Glossary

Biphobia

Hatred, fear, intolerance, disapproval, or disgust toward bisexual people. Biphobia is dangerous because it frequently leads to discrimination and violence against people who are, or are perceived to be, bisexual. Biphobia can be both individual and systemic, and it is practiced by various institutions in society. It can be shown through language, behaviour, formal policy, etc. Biphobia can come from the LGBTQ+ community just as much as from anywhere else in society.

Discrimination

This means "treating someone unfairly by either imposing a burden on them, or denying them a privilege, benefit or opportunity enjoyed by others, because of their race, citizenship, family status, disability, sex or other personal characteristics (note: this is not a legal definition)."

Source: Ontario Human Rights Commission, Teaching Human Rights in Ontario - A Guide for Ontario Schools, 2013, Appendix I - Glossary of Human Rights Terms.

Format and Language

When we talk about communicating with people "in a format and language that they can understand," we mean that we use multiple formats to reach people with varying (dis)abilities, and we use multiple languages to reach people with limited English proficiency. One example of this is making sure to communicate information verbally to reach people who have visual impairments or low English literacy skills, rather than relying ONLY on a sign or poster.

Contact the OCASI Accessibility Initiative for tips and resources on communicating through diverse formats.

Contact the OCASI Positive Spaces Initiative for Positive Space postcards in up to 11 different languages.

Gender Expression

How one conveys gender, typically through appearance, dress, mannerisms, etc. Gender expression is read based on cultural norms, and varies in different places and contexts.

For more information, please visit the full Glossary of Terms.

Gender Identity

One’s innate sense, understanding, and experience of one’s own gender, whether it be femaleness, maleness, a mix of the two, or something else entirely. Gender identity does not necessarily have anything to do with physical sex characteristics. Transgender, transsexual, bi-gender, hijra, muxe, sworn virgin, third gender, and sometimes two-spirit are all terms related to gender identity.

For more information, please visit the full Glossary of Terms.

harassment

This means "engaging in a course of comments or actions that are known, or ought reasonably to be known, to be unwelcome. It can involve words or actions that are known or should be known to be offensive, embarrassing, humiliating, demeaning or unwelcome."

Learn more about the Ontario Human Rightsinfo-icon Code's prohibited/protected grounds (i.e. the grounds upon which it is illegal to harass someone).

Source: Ontario Human Rights Commission, Teaching Human Rights in Ontario - A Guide for Ontario Schools, 2013, Appendix I - Glossary of Human Rights Terms.

Homophobia

Hatred, fear, intolerance, disapproval, or disgust toward gays and lesbians. Homophobia is dangerous because it frequently leads to discrimination and violence against people who are, or are perceived to be, homosexual. Homophobia is frequently used as an umbrella term to include biphobia, transphobia, and attitudes leading to the oppression of LGBTQ+ people in general. Homophobia can be both individual and systemic, and it is practiced by various institutions in society. It can be shown through language, behaviour, formal policy, etc.

Human Rights

The Ontario Human Rights Code prohibits actions that discriminate against people based on a protected ground (including sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression) in a protected social area (including employment, housing, and provision of services). For more information, please visit the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

Inclusive Language

This means avoiding making assumptions, and choosing our words carefully to allow for the widest range of possibilities. For example, we use the word “partner” instead of gendered words such as “husband/boyfriend” or “wife/girlfriend, ” we do not assume to know the gender identityinfo-icon or preferred pronouns/titles of anyone who walks in the door, and we are careful to use inclusive terms in every language that we offer services in.

LGBTQ+

This is an acronym that refers to the entire spectrum of sexual and gender diversity (beyond heterosexual and cisgender).

L = Lesbian
G = Gay
B = Bisexual
T = Trans / Transgender / Transsexual
T = Two-Spirit
Q = Queer
Q = Questioning
'+' seeks to include all other identities such as Intersex, Asexual, Pansexual, Genderqueer, etc.

For more information, please visit the full Glossary of Terms.

Sexual Orientation

An innately-felt sexual or romantic attraction, either primarily or exclusively, toward members of a particular sex or gender identity. Examples include gay, lesbian, bisexual, heterosexual, pansexual, and asexual.

For more information, please visit the full Glossary of Terms.

Transphobia

Hatred, fear, intolerance, disapproval, or disgust toward trans / transgender / transsexual people. Transphobia is dangerous because it frequently leads to discrimination and violence against people who are, or are perceived to be, trans. Transphobia can be both individual and systemic, and it is practiced by various institutions in society. It can be shown through language, behaviour, formal policy, etc. Transphobia can come from the LGBTQ+ community just as much as from anywhere else in society.