Terms and Concepts


Prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination directed against people who have developmental, emotional, physical, sensory, or health-related disabilities. Ableism may be evident in organizational and institutional structures, policies, procedures, and programs, as well as in the attitudes and behaviours of individuals. (OME)


Treating people unfairly because of their age. (CDO)

A socially constructed way of thinking about older persons based on negative attitudes and stereotypes about aging and a tendency to structure society based on an assumption that everyone is young, thereby failing to respond appropriately to the real needs of older persons. (OHRCA&A)


An individual (usually straight) who is supportive of the LGBTQ community. They believe in the dignity and respect of all people, and are willing to stand up in that role. Allies do not identify as members of the groups they are fighting for; e.g. a straight person can be an ally for LGBTQ communities; a lesbian can be an ally for trans communities). (Egale Canada)


Exhibiting the identity and/or appearance of both male and female, as neither male nor female, or as between male and female; exhibiting behaviors of either or both traditional genders; a descriptive term that many in the GLBTQ community find offensive; see also “Third Gender” and “Two-Spirit.” (AY)

Aboriginal Peoples

The descendants of the indigenous or original inhabitants of a particular nation or territory. In Canada the term is used to collectively describe three cultural groups of Aboriginal people– “Inuit”, “Métis People” and “First Nations”. These are three separate peoples with unique heritages, languages, cultural practices, and spiritual beliefs, histories and political goals. (AFN)

The 1982 Constitutional Act confers official Aboriginal status on status Indians, non-status Indians, Inuit and Métis. As the indigenous people of Canada, Aboriginal peoples argue that they have collective entitlements which were never extinguished and that they are rightfully entitled to special considerations. (MEAL)


Affirmation and recognition of those whose race, religion, nationality, values, beliefs, etc. are different from one’s own. (MEAL)

Anti-Black Racism

Prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination directed against Black people, including people of African descent. Anti-Black racism may be evident in organizational and institutional structures, policies, procedures, and programs, as well as in the attitudes and behaviours of individuals. (CRRF)

Anti-Discrimination Education


Educational approaches that seek to eliminate all forms of discrimination based on the prohibited grounds identified in the Manitoba Human Rights Code and the Canadian Charter of Rights and responsibilities and other, similar grounds from an educational system. Other terms such as Anti-Bias and Anti-racism Education may be used to describe such efforts. Anti-discrimination education (see Anti-racism) seeks to identify and change educational policies, procedures, and practices that may unintentionally condone or foster discrimination, as well as the attitudes and behaviours that underlie and reinforce such policies and practices. It provides teachers and students with the knowledge and skills that will enable them to critically examine issues related to discrimination, power, and privilege. Anti-discrimination education promotes the removal of discriminatory biases and systemic barriers for a broad range of groups. (Adapted from OME)


Strategies, theories and actions concerned with identifying, challenging, preventing, eliminating, and changing the values, structures, policies, programs, practices, and behaviours that perpetuate individual, institutional and systemic racism as well as the inequities in outcomes racism causes. (MEAL)


A general term describing an activity, event, policy or organization combating racism in any form. (MEAL)

Anti-Racist Education

An approach to education designed to eliminate racism in all its forms and challenge social, economic and educational inequalities to which ethnocultural, ethnoracial, and other groups are subject. It permeates all subject areas and school practices. It relies on a systemic approach to change (as opposed to solely the teaching of social issues within curriculum content). One of its primary aims is to promote critical thinking among teachers and students about racism and its origins and issues of power, justice and inequality; challenge racism at all levels – personal, cultural, and institutional. Anti-racist education can also be learned in informal and non-formal educational settings. (MEAL)


Latent or overt hostility or hatred directed towards individual Jews or the Jewish people (not to all Semitic peoples), leading to social, economic, institutional, religious, cultural or political discrimination. Antisemitism has also been expressed through individual acts of physical violence, vandalism, the organized destruction of entire communities and genocide. (CRRF)


A person who does not experience sexual attraction or who has little or no interest in sexual activity. (Egale Canada)

Batty Fucker

Slang for "queer man" that became popularized through homophobic dancehall music and generally only has negative connotations. (Egale Canada)

Batty Man/Batty Bwoy

Slang for "queer man" that became popularized through homophobic dancehall music and generally only has negative connotations. (Egale Canada)


Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and Two-Spirited. (CTF)


Slang term for people with a bisexual orientation and who self-identify as bisexual. (AY)

Binary Gender System

A system that forces all people into only two categories—either man or woman, boy or girl. In this system men and women are expected to look and behave in a particular ways that are different from one another. (SO)

Biological Sex

The biological state of having: 1) female or male genitalia (vulva, labia, clitoris, and vagina for females; penis and testicles for males); 2) female or male chromosomes (XX for females; XY for males); and 3) female or male hormones (estrogen and progesterone for females; testosterone for males); perhaps one in 2,000 babies is born with the biological characteristics of both sexes or of neither sex entirely (see intersex); see also gender and gender identity which are different than biological sex. (AY)


Fear and/or hatred of bisexuality, often exhibited by name-calling, bullying, exclusion, prejudice, discrimination, or acts of violence—anyone who is bisexual (or assumed to be)can be the target of biphobia. (Egale Canada)

Bisexual / Bisexuality

(adj) A person who is attracted emotionally and sexually to both males and females. (Egale Canada)A person whose sexual orientation is towards both men and women. (MEAL)


Slang for "queer man" that generally only has negative connotations. (Egale Canada)

Boom Bye Bye Inna a Batty Boy Head

Slang for "gunshot to a queer man's head" that became popularized through homophobic dancehall music. (Egale Canada)

Bugger Man

Slang for "queer man" that became popularized through homophobic dancehall music and generally only has negative connotations. (Egale Canada)


Is behaviour that involves belittling or intimidation of an individual and may arise from the misuse of power or managerial status or as a result of certain physical and personality characteristics. Bullying may be based on perceptions of difference of race, gender, religion, ethnicity, ability, sexual orientation, or other characteristics. (MEAL)

Section 1.2 of The Public Schools Act of Manitoba defines Bullying as follows:

1.2(1) In this Act, “bullying” is behaviour that

(a) is intended to cause, or should be known to cause, fear, intimidation, humiliation, distress or other forms of harm to another person’s body, feelings, self-esteem, reputation or property; or(b) is intended to create, or should be known to create, a negative school environment for another person.

Characteristics and forms1.2(2) Bullying

(a) characteristically takes place in a context of a real or perceived power imbalance between the people involved and is typically, but need not be, repeated behaviour;(b) may be direct or indirect; and(c) may take place(i) by any form of expression, including written, verbal or physical, or(ii) by means of any form of electronic communication– also referred to as cyberbullying in section 47.1.2– including social media, text messaging, instant messaging, websites or e-mail.

When does a person participate in bullying?

1.2(3) A person participates in bullying if he or she directly carries out the bullying behaviour or intentionally assists or encourages the bullying behaviour in any way. 


