/10:
Game & Daily Schedule
Logo design & daily schedule
Game & Daily Schedule
1st Band practice!
Band Practice &
Audio recording info/video recording info
Band Reveals & Prep for Tomorrow
Daily wrap up, Performance or Playlist, Listening party
Band Game & Daily Schedule
Band Practice & Song Recording
Video work/band time
Week ahead Band practice & song recording
Song recording wrap up
Video work/band time
Wrap ups, Performance or Playlist
Saturday 7/18 - 6 p.m. - Video Watch party !
Camp will be held on Girls Rock Denver’s Mighty Network platform.
You’ll need to join the space by creating an account, clicking that link above.
Mighty Networks is a secure site that’s a little like Facebook, but is more awesome. This network is new to all of us and we’re learning as we go! If you have Mighty Networks experience, please teach us!
Girls Rock Denver formed in 2007 and we held our first summer camp in 2009 with 25 campers and a handful of dedicated volunteers. Our first few years, camp was held at the First Unitarian Society of Denver. We’ve grown every year since, and have moved into Denver Public Schools to host our camps.
In 2019 we were also able to pilot an after school program at Ricardo Flores Magon Academy at no cost to participants thanks to a grant from Denver Arts and Venues. That grant allowed us to pay our instructors and after school program staff stipends for the first time ever.
As we look to the future, we hope to bring the stipend program back to our camp, but this is contingent upon funding coming in, and the development of a sustainable budget. It’s important to us to make our volunteering experience accessible and recognize this is an area in which we need to improve and are actively working on this with our fiscal sponsor, CNDC.
As instructors, facilitators, coaches, mentors, leaders and role models, we:
Whenever a camper (or volunteer) expresses anxiety about their ability to do anything, tell them they rock. They’ll hear it enough over the next week that they’ll realize it’s true.
Complement the qualities.
Be mindful of the compliments you pay to campers and/or volunteers. Try to avoid ones that concern appearance. Women are judged by how they look enough. We want to focus on the qualities that will be more empowering to our community, such as creativity, problem solving, kindness, etc. What would you rather be noticed for — your good ideas or your shoes?
It’s about the camper.
Set any ego aside! It’s fine to say a few words about yourself at the start of camp (you play in a band, have been playing an instrument for X years, etc.), but try to get down to action as quickly as possible. If campers would like to know more about you, they’ll ask (go ahead and answer as long as the questions are appropriate). Camp week is short and we want to get everyone playing as soon as possible.
While you’re free to take breaks and hang back as needed, we love the atmosphere we create when our volunteers join in with our campers in activities, workshops and assemblies. We also love when you bring a fresh perspective to the session you’re in. We love learning new things, and we appreciate your contributions.
Gauge the experience, skill levels and development of campers as early as possible.
We get a wide range of skill levels. Campers are sensitive to being taught at a level that’s too “advanced” or “beginner” for them. Align with your co-volunteers on the best approaches to getting your campers to proficiency in a short amount of time, so they can confidently rock with their band.
Make everything as interactive as possible.
Workshops, assemblies, and instrument instruction should involve hands-on experience. During talking parts, ask questions, get opinions, involve them in what’s being taught. This is rock camp, not a powerpoint convention (yes, even when it’s online). For example, if you’re teaching a scale, make sure your campers have their instrument in hand, watch you demonstrate it, and then lead them through playing it themselves. Or if you’re leading a workshop on creating a DIY venue, challenge campers to think through some problems they might encounter and how they’d work through them rather than lecturing on the process. Lead them through the experience.
Whenever possible, work as a group to develop experiences and present material. With that said, don’t overlook the benefits of breaking into smaller groups and working through things with smaller groups of campers or one-on-one. Team teaching and co-facilitating makes the best use of different skills among our volunteers and makes us better role models for the campers.
Strike a balance between technique, freedom, practice and experimentation.
Each camper has a goal to learn their instrument well enough to feel confident at the showcase when they perform their song. Each band has a goal to be able to confidently play their song at the showcase. But, we’re also here to have fun and experiment, take risks and discover ourselves through musical freedom. Fun is better than perfection, but some structure is required to ensure a balance.
Set goals that can be achieved.
Give your campers tasks that can be achieved in a given day that roll up to achieving a goal for the end of the week. For example, for new bass students, instead of learning all the notes names, consider focusing on the first five frets. Maybe playing through these notes on the first day and mastering by the end of the week is enough. Maybe learning and playing through a verse of “I Love Rock n’ Roll” at a slow tempo is enough for one day with the goal of being able to play through the whole song by the end of the week. That way, at the end of each day, your campers can say, “I learned some notes on the bass!” And at the end of the week, they can say, “I can play a Joan Jett song!”
