Any action that occurs to/against a person that negatively impacts their well-being.

Things that remove a person’s self-esteem or self-worth or make that person feel threatened. Removing ‘feeling good’ and safety.


A person who is witnesses an event, incident or unacceptable behaviour.

It might be something serious or minor, one-time or repeated. A bystander has a choice of whether or not to intervene in some way. An active bystander intervenes and takes steps that can make a difference and create change.


A person whose gender and sex assigned at birth align according to dominant social narratives.

Someone who was assigned male at birth and identifies as a man could use the term “cis man”, “cisgender man”, or “man” to describe themself. Someone who was assigned female at birth and identifies as a woman could use the term “cis woman”, “cisgender woman”, or “woman” to describe themself. “Cis” is a Latin prefix meaning “on the same side of” and is useful in naming one’s position of power and privilege.

Domestic Violence

Describes a systematic pattern of abusive behaviours within in a domestic setting, such as in marriage or cohabitation.

The abusive behaviours exist within a context where the purpose is to gain and maintain power and control.

Family Violence

Describes a systematic pattern of abusive behaviours within a relationship that is characterized by intimacy, dependency and/or trust.

The abusive behaviours exist within a context where the purpose is to gain power and control.


Gender is each person’s internal and individual experience of gender.

It’s a person’s sense of being a woman, a man, both, neither, or anywhere along the gender spectrum. A person’s gender identity may be the same as or different from their birth-assigned sex.

Gender diverse

A person whose gender and/or expression, whether by nature or by choice, does not align with the gender-based expectations for their sex assigned at birth.

A gender diverse person may use the words non-binary, gender variant, gender non-conforming, gender creative, genderqueer, agender, multigender, pangender, trans, demigender, or other self-determined terms to describe their gender(s).

Gender Expression

The external display of one’s gender through a combination of dress, demeanor, and social behavior, often measured on spectra of masculinity and femininity.

Also referred to as “gender presentation.”

Gender-Based Violence

Gender-Based Violence is the abuse of power over another person, because of their gender or gender identity.

Gender-based violence includes violence against women and girls, as well as violence against LGBTQ2S (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and two-spirited) and gender-nonconforming people. Gender-based violence is used to enforce binary understandings of gender (men/women) that fail to recognize the diversity of genders and perpetuate gender hierarchies that maintain unequal power relations.


Genderqueer (GQ), also termed non-binary (NB), is a catch-all category for gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine; ‌identities which are thus outside the gender binary and cisnormativity.

Genderqueer people may express a combination of masculinity and femininity, or neither, in their gender expression.

Gender expression is how a person publicly expresses or presents their gender. This can include behaviour and outward appearance such as dress, hair, make-up, body language and voice. A person’s chosen name and pronoun are also common ways of expressing gender. Others perceive a person’s gender through these attributes.

Gender non-conforming individuals do not follow gender stereotypes based on the sex they were assigned at birth and may or may not identify as trans.


Intersectionality is the idea that multiple identities including but not limited to race, class, gender, sexuality, and nationality are interconnected, and deeply influence one’s experience of the world.

Most people will experience some privilege based on certain elements of their identity, and be marginalized based on other elements of their identity. For example, although they have a shared experience of being gay, intersectionality tells us that a gay black man who grew up in poverty will have a very different experience of the world than a white gay man who uses a wheelchair, and that each of these people experiences a different set of privileges and oppressions.

Sex assigned at birth

Assigning an infant as male, female, or intersex based on the appearance of external genitalia at birth.

In our colonial cultural context, the gender of a person (i.e. “boy” or “girl”, “man” or “woman”) and the associated behaviours and expectations for those genders is often assumed and socially enforced based on our perception of their sex assigned at birth.

Sexual orientation

The type of sexual, romantic, emotional/spiritual attraction one feels for others, often labeled based on the gender relationship between the person and the people they are attracted to.

Examples of descriptors for sexual orientations include “queer,” “lesbian,” “gay,” “bisexual,” “heterosexual” or “straight,” “asexual,” and “pansexual,” among others. LGBT2SQIA+: an abbreviation that refers to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transexual, two-spirit, queer, intersex, agender/asexual community. The + symbol acknowledges that there are many more genders, sexes, and orientations beyond those captured in the acronym.

Sexual Violence

Sexual violence is a broad term which includes sexual assault, sexual harassment, street harassment, relationship violence, sexual abuse and stalking.

While each of these types of violence may look different, they all involve an attack on a person’s sense of self, their sexuality, their body and/or their feeling of safety. It can happen to anyone of any gender and of any sexual orientation.

Social Norms

The often unspoken rules or behaviors that are considered acceptable in a group or society.


A widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.


This is short

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A person whose gender and sex assigned at birth do not align according to dominant social narratives.

Someone who is assigned male at birth and identifies as a woman/feminine-of-centre may use the terms “trans woman”, “transgender woman”, “transfeminine”, “MtF”, “woman”, or other options to describe themself. Someone who is assigned female at birth and identifies as man/masculine-of-centre may use the terms “trans man”, “transgender man”, “transmasculine”, “FtM”, “man”, or other options to describe themself. Trans people may also identify outside of the gender binary. “Trans” is a Latin prefix meaning “on the ‘opposite’ side of”, “between”, or “beyond.”


Some individuals will seek some form(s) of medical treatment such as counselling, hormone therapy, electrolysis, and gender-affirming surgery(ies) that enable the person’s body to be more congruent and in harmony with their felt sense of self, or for social safety reasons, among others.

Transition may also include changes in presentation, pronouns, name, and gender markers. Trans identities and experiences are valid and complete regardless of what steps (if any) are taken to ‘transition.’


Pre-contact, many Indigenous communities acknowledged more than two genders and had terms in their own languages to describe these identities and experiences.

Through the residential school system, colonialism violently erased these roles and the language that described them by enforcing a Western European patriarchal gender binary. Today the term “two spirit” or “two-spirited”, which describes the presence of both a masculine and feminine spirit in one person, is used by some Indigenous people to identify their queer sexual orientation, transgender/non-binary identity, and/or intersex status.

The term “two spirit” allows the Indigenous person to speak to their experience in the context of their cultural identity, and to resist the colonial definitions of gender and sexuality.


Any sort of aggression or limitation of a person's human rights.

Includes financial abuse, isolation [friends/family/kids], sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional & psychological abuse.