Slang term for individuals who exhibit characteristics or behaviors traditionally considered as masculine; sometimes derogatory; also sometimes used by lesbian women or gay men to self-identify with varying notions of gender. (AY)


An intended or unintended, overt or covert obstacle that may hinder a person’s full and effective participation in society on an equal basis. Examples of barriers include:(a) a physical barrier;(b) an architectural barrier;(c) an information or communications barrier;(d) an attitudinal barrier;(e) a technological barrier;(f) a barrier established or perpetuated by an enactment, a policy or a practice. (adapted from OME)


A subjective opinion, preference, prejudice or inclination, either for or against an individual or group, formed without reasonable justification that influences an individual’s or group’s ability to evaluate a particular situation objectively or accurately.

Reasonable apprehension of bias exists when there is a reasonable belief that an individual or group will pre-judge a matter and, therefore, cannot assess a matter fairly because of bias. (MEAL)

An opinion, preference, prejudice, or inclination that limits an individual’s or a group’s ability to make fair, objective, or accurate judgements. (OME)


Deliberately affected or exaggerated style, sometimes for humorous effect. (AY)

Chi Chi Gal

Slang for "queer woman" that generally only has negative connotations. (Egale Canada)

Chi Chi Man

Slang for "queer man" that generally only has negative connotations. (Egale Canada)


(adj) Refers to someone whose gender identity corresponds with their assigned sex. (Egale Canada)

Closet / Closeted

Hiding one's sexual orientation or gender identity from others in the workplace, at school, at home and/or with friends. (ATA)

The intentional concealment of an individual's own sexual orientation or gender identity, often due to fear of discrimination and/or violence; see also in the closet. (AY)

Coming Out

[1] The process through which LGBT people recognize and acknowledge their non-heterosexual orientation and integrate this understanding into their personal and social lives.

[2] The act of disclosing this orientation or identity to others. (ATA)

From “coming out of the closet,” the process of becoming aware of and open about one’s sexual orientation or gender identity. (AY)

Crossdressers (also Cross-Dressers)

Preferred term for people who usually self-identify with their biological sex and gender but who sometimes wear the clothing, jewelry, etc., of the opposite gender to fulfill emotional needs. (AY)


A cultural/societal bias, often implicit, that assumes all people are cisgender and so privileges cisgender identities and ignores or underrepresents gender variance. (Egale Canada)


Cissexism Prejudice and discrimination in favour of cisgender gender identities and expressions. This includes the presumption that being cisgender is the superior and more desirable gender identity. (Egale Canada)


Usually refers to the period of European colonization and political domination from the 1400’s onwards, in the Americas, Asia, and Africa, and taking on different forms from settler colonies like Canada to non-settler colonies such as India during British rule. Colonialism differs also across colonizing nations and across time. For example, French colonialism had different policies from British, while modern colonialism is often seen as part of “globalization”, which includes the exploitation of labour and national resources by transnational corporations and the expansion of free trade agreements and blocs. (MEAL)


In essence colonization is the forming of a settlement or colony by a group of people who seek to take control of a specific piece of land, territory, or country. It usually involves immigration of people on a large-scale to a ‘new’ location and the expansion of their civilization and culture into this area. When the land in question has already been settled, colonization involves displacing and/or dominating the original inhabitants of the area, the indigenous population.

In Canada, colonization resulted in the displacement of First Nations and Inuit peoples and the dispossession of vast amounts of land from the original inhabitants, and later the Métis people. In addition, through treaties, the Indian Act and other means, indigenous peoples were subjugated and dominated by the colonizers. The result of this displacement, dispossession, and domination has been institutionalized inequality and systemic cultural, economic, social, and political oppression of indigenous peoples. (MEAL)


Creed or religion or religious belief, religious association or religious activity is one of the prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Manitoba Human Rights Code. Manitoba Human rights commission interpret this “to include the presence or absence of a religion, creed, religious belief, religious association or religious activity.” (Policy on REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION OF RELIGIOUS BELIEF, http://www.manitobahumanrights.ca) Creed is not defined in the Manitoba Human Rights Code. The Ontario Human Rights Commission interprets Creed ‘to mean “religious creed” or “religion.” It is defined as a professed system and confession of faith, including both beliefs and observances or worship. A belief in a God or gods, or a single supreme being or deity is not a requisite. Religion is broadly accepted by the OHRC to include, for example, non-deistic bodies of faith, such as the spiritual faiths/practices of aboriginal cultures, as well as bona fide newer religions (assessed on a case by case basis). The existence of religious beliefs and practices are both necessary and sufficient to the meaning of creed, if the beliefs and practices are sincerely held and/or observed.”

See more at: http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/policy-creed-and-accommodation-religious-observ...


Manitoba’s Public Schools Act[S. 47.1(2.1)] interprets cyber-bullying as “using the Internet or other information or communication technologies, such as e-mail messages or text messages sent by cell phone or pager, to support deliberate, repeated and hostile behaviour by an individual or group that is intended to harm someone else.” http://web2.gov.mb.ca/laws/statutes/ccsm/p250e.php


The unjust or prejudicial treatment of an individual or groups of people; here unfair treatment on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity. (AY)

The unequal treatment of groups or individuals with a history of marginalization either by a person or a group or an institution which, through the denial of certain rights, results in inequality, subordination and/or deprivation of political, education, social, economic, and cultural rights.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission defines discrimination as: “treating people differently, negatively, or adversely because of their race, age, religion, sex, etc., that is because of a prohibited ground of discrimination.

As used in human rights laws, discrimination means making a distinction between certain individuals or groups based on a prohibited ground of discrimination.” (MEAL)When you are treated less favourably than someone else either because of your real or perceived sexual orientation, your gender, your ethnicity or religion, etc. (SO)


The variety of characteristics that all persons possess, that distinguish them as individuals, and that identify them as belonging to a group or groups. It is a term used to encompass all the various differences among people commonly used in Canada and in the United States in reference to programs aimed at reducing discrimination and promoting equality of opportunity and outcome for all groups. The dimensions of diversity include, but are not limited to, ancestry, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, language, physical and intellectual ability, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, type of area (urban/rural), age, faith and/or beliefs. (MEAL)

Drag Queen / Drag King

Someone who dresses and acts like the opposite gender for entertainment purposes; usually does not self-identify as transgender. (AY)


A derogatory word for a lesbian and/or for any woman who projects the role, appearance, attitudes, and/or behaviors that a culture traditionally assigns to males; also reclaimed by some to identify with varying notions of gender. (AY)


Human beings reflect a diversity of abilities. A disability is congenital or acquired characteristics or condition of an individual that may prevent full participation in educational, social, economic, political, religious, institutional or formal activities of a group, or that may require accommodation to enable full participation. Visible disabilities are readily apparent and consequent discrimination or stigma may be more predictable than with “invisible” disabilities which are not immediately apparent. Persons with disabilities form one of the designated groups in employment equity programs. An important aspect of this definition is voluntary self-identification. (MEAL)

Dominant Group

A group which is considered the most powerful and privileged of all groups in a particular society or context and that exercises that power through a variety of means (economic, social, political, and etc). (Adapted from OME)

Duty To Accomodate

The legal obligation that school boards, employers, unions, and service providers have under the Manitoba Human Rights Code to take measures that enable people to benefit from and take part in the provision of services equally and to participate equally and perform to the best of their ability in the workplace or an educational setting. (Refer to Reasonable Accommodation, http://www.manitobahumanrights.ca/publications/guidelines/reasonable_acc...)


