The following terms refer to some common identities that people may have within and outside the 2SLGBTQ+ community. This is not an exhaustive list of all identities that exist.
an acronym which stands for “two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and more”.
— These differing communities are linked by their shared experiences of homophobia and transphobia.
— The plus sign (+) recognizes the many other identities who may likewise be affected by heteronormativity and cisnormativity.
— There are many variations of this acronym which include other identities.
— CANVAS prioritizes 2S (two-spirit) at the front of this acronym to honour the Indigenous land we live on, to acknowledge the long history of gender and sexual diversity on Turtle Island, and to recognize the ways in which colonialism forces homophobia and transphobia onto Indigenous communities where these discriminations did not originally exist.
A person who doesn’t share a particular identity, but advocates for the safety, rights, and liberation of that community.
— For example, a non-2SLGBTQ+ person who supports the acceptance of the 2SLGBTQ+ community might be considered an ally.
— Perhaps “being an ally” is the term that should be used. Allyship is not an identity that you can claim; rather, it is an ongoing, continuous process of learning and acting in solidarity with people who experience discrimination.
— Being an ally involves asking how you can provide support; listening and being open to having your views challenged; using your time, money, and connections to give power to others; and speaking up against your peers who are showing prejudice.
— WATCH: Youth discuss what it means to be queer-friendly.
A PERSON who experienceS little or no romantic attraction (i.e. crushes).
— Aromanticism is a spectrum. People can also identify as “grey-romantic” if their romantic attraction falls into the “grey-area” between “typical” romantic attraction and “total” aromanticism.
— Sometimes shortened to “aro”.
— WATCH: “Aromantic” as described by Jeffery Kingsley
a PERSON who experiences little or no sexual attraction.
— Asexual people may still experience romantic attraction, and may have a romantic identity in addition to their sexual identity. For example, an asexual person who is romantically interested in two or more genders may identify as biromantic as opposed to bisexual.
— Asexuality is a spectrum. People can also identify as grey-asexual if their sexual attraction falls into the “grey-area” between “typical” sexual attraction and “total” asexuality.
— Sometimes shortened to “ace”.
— WATCH: “Asexual” as described by Celine Galluzo and Jeffery Kingsley
a person who is attracted to two or more genders.
— Different people define bisexuality different ways. Some explain it as being attracted to the both the same gender as themselves as well as other genders than themselves.
— READ: “Two Sides of the Same Coin” poem by Michelle
— WATCH: “Bisexual” as described by Chloe Kirlew
a person who is assigned THE SEX “female” at birth.
— Doctors and parents might say a baby is “female” based on body parts, sex chromosomes, and/or hormones.
— In the general population, this is often used interchangeably with “woman”, which is a gender identity.
a term for people who are attracted to the same gender as themselves.
A person whose GENDER EXPRESSION OR GENDER IDENTITY falls outside of what is expected of someone with their gender or sex.
— A person who is gender non-conforming can be trans, but does not have to be. For example, a girl who identifies as a “tomboy” or dresses in masculine clothing might be considered gender non-conforming.
A person whose ANATOMY OR BIOLOGY AT BIRTH does not not fit into the traditional categories of “male” and “female”
— A person can be intersex when their combination of reproductive organs, hormones, and/or chromosomes vary from the medical understandings of “male” and “female”. For example, someone with XY chromosomes (associated with maleness) and a uterus (associated with femaleness) could be considered intersex.
— People who are labelled intersex when they are born (usually due to ambiguous genitalia) often receive non-consensual surgery or hormones as they grow up, in order to make them fit the “male” or “female” category. These invasive medical procedures can have damaging effects on body functions as well as mental health.
— Some people discover they are intersex at puberty (where they may experience changes they didn’t expect), or when they attempt to conceive children.
a person who is assigned THE SEX “male” at birth
— Doctors and parents assign the sex “male” based on body parts, sex chromosomes, and/or hormones.
— In the general population, this is often used interchangeably with “man”, which is a gender identity
A GENDER IDENTITY DESCRIBING a person who identifies outside the gender binary of “man” and “woman”.
— A non-binary person might identify as being both, neither, changing between the two, or something else beyond a “man” or “woman”.
— Non-binary people often consider themselves part of the transgender community.
— SEE: “What Being Non-Binary Means” comic by Jeffery Kingsley
— SEE: “Being” artwork by Jamaica Bridgett
— WATCH: “Non-binary” as described by Jeffery Kingsley
— READ: “Non-binary” as described by Jamaica Bridgett
a person who is attracted to all genders, OR A PERSON WHOSE ATTRACTION IS NOT LIMITED BY GENDER.
— A pansexual person is not necessarily attracted to every human being, but may find that gender does not play a role in who they are attracted to.
— A similar term is bisexual.
— The 2SLGBTQ+ community is sometimes referred to as “the queer community”
— This was historically a hurtful word, but was reclaimed by some 2SLGBTQ+ people to describe themselves.
— WATCH: “Queer” as described by Chloe Kirlew
— WATCH: “Hard to Love” by Glass Project Films
when a person is uncertain about their sexual or romantic orientation, and/or gender identity
— A person can be questioning at any age, and may do so multiple times throughout their life.
A person who is attracted to a different gender from their own.
— For example, a man who is attracted to women could be described as straight.
A term for a person whose gender identity does not “align” with the sex they were assigned at birth in the way that society expects.
— For example, a person who was assigned male at birth, but understands themselves to be a woman might call themselves a transgender woman.
— A person who was assigned male at birth, but understands themselves to be non-binary might also consider themselves transgender.
— This is sometimes shortened to “trans”.
— People can identify as transgender regardless of if they can or want to medically transition.
— READ: “Self-Care of a Trans Man” comic by Nad
A newer term that references historical gender traditions in many Indigenous North American cultures (i.e. First Nations, Métis, and Inuit).
— Two-spirit might refer to an Indigenous person who settlers would consider queer or trans.
— Throughout history, many Indigenous nations did not have a gender binary and recognized gender identities beyond “man” and “woman”. These exact identities varied from nation to nation.
— Because of ongoing colonization, many Indigenous peoples no longer know the words in their ancestral languages to describe this diverse spectrum of genders and sexualities. “Two-spirit” was coined as a temporary alternative while ancestral words are being remembered and reclaimed.
— Two-Spirit refers to both gender/sexual identity AND spiritual and community responsibilities. In many historical traditions, two-spirit people have important community roles, like healers and teachers.