Skip theory, or, at least be realistic and mindful about what you attempt and how.
Theory is a great music tool, but with our limited time-frame, we need to encourage our campers to jump in and do it. You can borrow some techniques and disguise them as exercises, or with experienced campers, you can incorporate theory, but don’t overload them. Present it in a fun, non-jargony, interactive way and call it a week. If you decide to go the way of theory, introduce a MAXIMUM of 2-3 terms per day, depending on your campers’ ages and skill levels. If you’re covering more than that, you’re probably talking too much and not playing enough. This is a summer rock camp, not a conservatory.
Don’t present any technique as the “right way” to do it.
Instead, consider saying, “A lot of drummers find it easiest to do it like this…” or something along those lines. Acknowledge that campers are free to experiment and find their own way of doing it. This doesn’t detract from your expertise. If anything, it earns you greater appreciation for fostering their excitement of making music their own. This spirit of freedom shouldn’t be taken to the point of injury or detriment — if a camper wants to play in a way that’s likely to give them carpal tunnel, point it out and suggest an alternative route. But do give them the space to find their own way. And show them how to set up and care for their gear!
Establish and foster an environment that encourages campers to praise each other.
By offering praise and encouraging campers to recognize one another’s efforts, you provide support and make it possible for constructive criticism to be heard and appreciated. New campers and/or instrument beginners will appreciate praise. Returning campers and/or instrument intermediates and advanced players will appreciate notes on how to improve.
Use women/female/girl/nonbinary/trans examples and mix up musical genres as much as possible.
Take advantage of this great opportunity to expose campers and other volunteers to the great women musicians, pioneers, and rebels you know and love. It’s not “rock camp” in the sense of “rock n’ roll” as much as it’s the idea that “girls rock” — take the opportunities to acknowledge the great diversity of musical styles and genres played by women.
Avoid using “limiting language” and encourage dialog among campers.
Keep your examples broad and unassuming of campers’ identities and backgrounds. Keep your language open so everyone feels included. If you observe a camper making homophobic, racist, or otherwise unacceptable comments, don’t reprimand them; it will only shut them down. Instead, encourage a discussion about it and engage them in the process of determining why the comment is offensive or hurtful. When in doubt, discuss the situation with camp organizers.
Struggle is OK.
“All awkward moments are opportunities.” Not being sure of what to do and not instantly mastering something are important parts of experimentation. If a band or camper is struggling with playing a certain chord, or finding the note they want to play, let them search on their own. Intervene only when it seems like they are too frustrated to work it out on their own. And then, only suggest how they might find something on their own. Give them the chance to work it out!
Being out of tune is OK. Playing out of sync is OK.
If it sounds good to the band, it IS good. The bands have a lot to do all at once — learn their instruments, write a song, learn to play together. They may or may not care or be at the place yet to care about fine-tuning. Put your opinions on hold unless they are actively sought; if they are, help with goals that can easily be reached at the time and save comments for later in the week if appropriate. “Sports-casting” what you’re observing — giving non-judgmental feedback can be a good way to go.
Band members being drowned out and/or not listened to is NOT OK.
We have a responsibility to help band members make sure they can hear themselves and each other. Try asking everyone if they can all hear, and if there’s an issue, help them get a better sound balance. Suggest having a band meeting to act as moderator if necessary if the issue isn’t performance-related. More often than not, taking a break from playing gives band members the chance they need to express how they’re feeling about the sound, the song, the process, etc.
Putting your hands on an instrument during band practice is a last resort.
Campers are often very tempted to have you play their part, and you may be tempted to show how it can be done. But, not only is that unhelpful, it can seriously set back a band in the quest for its own sound. Instead, encourage the player to find their own way. Only if they absolutely can’t get their hands in the right position to make a chord, should you step in to demonstrate. If you end up wearing the guitar or bass, or are seated at the drums or keys, you’ve been playing too long! (In a virtual setting this means we’re not going on with too much demonstration but finding ways to balance campers’ hands-on, experimentation with their instrument with our formal instruction.
Photos and videos of campers should be limited and only posted with permission of the parents/guardians.
Campers’ parents and guardians may or may not have signed a waiver granting permission to the Girls Rock Denver organization and official photographers/videographers/AV team to use images, recordings, and/or video of their child; however, this waiver does not extend to individual volunteers. Not all campers will have a release. If you wish to post a video, photo, or other recording of a camper on your own social media, please get permission from the camper’s parent/guardian or camp leadership first.