The state of being equal in regard to status, rights, opportunities, and treatment. (AY)


A condition or state of fair, inclusive, and respectful treatment of all people. Equity does not mean treating people the same without regard for individual differences. For treatment to be fair, issues of diversity need to be taken into account so that the different needs and requirements of individuals are met. As a concept underlying social and educational perspectives, it takes into consideration the existence of systemic obstacles and social inequalities and proposes policies and practices to counter them, thus, providing all individuals and groups, the possibility of educational success, employment and social mobility. In equitable terms educational achievement should be an inclusive rather than an exclusive goal. (MEAL)


Ethnicity is a social and political construct used by individuals and communities to define themselves and others. It can be used to describe how people are defined, differentiated, organized and entitled to group membership based on shared linguistic, historical, geographical, religious and/or racial homogeneity.   Ethnicity can also be used in reference to a consciously shared system of beliefs, values, practices and loyalties shared by members of a group who perceive themselves as a group. Essentially, ethnicity can be thought of as an attachment that a person or a group feels towards a common cultural heritage. Ethnicity and ethnic identity are interchangeable terms. (MEAL)


A derogatory word for a gay male and/or for any man who projects the role, appearance, attitudes, and/or behaviors that a culture traditionally assigns to females; also reclaimed by some men to identify with varying notions of gender. (AY)


Quality of being fair-minded, impartial, and just. (AY)

Fassy Hole / Fassie

Slang for "queer man" or "queer woman" that became popularized through homophobic dancehall music and generally only has negative connotations. (Egale Canada)

Female-to-Male (FTM) (also Trans Man)

a person who is assigned female sex at birth but who identifies as a man. Often will simply identify as a man without the prefix ‘trans’.(Egale Canada)


A term used to describe the socially constructed and culturally specific gender behaviors expected of females; see also “Masculine.” (AY)


A slang term for an individual who projects a traditionally feminine gender role; sometimes, but not always, derogatory; also used by some to self-identify regarding gender. (AY)

Freaky Man

Slang for "queer man" that became popularized through homophobic dancehall music and generally only has negative connotations. (Egale Canada)

First Nation

One of the three distinct cultural groups of Aboriginal Peoples. This is a term that came into common usage in the 1970s to replace the word ‘Indian,’ which many people found offensive. Although the term First Nation is widely used, no legal definition of it exists. Among its uses, the term First Nations peoples refers to the Indian people in Canada, both Status and Non-Status. Many Indian people have also adopted the term First Nation to replace the word band in the name of their community. There are 633 First Nations Bands, representing 52 nations or cultural groups, and more than 50 languages. Most individuals prefer to be referred to by their specific nation e.g. Cree, Dakota, Dené, Anishanaabé, Ojibwé, Oji-Cree, Black Foot, etc. (AFN) (MEAL)


(adj) A person who is emotionally and sexually attracted to someone of the same sex and/or gender—gay can include both males and females, or refer to males only. (Egale Canada)

Gay-Bashing (sometimes Bashing or Queer-Bashing)

A physical or verbal attack directed at GLBTQ people, motivated by hatred for their sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or sexual behavior. (AY)

Gay-Straight Alliance (or GSA, sometimes Queer-Straight Alliance or QSA or Human Rights or Diversity Club)

Formal organization of GLBTQ and straight people in support of the dignityand rights of GLBTQ people, usually in the context of and to create change within educationalinstitutions and environments. (AY)

The term GSA stands for Gay-Straight Alliance. Although the exact function of such clubs varies from school to school, GSAs are generally considered to be any student groups concerned with LGBTQ matters and sometimes also serving as support groups for LGBTQ students, allies, and youth with LGBTQ parents or other family members. Many student groups opt not to use this name, however, because the word “gay” is not as inclusive as they would like. It doesn’t necessarily refer to lesbians, bisexuals, or two-spirited people and gender identity and gender expression are not explicitly encompassed by the expression. The term “GSA” is used throughout Egale Canada’s Equity and Inclusive Education Resource Kits, however, and Egale’s national LGBTQ safer schools and inclusive education website is called MyGSA.ca because this term is generally understood to refer to any inclusive school group that pertains to LGBTQ matters. However, this is an important consideration and would make an excellent topic of discussion in the discussion forums on MyGSA.ca, at any GSA meeting, or in your classroom! (From Egale Canada’s Equity and Inclusive Education Resource Kits)

Gay Straight Alliances (GSAs) are official student clubs with LGBTQ and heterosexual student membership and typically two teachers who serve as faculty advisors. Students in a school with a GSA know that they have at least one or two adults they can talk to about LGBTQ issues. The purpose of GSAs is to provide a much-needed safe space in which LGBTQ students and allies can work together on making their schools more welcoming of sexual and gender minority students. Some GSAs go by other names such as Human Rights Clubs or Social Justice Clubs in order to signal an openness to non-LGBTQ membership (though of course, some of these are not GSAs and might not address homophobia). (From Egale’s Phase One Report on the First National School Climate Survey—see MyGSA.ca for the full report.) See also LGBTQ Positive Space Group


The social classification of people as masculine and/or feminine. Whereas sex is an externally assigned classification, gender is something that becomes evident in a social context. (Egale Canada)

Gender Conformity

Acting within the culturally expected gender role for people of one's biological sex. (AY)

Gender Dysphoria

A medical term for unhappiness or discomfort with the gender role assigned by one’s culture to one’s biological sex; a term disliked by many transgender people as implying that there is something wrong with them; may or may not coincide with sexual dysphoria. (AY)

Gender Expression

The way a person presents and communicates gender identity to society, through clothing, speech, body language, hairstyle, voice, and/or the emphasis or de-emphasis of bodily characteristics or behaviours and traits used publicly to express one’s gender as masculine or feminine or something else. The traits and behaviours associated with masculinity and femininity are culturally specific and change over time. Gender expression is not an indication of sexual orientation. Also called gender presentation. (Egale Canada)

Gender Fluidity

The recognition that social constructions of gender identity and gender expressions lie along a spectrum and cannot be limited to two genders; a feeling that one’s gender varies from societal notions of two genders. (Egale Canada)


Gender Identity

A person’s deeply felt internal and individual experience of gender – their internal sense of being man, woman, or another gendered being entirely. A person’s gender may or may not correspond with the sex assigned at birth. Since gender identity is internal, one’s gender identity is not necessarily visible to others. (Egale Canada)

Gender Neutral

Anything (such as clothing, styles, activities, or spaces) that a society or culture considers appropriate for anyone, irrespective of gender; anything that carries with it no particular gender associations. (AY)


