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What's that word?

This page will help if you've found a word you don't understand on Neve. Here, we explain words we use that many people don't know. We've put the words in alphabetical order. Words that start with "A" come first, then words that begin with "B", "C", and so on.  

Ableism is the idea that people who don't have disabilities are better than people who do have disabilities. It is untrue and unfair. People with disabilities may need support, but they don't need fixing. Our disabilities are part of who we are, not everything about us. Like everyone, people with disabilities are complex! 

Accessibility means everyone can easily go to a place, use a service or get information. If something is accessible, people with disabilities can use it just like anyone else. Accessibility is a way to make things fair. It means people don't miss out because they have a disability. They get to join in, have a say and have their needs met.

Affirmations are kind, positive things that you say about yourself. Things like:

  • “I can do this."
  • “I’m worthy of love and respect.”
  • “What I need and want matters.”
  • “I am good enough.”

Affirmations can encourage and motivate us to take action. They can help us cope with tough times. They can help us feel good about ourselves.

Autonomy is about being in charge of your life. It means you can decide based on what you like and don't like. Having autonomy doesn't mean you have to do everything by yourself. It's about having a say and making choices. You can still get help with things if you need it.

Biphobia means not liking or being unfair to people who are bisexual. Someone who is bisexual is attracted to men and women. It is one way a person can express their sexual attraction to the world. There are many more. At Neve, we think that all types of sexual attraction are okay. What matters is that sex is legal and that everyone involved has said "Yes" and feels good. 

Boundaries are things that we don't like or want. They can be about touch, like saying no to hugging, or words, like saying no to insults or yelling. When we have good boundaries, we say what we won't do or let others do to us. Setting boundaries can feel selfish at first, but it can help us be healthy and happy. 

Consent means you get to decide whether you do something or not. It means you understand the question and feel free to say yes or no. On this website, we talk about:

  • Consent to do with your health, which is called medical consent. You must understand what the doctor has told you to give medical consent. You can ask for more time. You can ask for extra help. You can ask for information that makes sense to you. No one says, "You have to," or "You can't." You get to make the choice yourself.
  • Consent to do with sex, which is called sexual consent. Sexual consent means you ask before you start to do sexual things, or the other person asks you before they start. It means that everyone has said "Yes". Everyone agrees. Everyone is happy and excited. Everyone feels good. Everyone can say "No" if they want. They can say, "Stop now". People listen to each other. They pay attention to what feels good. If someone is sad or worried, everyone stops.  

You might also see the word consensual. Consensual means that there is good consent. 

Contraception lets you have sex without getting pregnant. It is also known as birth control. There are many types of contraception. You can use condoms or take the pill. Some types of contraception go inside your body. These are called implants or devices. A doctor can put the device in safely. If you stop using contraception, you can usually get pregnant later. Talk to a doctor if you have questions. 

Disabilities affect our minds or bodies, making it hard to do some things. For example, a disability might make walking, talking, learning, seeing, hearing, or thinking harder. There are two main ways people think about disabilities. We call these different ways "models." 

  • The medical model of disability says that disabilities are problems doctors must fix. Even if your disability doesn't hurt or hold you back, a doctor might recommend treatment like medicine, surgery or something else. It can make you feel "less than".   
  • The social model of disability says that the world around us can make disabilities harder to cope with. It focuses on getting rid of barriers that stand in our way.  

Discrimination is when a person or organisation mistreats others because of who they are. They might discriminate against women, people with a different skin colour, or people with disabilities. It is unfair and against the law. Here are some examples of discrimination:

  • People ignore your ideas at work because you are a woman.
  • You can't get into a shop because you use a wheelchair and the building doesn't have a ramp.

Diversity is about including all different kinds of people, like people of different genders, abilities, backgrounds, families, cultures, income and education. We don't all have to be the same, but things should be fair. Variety makes life interesting! 

Emotional means to do with our emotions or feelings. Sometimes, on Neve, we talk about emotional abuse. This means that someone often makes you feel bad. You might feel sad, afraid, guilty, ashamed or something else. 

