Queer(ing) Psychology » Definitions

The first speaker resumes: "So yeah, hegemony is like widespread intense dominance. Hegemonic psychology would be the type of knowledge you’d usually see in Psych 101 textbooks — it’s presented as though it’s unbiased, value-free, and generic... like that's the way it's always been and always will be. But if you look at who the psychology is about, who wrote the textbook, who does the peer reviewing, who’s asking the questions, it’s eerily uniform: a bunch of upper/middle-class cis straight white people. So what counts as psychology is ‘ruled’ by these dudes, because they set the standards."

Scroll down if you'd like to learn about more of the terms mentioned in this conversation. We have tried to be as non-jargon-y as possible.

Queer: It used to mean something like ‘weird,’ and then it was a slur for … gay men? People will define it differently — as an umbrella term for anything outside cis binary gender, heterosexuality, and normative gender roles, or in a more specific way: not lesbian, not gay, but queer. The people I know usually use it to be more vague than words like “lesbian” or “nonbinary” can convey. Being purposefully vague while opting out of straightness.

Queering: To queer something is to turn the standards for a hegemonic practice on its head - to create space for something "counter-hegemonic" - challenging to and different from the received view or standard way of doing things.

Psy disciplines: When people refer to the “psy disciplines" (okay, maybe not "people" — a small subset of academics?) they typically mean psychology, psychiatry, psychoanalysis, and psychotherapy. But it can also encompass a wide range of professional areas where knowledge about mind, behaviour, and emotion is deployed and used, often for social management purposes rather than liberatory ones.

Intersectionality: A conceptual and analytic framework for examining how multiple social categories - e.g., gender, race, class, sexuality - combine in systems characterized by both oppression and privilege to affect the experiences of those occupying the intersections of these social categories. The concept has its origins in the writings of Black feminists and critical race theorists in the 1970s and 1980s. We love this 2016 TEDWomen talk by Kimberlé Crenshaw where she really unpacks this!

Feminism: The belief in, theorizing of, and advocating for political, economic, and social equality between men and women. At its core, Feminism is not about ‘sameness’, a common misconception. This is because ‘same’ does not equate to ‘equal’ and thus, the focus of Feminism is equal rights, access, and opportunities. There are loads of different kinds of feminism, though, so perhaps we should say feminisms. Black feminism, radical feminism, socialist feminism, the list goes on...

Cis: Short for cisgender and the opposite of “trans.” Originally, the word root "cis" meant “on the same side” in Latin. In terms of gender, you’re cis if your gender/sex match what a doctor marked on your birth certificate.

Trans: Usually short for transgender, referring to a range of binary or non-binary identities as you move away from the gender/sex people thought you were.