Gender Presentation

The ways in which an individual communicates one’s own gender identity to others, through behavior, clothing, hairstyle, voice, and/or the emphasis or de-emphasis of bodily characteristics; not an indication of sexual orientation; behaviors and traits used publicly to express one’s gender?as masculine or feminine or something else; also called gender expression. (AY)


Gender Role

Culturally or socially determined sets of attitudes and behaviors that are expected of an individual based on her/his biological sex. (AY)



Refers to the assumption that one’s gender identity or gender expression will conform to traditionally held stereotypes associated with one’s biological sex. (VSB)



(adj) Refers to a person whose gender identity may not correspond with social and societal gender expectations. Individuals who identify as genderqueer may identify with both male and female genders, move between genders, or may reject the gender binary or gender altogether. Those who identify as genderqueer may or may not also identify as trans. (Egale Canada)


Genetic Sex

Defined by the 23rd chromosomal pair, coded XX for female and XY for male, although other chromosomal code sets also exist. (AY)



Standard acronym for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning people; variations exist, such as including an I for intersex and a second Q for queer. (AY)



Glands (ovaries for females and testes for males) that produce gametes. (AY)



See "Gay-Straight Alliance (or GSA)."


Gender Diverse

Gender Diverse (adj) Refers to a person whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from cultural or societal expectations based on assigned sex and gender. (Egale Canada)

Gender Stereotype

The assumption that boys and girls must carry out distinct roles, i.e. all boys play football or all girls are physically weaker than boys. (SO)


Intense dislike or ill will, sometimes unconscious, often irrational, and occasionally expressed through violence; a self-destructive and corrosive emotion. (AY)


A fear or distrust of heterosexual people and of anything associated with heterosexuality, often based on negative life experiences. (AY)



Prejudice and discrimination in favour of heterosexuality. This includes the presumption of heterosexuality as the superior and more desirable sexual orientation. (Egale Canada)


Heterosexism and Homophobia

The term heterosexism refers to the assumption that all people are heterosexual and that heterosexuality is superior and more desirable than homosexuality. Homophobia is defined as "the irrational fear and hatred of homosexuals." Both of these are perpetuated by negative stereotypes and are dangerous to individuals and communities. (VSB)


Heterosexual / Heterosexuality

A person who is emotionally and sexually attracted to someone of the opposite sex and/or gender. Also referred to as “straight”. (Egale Canada)



An institutionalized third gender role in India, is "neither male or female," containing elements of both. The are commonly believed by the larger society to be intersexed, impotent men, who undergo emasculation in which all or part of the genitals are removed. They adopt female dress and some other aspects of female behaviour. traditionally earn their living by collecting alms and receiving payment for performances at weddings, births and festivals. (HI)

A self-identified term used by males who define themselves as "not men/not women" but as a "third gender." Hijras dress publicly and privately and are a part of a strong social, religious, and cultural community. Ritual castration may be part of the , but not all castrated. Sex with men is common, and like men who have sex with , such men would see themselves as "real men" (see "Pathis/Giryas") and not homosexuals. (MHI)



Fear and/or hatred of homosexuality, often exhibited by name-calling, bullying, exclusion, prejudice, discrimination, or acts of violence—anyone who is LGB (or assumed to be) can be the target of homophobia. (Egale Canada)

Homosexual / Homosexuality

A person who is sexually and emotionally attracted to someone of the same sex. Because the term is associated historically with a medical model of homosexuality and can have a negative connotation, most people prefer such other terms as lesbian, gay or bisexual. (ATA)

Feeling romantic, emotional, and sexual attraction to members of the same sex; a normal sexual orientation of no known cause; see also “Bisexuality” and “Heterosexuality” as well as “Gay” and “Lesbian.” (AY)

A person who is attracted to a person of the “same” gender within a binary gender system. (SO)

A scientific term invented in the 1800’s to refer to individuals who are sexually attracted to their own sex/gender. (VSB)



Behaviour of an intimidating or hostile nature or persistent, on-going communication (in any form) of negative attitudes, beliefs or actions towards an individual or group, with the intention of placing that person in a disparaging role. It is uninvited, unwelcome behaviour, which causes a degree of distress to the recipient. Harassment is manifested in name calling, jokes or slurs, graffiti, insults, threats, discourteous treatment, and written or physical abuse.   Harassment may be subtle or overt.

Harassment is unlawful on the grounds of race, ethnic or national origins, sex, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment status, religion, belief , and age.

Particular actions or behaviour could be seen as harassment even if not aimed directly at the recipient and not intentionally offensive. It should be remembered that the impact of the behaviour determines harassment and not the intent. (MEAL)

Hate Crime

In Canada, there are four specific offences recognized in the Criminal Code as hate crimes: advocating genocide, public incitement of hatred, wilful promotion of hatred, and mischief in relation to religious property. In addition, other criminal offences (e.g. assault, mischief) may be classified as a hate crime should the incident be motivated by hatred towards a particular group based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or any other similar factor. (Refer to Statistics Canada, http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/2012001/article/11635-eng.htm)

Hate Propaganda

Representing some of the most destructive forms of human rights-based discrimination in that they promote hatred against identifiable groups of people. Hate groups generally label and disparage people who may include immigrants, people with disabilities, members of racialized, religious or cultural groups, or people who are gay or lesbian. (CRRF)


A cultural/societal bias, often implicit, that assumes all people are straight and so privileges heterosexuality and ignores or underrepresents same-sex relationships. (Egale Canada)

Human Rights

Human rights affirm and protect the right of every individual to live and work without discrimination and harassment. Human Rights policies and legislation attempt to create a climate in which the dignity, worth and rights of all people are respected, regardless of age, ancestry, citizenship, colour, creed (faith), disability, ethnic origin, family status, gender, marital status, place of origin, race, sexual orientation or socio-economic status.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights extends those rights to all people around the world. Canadian citizens enjoy certain rights based on Canada’s tradition of democracy and respect for human dignity and freedom. Those rights are found in Canada’s human rights codes and in the Canadian Charter Of Rights And Freedoms.


What, how and who one perceives oneself to be; a multi-faceted self-concept that evolves throughout life. (AY)

In the Closet

The intentional concealment of an individual's own gender identity or sexual orientation, usually due to fear of discrimination and/or violence; can cause isolation and psychological pain; see also closeted. (AY)


Inclusive Education

The term “inclusive”, when used in regard to educational institutions or programs, refers to the successful education of all students while acknowledging and respecting diversity. It is an approach to education that is based on the principles of acceptance and inclusion of all students. Students see themselves reflected in their curriculum, their physical surroundings, and the broader environment, in which diversity is honoured and all individuals are respected. (MEAL)




A lens of analysis of social relations and structures within a given society. The concept of intersectionality recognizes how each person simultaneously exists within multiple and overlapping identity categories (including but not limited to: gender, race, ethnicity, class, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, ability, body size, citizenship, religion, creed). Social institutions and relations privilege and marginalize these identities differently and create differentiated access to resources.   (Egale Canada)

Intersex / Intersexual

(adj) Refers to a person whose chromosomal, hormonal or anatomical sex characteristics fall outside the conventional classifications of male or female. Many people experience the designation of “intersex” as stigmatizing given the history of medical practitioners imposing the diagnosis on infants, children and young adults (some people may not be identified as “intersex” until puberty). As with all humans, gender identity for intersex individuals may be complex. (Egale Canada)



Action to change a situation for the better; a deliberate, organized effort to improve the circumstances of one or more individuals by altering the environment, policies, and/or circumstances facing or affecting those individuals. (AY)



The state of being or feeling alone and apart from, or unable to connect with others; a cause of deep emotional distress for any person. (AY)



Aboriginal peoples in Northern Canada who live above the tree line in the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Northern Quebec and Labrador. The word means “People” in the Inuit language - Inuktitut.   The Inuit are one of the cultural groups comprising Aboriginal peoples of Canada.

