Learn gender-specific terminology

How we view and interact in the world is based on our experiences and socialization. Many of us were raised and educated in a heteronormative system, taught a default — and anything outside that default was seen as wrong or unnatural. If we felt we didn’t fit that default, we may have struggled with shame.

To shift our thinking, we need to explore beyond our lived experience. It’s never too late to learn and make new relationships.

2SLGBTQIA+: is a long acronym representing many terms. Remember, individuals get to decide how they identify, don’t assume that just because something is true for one person, that it’s true for others too, including the assumption that an individual is heterosexual.

2S — Two-spirit: used by some Indigenous people and cultures describing those with both a feminine and a masculine spirit living in the same body.

L — Lesbian: one who identifies as a woman attracted to women. G — Gay: one who identifies as a man attracted to men; also used as a term to describe people attracted to someone of the same gender. B — Bisexual (bi): one attracted to people of their own and other genders. T — Transgender (trans): one whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth.

Q — Queer: a broad term that includes all sexual orientations and gender identities; also stands for questioning because some may feel unsure about their sexual orientation or gender identity. — lntersex: one born with both male and female sex organs or other sexual characteristics.

A — Asexual: one who doesn’t or rarely experiences physical attraction to other people.

+ — (plus): stands for the other ways people may express their gender and sexuality, and some think of the + as standing for love and acceptance.

Cisgender: one whose gender identity and expression match the gender they were assigned at birth.

Non-binary: those who are non-binary may identify as having no gender, feel in between genders or a gender that’s not always the same.

Canada is the first country in the world on a mandatory census question to collect and report numbers of people who identify solely as trans and non-binary.

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