We recognize that “South Asian” is a complex identity that cannot be encompassed by a simple listing of geographical places. We list the term in quotations to highlight its shifting meaning. We use the term strategically (we do not assume solidarity amongst all groups encompassed by mainstream definitions of “South Asian”) and we are invested in complicating it at every moment. Your definitions of “South Asian” and your self-identification as “South Asian,” are what matter.
We use the term “racialized” communities or individuals, rejecting the term “visible minority” (which comes from the Employment Equity Act, and is used widely by Statistics Canada). We prefer racialized, which highlights an ongoing process (racialization) where groups are deemed not-white. This process can shift (groups that were considered not-white 50 years ago, and now considered white).
Racial identities are not fixed categories. They are shaped by history, nationality, gender, class, and identity politics, and racial designations often differ from country to country. The term “racialization” makes explicit that this is not about inherent characteristics but about the ways in which we are socialized to differentiate groups of people on the basis of physical characteristics. It emphasizes the active process of categorizing people while at the same time rejecting “race” as a scientific category. This is emphasized in the Report of the Commission on Systemic Racism in the Ontario Criminal Justice System, which defines racialization “as the process by which societies construct races as real, different and unequal in ways that matter to economic political and social life.” (Dancing on Live Embers))
We use the terms queer and trans as umbrella terms, to include individuals that may identity as LGBTTIQQ2S/WSW/MSM or any other identities related to sexualities and genders. We know that umbrella terms, especially those that come from western frameworks, can be limiting. We are interested in self-identification. If you do not identify with these umbrellas, that’s totally great too!
We recognize that the language for queer and trans communities often excludes WSW- and MSM-identified folks. In many western queer and trans spaces, WSW- and MSM-identified folks often face further marginalization, and lack support spaces. We include WSW/MSM separately to recognize and validate their unique experiences.
If there are other acronyms or language used on this site that you are uncertain about or wish to know our definition of it, please let us know!