The term is also used internationally, as in 1977, the Inuit Circumpolar Conference was held in Barrow, Alaska, and officially adopted the name “Inuit”, meaning “the people” as a replacement for the name “Eskimo”, meaning “eaters of raw meat”. (MEAL)

Invisible Minority

In Canada the Employment Equity Act defines visible minorities as “persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour”. The visible minority population consists mainly of the following groups: Chinese, South Asian, Black, Arab, West Asian, Filipino, Southeast Asian, Latin American, Japanese and Korean. (Statistics Canada)

Therefor, invisible minorities are people who may experience social inequities on the basis of non-physical or ‘non-visible’ factors, such as a disability, language or sexual orientation. The term may refer to a group that is small in number or it may connote inferior social position. (MEAL)


A term recently coined to refer to expressions of negative stereotypes, bias or acts of hostility towards individual Muslims or followers of Islam in general. (CRRF)


Fair, equal, and reasonable treatment without regard to a person's color, sex, gender, age, health, wealth or poverty, background, race/ethnicity, condition, sexual orientation, or gender identity; fair and equal treatment under the law and in all societal interactions. (AY)


The category of is an elusive one...The term itself is ambiguous, even when used by themselves. In translation it is often rendered as "transvestite," "transgender" or "transsexual"...With the coming into existence of a masculine gay identity in Thailand, the term is more and more used exclusively for male cross-dressers. However, in this circle it is not a particularly well-liked term that can readily be used in addressing persons. Indeed, can be a threatening term for persons who are trying to pass as females. People whom others label as often prefer to call themselves "a second type of woman" (phu-ying praphet song) or "a transformed goddess" (nang-fa jamlaeng). (TT)


Contemporary research on sexualities and genders have clearly shown that the bipolar categories, such as "man" or "woman" or "heterosexual" or "homosexual," are not useful to describe the range of identities, desires and practices...existing in India...[Kothi/Koti is a] self-identifying label for those males who feminise their behaviours (either to attract "manly" male sexual partners and/or as part of their own gender construction and usually in specific situations and contexts) and who state that they prefer to be sexually penetrated anally and/or orally. have a highly performative quality in social spaces. Self-identified this term for males who are sexually penetrated, even when their performative behaviour is not feminised. This is the primary and most visible framework of MSM behaviours. that they do not have sex with others like themselves, "real men." However many may be married to women as a family obligation. (MHI)


(adj or n) A female who is attracted emotionally and sexually to other females. (Egale Canada)


Commonly used acronyms that are shorthand for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual and two-spirited identities. Sexual minority is a synonymous term. ATA


Commonly used acronyms that are shorthand for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual and two-spirited identities. Sexual minority is a synonymous term. (ATA)


The way individuals live their lives, such as an urban or a rural lifestyle, an artistic lifestyle, an entrepreneurial lifestyle, a hedonistic lifestyle; not appropriately used to denote sexual orientation (just as there is no heterosexual lifestyle, there is no homosexual or gay lifestyle either); the phrase "homosexual lifestyle" is often used by anti-gay groups to imply that sexual orientation is a matter of choice rather than of identity. (AY)



An acronym for “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Two-Spirit, Queer and Questioning” people. (Egale Canada)


An acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two-Spirited, Transgendered (Transsexual), Intersexed, Questioning, Queer, and Allies. This acronym attempts to capture all elements of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. Other popular acronyms include LGBT, LGBTTIQ etc. LGBTQ is often used as a short version of the term in Canada. (MEAL)

LGBT Postive Space Group

LGBTQ Positive Space Groups (PSGs) are intended to help create a school that is free of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identities;

• allows all students to feel included and welcomed so they may focus their energies on academic objectives as well as partake in school social life and co-curricular activities;

• allows all members of the school community to feel welcomed and included in order to create positive learning and workplace environments;

• decreases fear and disapproval of sexual and gender diversity;

• encourages inclusion of LGBTQ peoples’ lives, politics, culture, families, and histories in curricula, course offerings, and research opportunities.[1]

The term Positive Space was coined in 1996 at the University of Toronto in response to a homophobic assault on a professor. A module of training on LGBTQ realities was developed, and all participants – faculty, staff, and students – received a sticker with the newly created Positive Space symbol: a mash-up of the rainbow flag and the inverted triangle that was used to mark LGBTQ people during the Holocaust.from: http://www.cea-ace.ca/education-canada/article/gift-positive-space-group...See also Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA)


Mahu is a cross-Polynesian term originally describing transgender women or female-acting males…Mahuwahine is a newly coined term of empowerment among Hawaii’s transgender community signifying male-to-female (MTF) transgender identity in varying, personally chosen forms and coincides with the Hawaiian cultural renaissance… (HRBM)

Male-to-Female (MTF) (or Trans Man)

A person who is assigned male sex at birth but who identifies as a woman. Often will simply identify as a woman without the prefix ‘trans’. (Egale Canada)


A term used to describe the socially constructed and culturally specific gender behaviors expected of males; see also “Feminine.” (AY)

Men who Have Sex with Men (MSM)

A term used to denote men who engage in sexual behavior with other men; includes men who self-identify as heterosexual as well as those who self-identify as gay and bisexual (please note that in online politics, MSM is an acronym for mainstream media). (AY)



The hatred of women. (CDO)


Manitoba Human Rights Code ("the Code")

A provincial law that gives everyone equal rights and opportunities, without discrimination, in specific areas such as education, jobs, housing, and services. The goal of the Code is to address and ultimately prevent discrimination and harassment. (Available at http://web2.gov.mb.ca/laws/statutes/ccsm/h175e.php)


Originally referred to persons of mixed Indian and French ancestry. Now refers to a person who self-identifies as Métis, is of historic Métis Nation ancestry, and/or is accepted by the Métis Nation through its acceptance process. (MEAL)

Minority Group

Sociologically, the concept “minority group” does not refer to demographic numbers, but is used for any group which is disadvantaged, underprivileged, excluded, discriminated against, or exploited. As a collective group, a minority occupies a subordinate status in society.