Empowerment / empowering / empower means giving power to someone or something. When we say that something is “empowering,” we mean that it gives you power. Empowerment is vital for people with disabilities because they may have had power taken away from them. For example, people might have made choices for you that you could make yourself. Empowerment is a way to solve this problem. It means you get the facts, skills and support you need to make choices and act on them.

Gender dysphoria means that someone has yucky, complex feelings about their gender. (If you don't know what gender means, you can read about "gender identity" below.) It can happen when a person feels that their body does not match their gender identity. For example, someone might have breasts and a vulva but know that they are a man. If this makes them feel upset, and they feel upset for a long time, it could be gender dysphoria.

Gender identity is a person's sense of their gender. It may be different from the way people described them at birth or describe them still. It's how someone sees themselves and how they feel comfortable. Someone's gender could be:

  • Man/boy
  • Woman/girl
  • Both man/boy and woman/girl
  • Neither man/boy or woman/girl
  • Another gender entirely. 

Gender is different to biological sex, which is about physical things like having a penis or vagina. Gender can change. If someone tells you their gender, respect that. The most common genders are woman/girl and man/boy, but many others exist. 

Gender-diverse people do not see themselves as either a woman/girl or a man/boy. Some of the more common genders include:

  • Non-binary. It describes someone who does not identify as only a man/boy or a woman/girl. Someone who is non-binary might feel like a mix of genders or like they have no gender at all.
  • Genderqueer. It describes someone who sees their gender as different or between being either man or woman and wants to explore more about their gender.
  • Genderfluid. It describes someone whose gender changes often. 
  • Feminine-identifying. It describes someone who sees their gender as feminine or femme. Some people who identify as feminine use the word "woman," but some don't. 
  • Agender. It describes someone who doesn't identify as any gender.
  • Pangender. It describes someone who experiences multiple genders, perhaps at the same time.
  • Demiboy. It describes someone assigned male at birth but does not fully identify as a man socially or mentally.
  • Demigirl. It describes someone assigned female at birth but does not fully identify as a woman socially or mentally.
  • Gender nonconforming. It describes people who don't conform to the gender norms expected of them. 
  • Gender questioning. It describes someone who isn't clear yet on their gender identity or does not wish to have a gender identity.
  • Transgender. It describes someone who experiences gender as different to the sex they are assigned at birth. Read more here at the TransHub (external link).
  • Transmasculine (trans man). It describes a transgender person who identifies as a man or masculine.
  • Transfeminine (trans woman). It describes a transgender person who identifies as a woman or feminine. 
  • Sistergirl / brotherboy. Some First Nations people who are trans in Australia use these words to describe themselves. Read more at TransHub (external link).

Homophobia means not liking or being unfair to people who are homosexual. Someone who is homosexual is attracted to other people of the same sex. A lesbian is a woman who is attracted to women. A gay man is a man who is attracted to men. At Neve, we think that all types of sexual attraction are okay. What matters is that sex is legal and that everyone involved has said "Yes" and feels good. 

Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms that allow us to live decent lives. Rights say what you are allowed to be, do, or have. Everyone has human rights, regardless of ability, race, colour, gender, religion, income or cultural background. No one can take away your rights.

Identity-first language focuses on one part of a person's identity. For example, someone might describe themselves as a "disabled woman". They have put their disability first. Another person might describe themselves as a "woman with a disability". This is called person-first language. The person (woman) comes before the disability. On Neve, we use person-first language. Both kinds of language are okay. You can choose which to use. If you're talking about someone else, ask them what they prefer.

Intersectionality describes the way that different parts of us overlap. People are never just one thing. We all belong to more than one community. For example, a woman with disabilities belongs to at least two groups: women and people with disabilities. She probably has some things in common with other women and some things in common with other people who have disabilities. People may mistreat her because she is a woman. People may mistreat her because she has a disability. However, she may also get support from other women and people with disabilities. Intersectionality helps us recognise how we overlap with others and are different. Even people who are part of the same group remain individuals. 

