Glossary of Important Terms

Glossary of Important Terms

Biphobia

Feelings of rage, hate and disapproval toward bisexuality and bisexual people. Biphobia can be manifested in numerous ways, such as verbally, emotionally and through physical attacks.

Cisgender

When a person’s gender identity matches with their body and sex assigned at birth.

Cissexism

The belief that transgender people are inherently inferior to cisgender people.

Cisnormative

The assumption that all, or almost all, individuals are cisgender, unless otherwise specified.

Coming out

The process of coming to terms with one’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity and disclosing it to others. Others typically assume heterosexuality and fixed gender states that fit into the binary of female and male; therefore, coming out is an ongoing process.

FTM

A person who was assigned female at birth, but identifies as male. Also known as trans man or transgender man. FTM is the acronym for Female-to-Male.

Gender expansive

An umbrella term sometimes used in place of ‘gender non-binary’ or ‘gender nonconforming’ to describe individuals with gender identities and expressions that expand and broaden definitions of cisnormative and gender-normative identities.

Gender fluid

Refers to a gender identity that varies and fluctuates over time. A person who identifies as gender fluid may have an identity that alternates between female, male and any other gender identity.

Gender identity

Gender identity is a person’s subjective experience of their own gender. It is a deep internal feeling of whether they are female, male, genderqueer or anywhere else along the gender spectrum. A person’s gender identity may be the same as or differ from the sex assigned to them at birth.

Gender non-binary

A term used to describe individuals who do not subscribe or conform to the gender binary. Gender non-binary is also used an umbrella term for those who do not identify exclusively as female or male.

Gender normative

Refers to people conforming to what is considered culturally appropriate feminine and masculine behaviour.

Gender queer

A self-identity category/term used to describe individuals who do not subscribe or conform to the gender binary, but identify as neither, both, or a combination of male and female.

Heteronormative

The belief that heterosexuality is the ‘normal’ sexual orientation. Also refers to the belief that female and male gender roles are fixed.

Heterosexism

A system of attitudes, biases, and discrimination in favour of opposite-sex sexuality and relationships, including the assumption that all people are heterosexual or that opposite-sex attractions and relationships are superior.

Homophobia

Feelings of rage, hate and disapproval of homosexuality. Homophobia can be manifested in numerous ways, such as verbally, emotionally and through physical attacks.

LGBTQ2S

Acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning and two-spirit people.

MTF

A person who was assigned male at birth, but identifies as female. Also known as trans woman or transgender woman. MTF is the acronym for Male-to-Female.

Pansexual

When a person is sexually, romantically and emotionally attracted to people of all gender identities and sexes.

Queer

A term that has been reclaimed by LGBTQ2S people as a self-identity for those who do not identify with binary terms that describe sexual, gender, and political identities.

Sexual identity

How a person identifies to whom they are sexually and romantically attracted(e.g., lesbian, gay, bisexual, heterosexual, etc.)

Transgender

A term used to describe people whose gender identity does not match with the sex they were assigned at birth. Transgender is also used as an umbrella term and can encompass those who identify as gender queer and gender fluid and whose gender identities challenge gender norms. Transgender is an adjective, and should never be used as a noun. For example, say “Chris is a transgender person,” not, “Chris is a transgender.” It is never necessary to add an ‘-ed’ to the end of ‘transgender.’

Transition

When a transgender individual begins to live life in the gender with which they identify, rather than the sex they were assigned at birth. For some, this includes changing one’s first name and/or other legal documents (e.g., health card, driver’s licence, etc.), dressing differently, taking hormones and/or undergoing surgery. Each person’s transition is different and deeply personal.

Transmisogyny

The confluence of misogyny and transphobia. Negative attitudes, expressed through individual and state violence, harassment and discrimination directed toward transgender women and trans and gender-expansive people on the feminine end of the gender spectrum.

Transphobia

Feelings of rage, hate and disapproval toward transgender people or people who are gender-nonconforming. Transphobia can be manifested in numerous ways, such as verbally, emotionally and through physical attacks.

Two-Spirit

This term is culturally specific to people of Indigenous ancestry and refers to Indigenous Peoples who identify with both a male and a female spirit. This term is not exclusive to gender identity, and can also refer to sexual orientation.

EDITOR: Alex Abramovich, Jama Shelton
PUBLISHER: Canadian Observatory on Homelessness
PUBLICATION DATE: 2017

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