In Canada, it refers to the diverse ethno-racial identities that are not of the dominant white group.   In some areas, they are not always in the minority numerically. Minority rights are protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, The Human Rights Acts and Codes, and the UN Convention on the rights of minorities. The term may imply inferior social position.   In common use, Racial or Visible Minority describes people who are not White; Ethnic Minority refers to people whose ancestry is not English or Anglo-Saxon; Linguistic Minority refers to people whose first language is not English (or not French in Quebec). (MEAL)


Monosexism Prejudice and discrimination in favour of people who experience exclusive attraction to only one gender identity, expression or sex. This includes the presumption that being gay or straight is superior and more desirable to being bisexual or pansexual, or that people who experience bisexual or pansexual attractions are merely promiscuous. (Egale Canada)


See “Men who Have Sex with Men.”

Multicultural Educaiton

A broad term which may refer to a set of structured learning activities and curricula designed to create and enhance understanding of and respect for cultural diversity. The term often connotes inclusion of racial, ethnic, religious, linguistic, national, international and political diversity, and is also inclusive of the culture, heritage, history, beliefs and values of the various peoples within a pluralistic society.

This is an educational approach which positively seeks to acknowledge diversity in culture, faith, language and ethnicity in relation to school ethos, curriculum and home-school-community partnerships.

The term intercultural is sometimes used interchangeably. The term ‘intercultural’ is more frequently used in Quebec and Europe. (MEAL)


Prolonged cruel or unjust treatment, sometimes unconscious, sometimes covert; constant state of denying to others fair and equal treatment and fair and equal opportunities. (AY)


Openly acknowledging one's sexual orientation or gender identity; may be partial (that is, out to some people and in the closet to others). AY


When someone else accidentally or deliberately discloses another's sexual orientation or gender identity, usually without permission. (AY)



The public disclosure of another person's sexual orientation or gender identity without that person's permission or knowledge. Such disclosure is very disrespectful and is potentially dangerous to the outed person. (ATA)



(adj) A person who is emotionally and sexually attracted to individuals of diverse gender expressions or identity or assigned sex. (Egale Canada)


Contemporary research on sexualities and genders have clearly shown that the bipolar categories, such as "man" or "woman" or "heterosexual" or "homosexual," are not useful to describe the range of identities, desires and practices...existing in India...[Panthi/Girya is a]for any "manly male." A /girya by definition a man who penetrates, whether it is a woman and/or another male. Panthis/Giryas most likely also be married to women and/or access other females. Their occupations vary across the social class spectrum from rickshaw drivers to businessmen. (MHI)



A term for those who successfully assume a gender role and gender expression different than the one to which they were born or assigned at birth; also may refer to closeted gay, lesbian, or bisexual people passing as straight (please note that in some cultures, passing refers to successfully assuming a different racial/ethnic or cultural identity). (AY)



Having the ability to do something or to act in a particular way; here, the freedom and ability to acknowledge openly one’s sexual orientation or gender identity without fear of oppression, discrimination, injustice, violence, or abuse. (AY)

From a sociological perspective, defined as the ability to impose one’s will on others, even if those others resist in some way. The imposition need not involve coercion (force or threat of force); “power” used in the sociological sense does not equate to the separate concepts of physical power or political power and in some ways more closely resembles what everyday English calls “influence”. (MEAL)



Bias; an attitude that favors one person or group over another; here, favoring: one sexual orientation and/or gender identity over any other; an attitude that usually leads to discrimination. (AY)



National, citywide, and neighborhood local events and programs, usually during the month of June (see "Stonewall") in celebration of the ongoing fight for equality for GLBTQ people. (AY)


Primary Sex Characteristics

Physical characteristics present at birth and that are used by those around an infant to determine its biological sex, including penis and scrotum to identify the infant as male or vulva, vagina, clitoris, and labia to identify the infant as female. (AY)



Special rights, advantages, or immunity granted to, or assumed by, certain groups and considered by them as their right; for example in the United States, privilege accrues mostly to whites, to heterosexual people, and most of all, to white, heterosexual males. (AY)


Percieved Gender Identity

The assumption that a person is trans, cisgender or genderqueer without knowing what their gender identity actually is. Perceptions about gender identity are often predicated on stereotypes relating to gender expression (e.g. what a trans man “should” look like). (Egale Canada)

Percieved Sexual Orientation

The assumption that a person is lesbian, gay, bisexual or straight without knowing what their sexual orientation actually is. Perceptions about sexual orientation are often predicated on stereotypes relating to gender expression (e.g. what a straight man “should” look like). (Egale Canada)

Protected Characteristics

The Manitoba Human Rights Code prohibits unreasonable discrimination based on the following grounds, called “protected characteristics.”

• Ancestry

• Nationality or national origin

• Ethnic background or origin

• Religion or creed, or religious belief, religious association or religious activity

• Age

• Sex, including gender-determined characteristics, such as pregnancy

• Gender-identity

• Sexual orientation

• Marital or family status

• Source of income

• Political belief, political association or political activity

• Physical or mental disability

• Social disadvantage

In addition to these listed characteristics, The Manitoba Human Rights Code prohibits discrimination that is based on other group stereotypes, rather than on individual merit. (MHRC)


(adj) Historically, a derogatory term for homosexuality, used to insult LGBT people. Although still used as a slur by some, the term has been reclaimed by some members of LGBT communities, particularly youth. In its reclaimed form it can be used as a symbol of pride and affirmation of difference and diversity, or as a means of challenging rigid identity categories. (Egale Canada)


(adj or v) A person who is unsure of their sexual orientation or gender identity. (Egale Canada)


A mix of prejudice and power leading to domination and exploitation of one group (the dominant or majority group) over another (the non-dominant, minority or racialized group). It asserts that the one group is supreme and superior while the other is inferior. Racism is any individual action, or institutional practice backed by institutional power, which subordinates people because of their colour or ethnicity. (CRRF)

Rainbow Flag

A symbol of the LGBT movement designed in 1978. The rainbow flag is recognized by the International Congress of Flag Makers. (ATA)


Reclaimed Language

Taking terms or symbols that have had a derogatory connotation and using them in a positive way to name one's self or one's experience. For example, LGBT persons often use the words "dyke" and "queer" in a positive and affirming way to refer to themselves. Pink and black inverted triangles that were once used to identify gay and lesbian prisoners in Nazi concentration camps have been reclaimed to serve as an enduring symbol of gay and lesbian pride and as a reminder to the world to speak up against abuses directed at gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. (ATA)



A feeling of regard for the rights, dignity, feelings, wishes, and abilities of others. (AY)



A socially created category to classify humankind according to common ancestry or descent, and reliant upon differentiation by general physical or cultural characteristics such as colour of skin and eyes, hair type, historical experience, and facial features. Race is often confused with ethnicity (a group of people who share a particular cultural heritage or background); there may be several ethnic groups within a racial group. (MHRC)


The process through which groups come to be designated as different and on that basis subjected to differential and unequal treatment. In the present context, racialized groups include those who may experience differential treatment the basis of perception of race, as well as other factors such as ethnicity, language, socio-economic status, religion, culture, politics, and etc. (MEAL)

Racialized Group

A term which applies to all groups who are not seen to belong to the the dominant group on the basis of perceived race, colour, and/or ethnicity, and as a result may experience social inequities and be subjected to differential treatment. (Adapted from OME)