LGBTQIA+ people. LGBTQIA+ is an acronym – a word made up of the first letters of other words. The words are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer / Questioning and Asexual. When you put the first letters of those words together, you get LGBTQIA. The “+” means plus. It tells us that the word LGBTQIA+ includes other people, too.

Microaggressions are small statements, actions or incidents that carry a negative message or stereotype about a group of people, like women or people with disabilities. A stereotype is a simple and rigid idea, like "All women are good with children" or "People with disabilities don't have sex." Microaggressions can be jokes, assumptions, statements or offers of help. They hurt, even if that wasn't the intention.

Physical means to do with your body. Sometimes, on Neve, we talk about physical violence and abuse. That means things like hitting, kicking or slapping. It also includes when someone stops you from taking the medicine you need or using equipment that helps manage your disability. 

Psychological means to do with your thoughts and feelings. Sometimes, on Neve, we talk about psychological violence and abuse. That means someone treats you in a way that makes you feel bad or think badly of yourself. The feelings could be sadness, fear, guilt, shame or something else. The thoughts could be things like, "I deserve this," "I'm such an idiot," or "No one could love me."

Reproduction means making a new baby. It can happen when two people have sex without using contraception (birth control). It can also occur when doctors put together a sperm and an egg and place it inside someone's uterus (womb) to grow into a baby. Talk to your doctor if you want to get pregnant. They can tell you how to keep yourself and your baby healthy.   

Self-care means looking after yourself and taking time to do something that makes you feel good. Examples include having a cup of tea, watching a movie, talking to a friend, and taking a bath. You should do what feels good to you!

Self-determination means the ability to make choices for yourself. It means that you get to decide how to live your own life.

Sexual identity is the way a person expresses their sexual attraction to the world. They might be straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, and there are more!

Sexually transmissible infections (STIs) are health problems that you can catch from having sex without using protection like condoms. It is a common problem. STIs are often spread through skin-on-skin contact. Signs of STIs include itches and rashes in the genitals and pain when peeing. However, some STIs have no signs at all. If you're worried, don't ignore the problem.   You can get a test to check for STIs. Ask your doctor. They can also give you treatment if you have an STI. 

Socioeconomic is two words put together. The first part is “socio” – that means to do with our social lives. It is about our friends, families and communities. The second part is “economic” – that means to do with money and finances. It is about whether we are rich, poor or in the middle. Put together, the word means how much money we have and who we spend our time with. It recognises that our social lives and our finances affect one another. They impact other issues, too, like health, housing and disability.

Supporters assist people with disabilities. They could be a parent, partner, or family member who helps with everyday tasks.  

Transphobia means not liking or being unfair to people who are transgender. A transgender person experiences gender as different to the sex they were assigned at birth. At Neve, we think that all gender identities are okay. What matters is that people feel free to be themselves and treat others well. 

Trauma can happen when you have a stressful, frightening or upsetting experience. There could be one traumatic event, or it could happen repeatedly. Afterwards, you might have emotional and physical symptoms that last for a long time. If something reminds you of the trauma, you might feel anxious, sweaty or overwhelmed. It might feel like it's happening again, even when it's not. If you have trauma, please seek help.

Triggers. A trigger reminds you of a stressful, frightening or upsetting experience. It can make you extremely upset and overwhelmed, even if you are safe. If someone says something was "triggering," this is what they mean.

Violence is when someone uses force to hurt or control another person. Violence can be physical, like hitting, kicking or slapping. Violence can be sexual, like when someone touches another person in a sexual way without their permission. Violence can be emotional, like when someone makes another person feel guilty or ashamed for saying "no" or setting boundaries. Violence can be financial, like when someone takes away someone else's money. Violence is not okay. No one deserves to be treated that way.

Wellbeing is a positive way of existing in the world. It means you are healthy and content and have good connections with friends, family and community. If you feel good about yourself and your life, you have wellbeing. 

Women and gender-diverse people. Women With Disabilities Australia is run by and for women, girls, feminine-identifying and non-binary people with disabilities. When we talk about "women and gender-diverse people," that's what we mean. If these terms are meaningful to you, this website is for you. 

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