The process by which a person decides who does or does not belong to a particular group, identity or community. Gatekeeping can come from within or outside of a given community, and can be painful and invalidating to the recipient of the behaviour.


People who are romantically, emotionally and/or physically attracted to people of the same gender. The term does not necessarily refer to people of any gender in particular, but it is not an appropriate umbrella term for members of the 2SLGPTQIA+ community because it excludes members of other sexual orientations or genders.


Broadly, gender is a set of socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, rules and attributes that a given society considers appropriate. There are two main ways people construct their individual gender identities: through their innate sense of what that identity is for them, and through the experiences and interactions they have with others throughout their lives.

Gender Dysphoria

The distress that results from a person's assigned sex at birth and assumed gender differing from the gender with which they identify.

Gender Expression

How a person communicates about gender to others through external means, such as clothing, appearance or mannerisms. This communication can be conscious and/or subconscious, and may or may not reflect the person's sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Everyone has gender expressions, and one's gender expressions do not automatically imply their gender identity. 

Gender Identity

A person’s deeply held core sense of self in relation to gender. Gender identity does not always correspond to biological sex. Gender identity is a separate concept from sexuality and gender expression.

Gender Neutral

Not gendered. This term can refer to language, spaces and/or other aspects of society, but it is not a term used to describe people.

Gender Non-Conforming

An umbrella term for people who do not follow gender stereotypes and/or expand ideas of gender expression or identity. 

Gender Spectrum

The concept of gender as existing beyond the binary of male and female, and instead on a continuum. Some people exist at a particular point along the gender spectrum, others move along the spectrum, and others still exist off it entirely.

Gender-Affirming Surgery

Surgical procedures that adjust a person's body in order to more closely match their gender identity. This can also be called gender-confirming surgery.


Describes a person who does not consistently adhere to one fixed gender and who may move among genders.


Behaviour characterized by the recurrence of unpleasant or unwanted acts or comments that are demeaning, belittling, humiliating, intimidating or threatening to a person, and that cause them distress. 

Forms of harassment include:

  • Epithets, remarks, jokes or innuendos related to a person’s race, gender identity, gender expression, sex, disability, sexual orientation, creed, age or any prohibited grounds.
  • Posting or circulating offensive pictures, graffiti or materials, whether in print form or via e-mail or other electronic means, publicly or privately.
  • Singling out a person for humiliating or demeaning “teasing” or jokes based on protected grounds.

 Sexual and gender-based harassment are forms of harassment that can include:

  • Unwanted sexual advances, comments, requests for sexual favors or any other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that interferes with a person's work or educational environment.
  • Targeting individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, including homophobic or transphobic comments, jokes or threats.
  • Display of sexually offensive pictures, graffiti or other materials including through electronic means, publicly or privately.
  • Exposing one's genitals or engaging in indecent exposure.
  • Spying on someone in private situations without their consent, such as in changing rooms or bathrooms.
  • Implied or expressed promise of reward for complying with a sexually-oriented request.
  • Implied or expressed threat of reprisal or actual reprisal for refusing to comply with a sexually oriented request (see Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Policy).

 If a person does not explicitly object to harassing behaviour, or appears to be going along with it, this does not mean that the behaviour is okay. The behaviour could still be considered harassment.

Harassment does not include:

  • Interpersonal conflict or disagreement.
  • The proper exercise of performance evaluation, appropriate managerial direction, delegation, performance management or attendance management.


The assumption that everyone is heterosexual, and that heterosexuality is superior to all other sexualities. This includes the often implicitly held belief that heterosexuality is the norm and that other sexualities are different or abnormal.


Structural, interpersonal or other forms of discrimination or prejudice against anyone who does not conform to binary gender norms, based on the assumption that heterosexuality is the normal and/or correct sexual orientation.


A person who is romantically, physically and/or emotionally attracted to people of a different gender than their own.


A person who is romantically, physically and/or emotionally attracted to people of the same gender as their own. 

Hormone Blockers

A form of gender-affirming medical care that delays the changes of puberty in youth by stopping the body from making sex hormones. Also called puberty blockers, these medications do not cause permanent physical changes but instead pause puberty; if a person stops taking hormone blockers, puberty begins again.

Hormone Replacement Therapy

A form of gender-affirming medical care that involves taking testosterone or estrogen in order to allow people to medically transition or otherwise feel their body better represents their gender identity. 

Human Rights

Rights that universally belong to all persons. These are inherent to us all, regardless of nationality, sex, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, language or any other status. They range from the most fundamentalthe right to lifeto those that make life worth living, such as the rights to food, education, work, health and liberty.