Refers to an individual, institution, or organization whose beliefs and/or actions imply (intentionally or unintentionally) that certain races have distinctive negative or inferior characteristics.   Also refers to racial discrimination inherent in the policies, practices and procedures of institutions, corporations, and organizations which, though applied to everyone equally and may seem fair, result in exclusion or act as barriers to the advancement of marginalized groups, thereby, perpetuating racism. (MEAL)


There are many definitions of what this term means. However, religion may be conceptualized as any specific system of belief about deity, often involving rituals, a code of ethics, a philosophy of life, and a worldview. It is estimated that there are 19 major world religions, which can be divided into a multitude of sects and sub-groups. (MEAL)

Religious Accomodation

The Manitoba Human Rights Code prohibits unreasonable discrimination on the basis of religion in all of the protected activities under The Code, including employment (s.14) and services (s.13). Therefore school boards have an obligation ... to provide reasonable accommodation for students and employees who wish to observe the tenets or practices of their faith, as well as for those who wish not to participate in any form of religious observance. (See also “Accommodation.”) (MHRC)

Safe Space

A place where anyone can relax and be fully self-expressed, without fear of being made to feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, or unsafe on account of biological sex, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, cultural background, age, or physical or mental ability; a place where the rules guard each person's self-respect and dignity and strongly encourage everyone to respect others. (AY)


Freedom from the fear or threat of harm (physical, emotional, or mental) and from danger, risk, or injury. (AY)


Same Gender Loving

A term created by the African American GLBTQ community and used by some people of color who see "gay" and "lesbian" as terms of the white gay and lesbian community. (AY)


Secondary Sex Characteristics

Those physical characteristics that are not present at birth and that develop during puberty as a result of hormones released by the gonads and the adrenal gland, including facial and chest hair (males), breasts (females), and pubic hair (everyone). (AY)


Sex & Gender

A classification based on reproductive physiology and identified in four main ways, including: 1) primary sex characteristics (vulva, labia, clitoris, and vagina for females; penis and scrotum for males); 2) genetic sex or chromosomes (XX for females; XY for males); 3) gonads (ovaries for females; testes for males); and 4) secondary sex characteristics (see above; a continuum with most individuals concentrated near the ends). (AY)

It is easy to confuse these two concepts and terms; however, they are different. Sex refers to the biological sex of a person. Gender refers to their societal appearance, mannerisms, and roles. (VSB)


Discrimination and unfairness based on biological sex or gender and usually perpetrated against females. (AY)

A set of implicit or explicit beliefs, erroneous assumptions and actions based upon an ideology of inherent superiority of one gender over another and may be evident within organizational or institutional structures or programs, as well as within individual thought or behaviour patterns.

Sexism is any act or institutional practice, backed by institutional power, which subordinates people because of gender. While, in principle, sexism may be practiced by either gender, most of our societal institutions are still the domain of men and usually the impact of sexism is experienced by women. (MEAL)Treating a person less favourably because of their sex or gender. (SO)


Sexual Dysphoria

A medical term for unhappiness or discomfort with the biological sex to which one was born or assigned at birth; describing a disconnect between one's internal sense of gender identity and one's outwardly apparent biologic sex; a term disliked by many transgender people as implying that there is something wrong with them; may or may not coincide with gender dysphoria. (AY)


Sexual Minority

An umbrella term for people whose sexuality is expressed in less common ways; may include people who self-identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, Two-Spirit, third gender, and so on. AY


Sexual Orientation

A feeling of attraction to others, based on biological sex and gender expression, over which individuals have no choice and different from sexual behavior; romantic, sexual, and emotional attraction to others, categorized by the sex of the person to whom one is attracted?such as: heterosexual (attracted to the opposite sex); homosexual (attracted to the same sex); or bisexual (attracted to individuals irrespective of their sex). AY

The emotional/romantic and physical attraction felt by an individual towards members of the same sex, the other sex or either sex. CTF

Refers to a person's deep-seated feelings of sexual attraction. It includes whom we desire sexually, with whom we want to become intimate, and with whom we want to form some of our strongest emotional relationships. The inclination or capacity to develop these intimate sexual and emotional bonds may be with people of the same gender (lesbian, gay), the other gender (heterosexual) or either gender (bisexual). Many people become aware of these feelings during adolescence or even earlier. Some do not realize or acknowledge their attractions (especially same-sex attractions) until much later in life. Orientation is not the same as behaviour since not everyone acts on his or her attractions. It is also important to note that one's gender identity is totally independent of one's sexual orientation; neither facet should be considered predictive of the other. GVSD

Describes who you are physically and sexually attracted to. SO

A personal characteristic that covers the range of human sexuality from gay and lesbian, to bisexual, transgender and heterosexual orientations. VSB

Sexual Prejudice

Discrimination and unfairness based on biological sex, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity; see also “Sexism.” (AY)


Sexual Reassignment Surgery (or SRS)

Surgical procedures that modify one's primary and/or secondary sex characteristics; formerly called a "sex change operation," a phrase now considered by many to be offensive. (AY)


Social Justice

Equal treatment and equality of social and economic opportunity, irrespective of one’s sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, race/ethnicity, biological sex, national origin, age, or health status; a concept that “Each person possesses an inviolability, founded on justice, that even the welfare of society as a whole cannot override. For this reason, justice denies that the loss of freedom for some is made right by a greater good shared by others.” (John Rawls) (AY)

A concept premised upon the belief that each individual and group within society is to be given equal opportunity, fairness, civil liberties and participation in the social, educational, economic, institutional and moral freedoms and responsibilities valued by the society. It includes equitable and fair access to societal institutions, laws, resources, opportunities, without arbitrary limitations based on observed, or interpretations of, differences in age, color, culture, physical or mental disability, education, gender, income, language, national origin, race, religion, or sexual orientation.

Generally, a socially just society is one that values human dignity, celebrates diversity, pursues a common purpose, embraces individual, and collective rights and responsibilities, narrows the gaps between the advantaged and disadvantaged, provides equitable access to resources for health and well-being, eliminates systemic discrimination and accommodates different needs. (MEAL)



Slang for "queer woman" that generally only has negative connotations (Egale Canada)



A false or generalized, and usually negative, conception of a group of people that results in the unconscious or conscious categorization of each member of that group, without regard for individual differences. Stereotyping may be based on and of the characteristics as described in the Manitoba Human Rights Code or on the basis of other, similar factors. (Adapted from CRRF)



A false or generalized, and usually negative, conception of a group of people that results in the unconscious or conscious categorization of each member of that group, without regard for individual differences. Stereotyping may be based on and of the characteristics as described in the Manitoba Human Rights Code or on the basis of other, similar factors. (Adapted from CRRF)


Sexual Minority

An umbrella term for people whose sexuality is expressed in less common ways; may include people who self-identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, Two-Spirit, third gender, and so on. (AY)

Sexual Orientation

Sexual Orientation: A person’s capacity for profound emotional and sexual attraction to another person based on their sex and/or gender. (Egale Canada)


