We believe that it is important to work towards shared understandings of the words we use. The ITF Steering Committee has developed working definitions for some key terms. These will continue to evolve over time.
Marginalization or social exclusion occurs when a group is pushed to the margins of society and denied access to rights, resources and opportunities as a result of their identity, whether chosen or imposed. For instance, individuals may experience marginalization in relation to their gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, sex characteristics, race, ethnicity, disability, age, class, caste, geographic locality, etc. A person can experience marginalization on several grounds at the same time and this aggravates the marginalization experienced. For instance, trans people of color who are sex workers often experience much higher levels of violence, discrimination and denial of services. The ITF prioritizes funding to trans communities facing greater levels of marginalization.
Intersectionality is a framework that describes the dynamic between our different identities (e.g. trans woman, Black) and connected systems of oppression (e.g. cissexism, white supremacy). The ITF uses this term to refer to the complex and aggravating way that the effects of different forms of discrimination (e.g. cissexism, racism, classism, etc.) combine, mutually re-enforce, and intersect to compose systems of oppression. The privileges we enjoy, and the discrimination we face, are a product of our unique positioning in society as determined by our experiences and identities. For example, a trans person who is a rural Dalit who does not speak English experiences life in a certain way due to gender identity/expression, class, caste, race, language, religion and geographic locality. At ITF we actively seek to support groups that take an intersectional approach to their work.
Social justice acknowledges that there are power imbalances between different groups in different regions of the world but that we aspire to full and equal participation of all groups. This includes a vision of society that is equitable and where all members are safe and secure. The ITF supports trans groups whose work contributes to social justice.