Advocate for our campers.
As caretakers and leaders, we owe it to our campers to be people they can depend on. If you suspect a camper has been subjected to abuse or neglect by anyone, report it. You don’t have to have direct or physical evidence — suspecting is enough. Err on the side of protecting the camper. You can report to camp leadership who will escalate the issue to the proper authorities (county department of human services, law enforcement or the state child abuse hotline), or you can report it on your own. We’re not investigators, so there’s no need to confront or contact the abuser. We also have several volunteers on staff who receive professional training on mandatory reporting, so if you are interested in learning more, please let us know and we will connect you.
Don’t get hung up on a problem. Look for ways to offer a solution. Collaborate with your fellow volunteers (and campers!) and empower yourself and others to take action, follow-up, and create a better camp for everyone. We embrace that there is no such thing as perfection (and that perfection can waste time). We go with the flow, solving problems as we go in the most respectful, equitable, and compassionate way possible.
The lines between public, private, personal and professional are blurred in our world that’s so intertwined with social media. While you identify as a Girls Rock Denver volunteer, please recognize that you are a representative of our organization. This policy applies when you make a post to a social media platform related to Girls Rock Denver, engage in social media during camp hours or volunteer activities, use Girls Rock Denver equipment or resources when engaging in social media activities, or post in a manner that spotlights your affiliation with Girls Rock Denver (explicitly or implicitly), or interact with our campers on the Internet and on social media.
For the purposes of this policy, the phrase “social media” refers to the use of website, apps, or other electronic applications to connect with other people, including but not limited to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Discord, Mighty Networks, Zoom, YouTube, Soundtrap, as well as related web-based media such as blogs, wikis, and any other form of user-generated media or web-based discussion forums.
This policy is intended to supplement our other policies, rules and code of conduct. We require our volunteers comply with the following guidelines when participating in social media activities mandated by this policy:
Girls Rock Denver is devoted to preserving a camp environment free from sexual harassment. Sexual harassment consists of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or unwanted sexual attention by anyone. Harassment includes, but is not limited to: lewd comments, sexual depictions, repeated requests for dates, touching, staring, or other sexual conduct committed either on or off camp premises.
Victims of sexual harassment have the right to sue both GRD and the perpetrator by contacting the equal opportunity commision or a state agency. All GRD volunteers are responsible for helping ensure our camp is kept free from sexual harassment.
Harassment is in the eye of the beholder. If you feel you’re being harassed and feel safe doing so, tell the harasser the behavior is unwelcome. If you have witnessed sexual harassment, you are also urged to report the incident so that action may be taken.
All complaints will be treated seriously, kept as confidential as possible, and fully investigated. Girls Rock Denver expressly forbids any retaliation against volunteers for reporting sexual harassment. If, however, we find false charges have been brought, disciplinary action may be taken against anyone who provides false information. If an investigation conforms sexual harassment has occurred, immediate action will be taken to put an end to the harassment. GRD will take appropriate corrective actions against anyone found to be in violation of this policy, including being asked to leave the organization.
Girls Rock Denver supports the rights of all volunteers and rockers to enjoy an environment free from all forms of harassment, including harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, age, or disability. Harassing conduct includes, but is not limited to: epithets; negative stereotyping; slurs; threatening; intimidating or hostile acts that relate to the above characteristics; written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group because of the above characteristics and that is placed on walls, bulletin boards or elsewhere on the premises, or is circulated at camp or Girls Rock Denver spaces,including digital platforms.
In compliance with the EEOC Guidelines, and our policy, Girls Rock Denver prohibits harassment of any kind. If the result of an investigation indicates corrective action is called for, such action may include disciplinary measures up to, and including, the immediate dismissal of the offender.
GOOD TO KNOW
Stix — Campers ages 8-10
Pix — Campers ages 11-12
Mix — Campers ages 13-17
Be aware of the developmental stages of the campers you’ll interact with. The following was adapted from www.girlsinc.org.