When transpeople live as their gender without telling folks they are trans. There are a lot of different levels and sub-types. The most drastic, “deep stealth,” used to be required/recommended by the Standards of Care; this entails cutting off all contact with everyone who knew them by their assigned sex, including families of origin, and moving to new cities and getting new jobs. (Egale Canada)


Slang term for a person with heterosexual orientation. (AY)

A slang word used to refer to the heterosexual members of our community. (VSB)

Systemic Discrimination

The institutionalization of discrimination through policies and practices which may appear neutral on the surface but which have an exclusionary impact on particular groups, such that various minority groups are discriminated against, intentionally or unintentionally. Systemic racism operates directly or indirectly to sustain the power structure and advantages enjoyed by the dominant groups. It results in the unequal distribution of economic, social and political resources and reward among diverse groups. It also denies diverse peoples access to fully participate in society and creates barriers to education, employment, housing, and other services available to the dominant group. Systemic discrimination may also be the result of some government laws and regulations. (MEAL)

Third Gender

A category for those who do not self-identify as either masculine or feminine and who believe that they belong to an alternative gender. (AY)

Tranny (or Trannie)

Slang for transgender people; considered offensive by most. (AY)



Slang for transgender people. (AY)



(adj) A person who does not identify either fully or in part with the gender associated with their birth-assigned sex (the antonym for cisgender) – often used as an umbrella term to represent a wide range of gender identities and expressions. Transgender people (just like cisgender people) may identify as straight, gay, etc. (Egale Canada)



The process whereby people change their appearance or physical body to align with their gender (also called the “gender affirming process”). Transitioning means different things to different people, due in part to issues of access, safety and personal choice. It may involve, if freely chosen, modification of bodily appearance, presentation or function by medical, surgical, or other means. (Egale Canada)


Trans man

A person who is assigned female sex at birth but who identifies as a man. Often will simply identify as a man without the prefix ‘trans’. (Egale Canada) 


Fear and/or hatred of any perceived transgression of gender norms, often exhibited by name-calling, bullying, exclusion, prejudice, discrimination, or acts of violence—anyone who is transgender (or assumed to be) can be the target of transphobia. (Egale Canada)


(adj) A person whose sex assigned at birth does not correspond with their gender identity. A transsexual woman needs to live and experience life as a woman and a transsexual man needs to live and experience life as a man. Some transsexual people may physically alter their body (e.g., sex reassignment surgery and/or hormone therapy) and gender expression to correspond with their gender identity. Many identify as transgender, rather than transsexual, because they are uncomfortable with the psychiatric origins of the term ‘transsexual’. (Egale Canada)


Former term, now considered offensive by many, for people who usually self-identify with their biological sex and gender but who sometimes wear the clothing, jewelry, etc., of the opposite gender to fulfill emotional needs; the preferred term is crossdresser. (AY)

More appropriately referred to as "cross-dressing," the term transvestite most often refers to males who dress in the clothing of women. The term drag usually refers to dressing in the clothing and styles of another gender for entertainment purposes. (VSB)



A person who is assigned male sex at birth but who identifies as a woman. Often will simply identify as a woman without the prefix ‘trans’. (Egale Canada)


Two-Spirit (n)/Two-Spirited (adj)

The term “Two Spirit” emerged in 1990 at the third annual Intertribal First Nations/Native American gay and lesbian conference in Winnipeg. “Two-Spirit” is an Aboriginal spirit-name shared at that 1990 gathering of Aboriginal people who identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans at the time. “Two-Spirit” is a name now embraced by many LGBTQ indigenous people of Turtle Island. It is unique to North American Aboriginal LGBTQ people because First Nations peoples connections to this land and ecology are cultural, historical, and familial. (Albert McLeod)

Some Aboriginal people choose to identify as Two-Spirit rather than, or in addition to, identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or queer. Prior to European colonization, Two-Spirit people were respected members of their communities and were often accorded special status. In some Nations, this was based upon the belief of their unique abilities to understand both male and female perspectives. Two-Spirit persons were often the visionaries, healers and medicine people in their communities. The term Two-Spirit affirms the interrelatedness of all aspects of identity - including gender, sexuality, community, culture, and spirituality. It is an English term used to stand in for the many Aboriginal language words for Two-Spirit. (Egale Canada)

Thus, “Two-Spirits” reclaims the rich and diverse traditions and understandings of First Nations peoples, including some that may have been lost by the subversion of indigenous cultures through colonization, Christianization and assimilation. It is a pan-historical as well as a “pan-tribal” concept and term. For many LGBTQ Aboriginal people, identifying as a two-spirited person is a form of liberation from the identities that were imposed by other cultures and movements. Essentially it means that LGBTQ people have the ability to reflect the male and female energies (genders and sexes) and forces that create life (eg. humans, animals and plants) and that diversity within this realm is considered sacred and a component of the natural order. (Albert MacLeod)

Today an ever increasing number of First Nations, Métis and other Aboriginal LGBTQ people describe themselves as ‘Two-Spirit’. It is an empowered identity that emerged within the context of sustained racism, homophobia and sexism. For many First Nations people, their Two-Spirit identity reclaims their authority to define who they are and it aligns with their worldview, distinct cultures, histories and ways of being.

However, it is important to recognize that while the term “Two Spirit” has been embraced by many Fist Nations peoples to separate their interests from Western-imposed concepts of gender and sexual identity, the term is not used universally or consistently across First Nations/Aboriginal communities in North America.(Albert McLeod)

Used by some First Nations to describe people in their culture who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. (VSB)



A trans person is anyone who refuses to conform to, or doesn’t fit within, a binary gender system. They may identify as a transman or a transwoman or as something else entirely—such as “genderqueer.” There are many different trans identities, and “trans” does not only refer to people to have had (or want to have) gender reassignment surgery. (SO)

Uzeze (Kitesha)

In the language of the Upper Congo, effeminate men are called uzeze while among the Mbala they are known as kitesha. A kitesha lives and dresses differently from the other men?he walks and acts like a woman, wears women's clothing (although not their kerchiefs) and is considered lucky. There are also kitesha women that are similarly androgynous by nature. (TSW)

Visible Minority

A term used in federal legislation to describe persons who are not of the majority race in a given population. Visible minorities are defined under the Employment Equity Act as "persons other than Aboriginals, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour." The term "visible minorities" is also used as a demographic category by Statistics Canada.

In March 2007, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racism denounced the term "visible minorities" and Canada's use of it as racist. The use of the term was seen to somehow indicate that 'whiteness' was the standard, all others differing from that being visible. However, the Committee did not suggest an alternative term. Therefore, phrase should be used with caution.

Although there was a time when people of colour were generally a minority compared to the majority of the population, Canada's composition has changed significantly and this is no longer true. Thus the term "visible minority," although remaining in some legislation, is losing its relevance, as it is no longer appplicable in our society due to changing demographics.

Currently, the terms racialized minority are often preffered by people categorized by others to be "visible minoritities". (MEAL)