Sense of Belonging

An emotional connection and feeling of inclusion, acceptance and identification within a particular group, community, organization or environment. This connection or feeling is deeply rooted and reflects a person's perception that they are valued, understood and welcomed by others in that context. In turn, this perception fosters a sense of security, trust and shared identity in that person.


The anatomical, physiological, genetic or physical attributes that determine is a person is male, female or intersex. This is also referred to as biological sex, anatomical sex, physical sex or sex assigned at birth. Sex is often conflated with gender, or used interchangeably, but gender is a social construct that may or may not correspond with sex.

Sexual Orientation

Sexual attraction towards other people, or no people. Sexual orientation is not defined or determined by one's sexual activity.

Social Oppression

Oppression achieved through social means and that is social in scope—it affects whole categories of people. This kind of oppression includes the systematic mistreatment, exploitation and abuse of a group (or groups) of people by another group (or groups). It occurs whenever one group holds power over another in society through the control of social institutions, along with society’s laws, customs and norms.


A label that used towards another person or group of people, often negatively. 


A negative attitude, distinction or mark applied to an individual deemed by others to be unacceptable or different in a detrimental way.

Systemic Barriers

The pervasive and often ingrained obstacles, constraints or structures in a social, economic or organizational system contributing to and perpetuating systemic inequalities. These barriers disproportionately impede the progress, opportunities or equitable participation of certain individuals or groups based on factors including race, gender, socioeconomic status and/or disability. Systemic barriers can manifest in various forms, including institutional policies, cultural norms or access to resources.


A trans or gender-expansive person who is only interested in emotional, romantic, sexual and/or intimate partnerships with other trans or gender-expansive people. 


An AMAB (assigned male at birth) person who is closer to femininity than masculinity, but who is not a binary woman. Also referred to as transfemme or transfem.


Often shortened to trans, from the Latin prefix for “on a different side as.” A term describing a person’s gender identity that does not necessarily match their assigned sex at birth. This word is also used as an umbrella term to describe groups of people who transcend conventional expectations of gender identity or expression. “Trans” is often considered more inclusive than transgender because it includes transgender, transsexual, transmasc, transfem and those who simply use the word trans.


The social, legal and/or medical process a person goes through to affirm their gender identity. This can include changing forms of gender expression like hairstyles and clothing; changing names, pronouns and/or identification documents; receiving gender-affirming care such as hormone treatments or puberty blockers; and/or having gender-affirming surgery. There is no one 'correct' way to transition, and the validity of a person's gender identity is not dependent on any aspect of social, legal and/or medical transitioning.


An AFAB (assigned female at birth) person who is closer to masculinity than femininity, but who is not a binary man. Also referred to as transmasc.


Anti-Black racism, cisexism and misogyny directed at Black women who are trans or gender-expansive, forming a unique system of oppression. This misogyny can manifest as prejudice and bias. The concept, coined by writer Trudy, comes from the term misogynoir, coined by American feminist scholar Dr. Moya Bailey.


Animosity, dislike or hatred of trans or gender-expansive people, which often manifests as prejudice and bias. Transphobia is often rooted in a lack of knowledge about trans and gender-expansive people. 

Two Spirit or Two-Spirit

The term is not a specific definition of gender, sexual orientation or other self-determining catch-all phrase, but rather an umbrella term that encompasses sexual, cultural, gender and spiritual identities. Two Spirit people have both a male and female spirit or essence within them and are blessed by their Creator to see life through the eyes of both genders. The term was coined in 1990 by Indigenous 2SLGBTQIA+ activists at an American conference. Many Indigenous communties have traditional and specific words, terms and/or roles for gender-expansive or trans people in their communities, and may prefer to use those terms instead of Two Spirit. Keep in mind that Two Spirit is not for non-Indigenous people.