Language Matters First

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No doubt you are getting as excited as we are about Laverne Cox coming to Hamilton on March 26th!

Acknowledging that we are all learning and un-learning, we will be releasing a series of blog posts exploring the identity of trans woman. We are going to be featuring and reviewing resources for continued learning, highlighting local trans talent and more.

Language is so important for opening space for freedom of identity. Let’s start with defining some terms.

Trans:

An umbrella term for a person who experiences their gender identity in a way that does not match the societal expectations of someone with the physical sex characteristics that they were born with.

Two-Spirit:

A complex and highly nuanced term used by some Aboriginal people. The term is often used to refer to an Aboriginal person having both a male and a female spirit. This can relate to sexual orientation and gender identity, meaning that it may encompass people across the LGBT spectrum. Many Aboriginal cultures had significant and honoured roles for two-spirit people. These roles were specific to different Indigenous cultures. With colonialism came transphobia and homophobia; the term two-spirit is used by some to reclaim the value of two-spirit identities.

Passing:

The ability of someone who is part of a marginalized group to be perceived as part of the dominant group. For trans women, this means being perceived as a cis woman.

Privilege:

Unearned advantages granted to some members of society, but not others, that is based on their social location (class, gender, race, health status etc).

Cisgender:

A person who experiences their gender identity in a way that matches the societal expectations of someone with the physical sex characteristics that they were born with. Often shortened to cis, the use of this term acknowledges that everyone has a gender identity which has a relationship to their assigned sex.

Ref: The 519’s Equity Glossary of Terms: http://www.cfcollaborative.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/The-519s-Equity-Glossary-of-Terms-Oct-21-11.pdf

Curious about the Trans Pride Flag? You should check out it’s history.

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