Psychological and Social Development
Developmental Differences that Result from Socialization
Psychological and Social Development
Developmental Differences that Result from Socialization
Psychological and Social Development
Developmental Differences that Result from Socialization
Psychological and Social Development
Developmental Differences that Result from Socialization
ENERGIZER/ASSEMBLY LEADER/EMCEE (REMOTE)
WORKSHOP LEADER (REMOTE)
Develop and/or lead a 45-50 minute workshop to campers of varying ages, skills and interests. This year we are offering several tracks for our rockers to sign up for:
We ask that workshops take a hands-on, solutions-focused approach and include learning activities where our campers are actively problem-solving for issues. If your workshop is a lecture, we'll work with you to create something hands-on for learning creation. During camp, you'll coordinate with our Programming Manager and PAs. Will require prep work prior to camp week. Shifts available: 3-5pm
BAND MANAGER (REMOTE)
BAND COACH (REMOTE)
SHUTTERBUG - PHOTOGRAPHY, VIDEOGRAPHY, AND SCREEN CAPTURE (REMOTE)
I.T. SUPPORT (REMOTE)
RECORDING ENGINEER (REMOTE)
GEARHEADS (REMOTE + IRL)
MENTAL HEALTH SQUAD (REMOTE)
INSTRUMENT INSTRUCTORS (REMOTE)
HYPE CREW + STREET TEAM (REMOTE)
PRODUCTION ASSISTANTS (P.A.) (REMOTE)
CAMPER BOX ELVES (REMOTE + IRL)
DINNER BAND (REMOTE)
The following terms and definitions were adapted from “How to be a Good Ally and Create Safer Spaces in New Music” by Joel Zigman, Alex Temple, Alejandro t. Acierto, Meerani Shim and Matthew Evan Taylor (2016), the LGBTQIA Resource Center (2020), and BIPOC Project (2020).
ABLEISM: A system of oppression consisting of discrimination and prejudice against people with intellectual, emotional, and physical disabilities.
ALLY THEATER: When a person performs public displays of allyship — usually on social media — that are not backed up by other anti-oppression action and/or that are geared more towards making them look good rather than toward helping the marginalized group they are claiming to support. This term was coined on the blog “Black Girl Dangerous”.
BIPOC: Acronym that stands for “Black, Indigenous, People of Color” to unite all people of color, while intentionally acknowledging and undoing Native invisibility.
CISGENDER: A cisgender person is someone whose gender identity is the same as the sex they were assigned at birth. “Cis-” is a Latin prefix meaning “on the same side as”, and is therefore an antonym of “trans-” meaning “across”. Cisgender can be abbreviated as “cis”, just as “transgender” can be abbreviated as “trans”.
CLASS: Relative rank in terms of income, wealth, and education. Interchangeable with socio-economic status (often grouped into lower/middle/upper). Rough categories of class include: persistent poverty, working class, professional-middle class, owning class.
DECOLONIZATION: Reclaiming what was taken from native peoples and honoring what they still have.
GENDER IDENTITY: An internal, deeply held sense of one’s gender. People whose gender identity does not match the sex they were assigned at birth are referred to as “transgender”. Most people have a gender identity of “man” or “woman” (or “boy” or “girl”). Some, however, have a gender identity that does not fit neatly into either category. Unlike gender expression, gender identity is not visible to others.
GENDER EXPRESSION: External manifestations of gender, such as one’s name, pronouns, clothing, haircut, behavior, voice, or body characteristics. Society identifies these cues as masculine and feminine, although what’s considered masculine and feminine changes over time and varies by culture. Typically, transgender people seek to make their gender expression align with their gender identity, rather than the sex they were assigned at birth.
GENDER EXPANSIVE: A term that breaks the notion that gender is binary and extends beyond gender constructs. An umbrella term for individuals who broaden their own culture’s culturally held definitions of gender, including expectations for its expression, identities, roles and/or other perceived gender norms.
IMPERIALISM: The ideological foundation that justifies and normalizes domination and exploitation of people, culture, and territories.
INTERSECTIONALITY: A term established by professor Kimberle Crenshaw in the 1980s to describe the way multiple systems of oppression interact in the lives of those with multiple marginalized identities. Intersectionality looks at the relationships between multiple marginalized identities and allows us to analyze social problems more fully, shape more effective interventions, and promote more inclusive advocacy amongst communities.
LGBT/LGBTQIA: An umbrella acronym that is used to raise awareness and reference to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex and Asexual communities.
LGBTQIA ALLYSHIP: Confronting hetrosexism, sexism, genderism, allosexism and monosexism in oneself and others out of self-interested and concern for the wellbeing of LGBTQIA people. Founded in the understanding that dismantling heterosexism, monosexism, trans oppression/trans misogyny/cissexism and allosexism is a social justice issue.
MARGINALIZED: Refers to groups who have suffered past institutional discrimination and continue to suffer discrimination contemporarily. According to the US Census, these groups may include, but are not limited to: people of color, adult learners, veterans, people with disabilities, queer, intersex, and transgender people, those who follow religions other than Christianity, and working class people. This is revealed by the imbalance in the representation of these groups in common pursuits such as education, jobs, housing, etc. Related to and sometimes used interchangeably with the term underrepresented.
MINORITY STRESS: Chronically high levels of stress faced by members of marginalized groups. It may be caused by a number of factors, including poor social support and low socioeconomic status, but the most well understood causes of minority stress are interpersonal prejudice and discrimination. Numerous studies have shown that marginalized individuals experience a high degree of prejudice, which causes stress responses (such as high blood pressure, anxiety) that accrue over time, eventually leading to poor mental and physical health. Possible concerns include depression, self-harm, compulsivity, substance abuse, sexual dysfunction, personality disorders, eating disorders, and psychotic disorders. Though some consider the term “minority” outdated, the phrase “minority stress” has become standard in the field of social science and public health.
MICROAGGRESSIONS: Brief, subtle behaviors (intentional or not) that communicate hostile, derogatory or negative messages of commonly oppressed identities. These actions cause harm through invalidation of the target person’s identity and may reinforce stereotypes.
PEOPLE OF COLOR: A collective term for individuals of Asian, African, Latin, (sometimes) Middle Eastern, and (sometimes) First Nations backgrounds. As opposed to the collective “white” for those of European ancestry. Often abbreviated as “POC”.
PERSON-FIRST LANGUAGE: Putting the word “person” or “people” before the word “disability” or the name of a particular disability, rather than placing the disability first and using it as an adjective. For example, saying “person with a disability,” “woman with cerebral palsy,” or “man with an intellectual disability.” The purpose is to promote the idea that a disability is only one characteristic of a person, and not inherently a defining one. While it is generally a safe bet to use people-first language, some Deaf and autistic people consider their disabilities to be fundamental to their identity and prefer disability-first language.
PRONOUNS: Most people have particular pronouns they expect others to use for them. Most cisgender and some transgender people use pronouns that line up with their birth-assigned sex (he/him, she/her). Many genderqueer and trans folks have selected pronouns that best suit who they are, such as the gender-neutral singular they/them or new terms like ze/hir. The best way to find out someone’s preferred pronoun is to ask rather than assume.
QUEER: Adjective. Used as an umbrella term to describe individuals who identify as non-straight. Also used to describe people who have a non-normative gender identity, or radical/counter-cultural approach to the politics of gender and sexuality. Due to its historical use as a derogatory term, it is not embraced or used by all members of the LGBTQIA community. The term “queer” can often be used interchangeably with “LGBTQIA”.
SELF-EFFICACY: One’s belief in one’s ability to succeed at something. This term comes from social learning theory, particularly the research of psychologist Albert Bandura.
TRANSGENDER: Adjective. Sometimes abbreviated as “trans” or “trans*”. An umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. People under the transgender umbrella may describe themselves using a wide variety of terms, including transgender, genderqueer, non-binary, bigender, third gender, neutrois, genderfluid, agender. If you’re not sure how to refer to someone, ask for the descriptive term they prefer. Many transgender people are prescribed hormones by their doctors to change their bodies. Some undergo surgery as well, but not all transgender people can or want to take those steps, and a transgender identity is not dependent upon medical procedures.
TRANSSEXUAL: Adjective. An older term that originated in the medical and psychological communities. Still preferred by some people who have changed, or seek to change, their bodies through medical interventions (including hormones and/or surgeries). Unlike “transgender”, “transsexual” is not an umbrella term. Many transgender people do not identify as transsexual and prefer the word transgender. It is best to ask which term an individual prefers. If the person prefers the term “transsexual”, use it as an adjective, as in “transsexual woman” or “transexual man”.
VICTIM BLAMING: Holding people responsible for wrongs that others have committed against them. In sexual violence education, where the term is most commonly used, this includes blaming the survivor for “risky” behaviors such as walking alone at night, drinking and/or taking drugs, wearing “provocative” clothing, having multiple sex partners, and doing things that “imply” consent like flirting or going to the assaulter’s room. The term can also refer to a member of a marginalized group being shamed (for example, called “coddled” or “entitled”) for stress or discrimination in the face of systemic oppression. This shaming is a form of gaslighting (mental abuse in which information is twisted, spun, selectively omitted or outright invented in order to favor the abuser and make the victim doubt their own memory, perception, and sanity).
This is not an exhaustive list! There are many more social justice terms you can get familiar with to help Girls Rock Denver create the space and world we want to exist within!