Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Taskforce

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Glossary of Terms

Some of the following definitions were adapted from: The 519’s Glossary of Terms: facilitating shared understandings around equity, diversity, inclusion and awareness, Aboriginal Self-Identification Project Final Report, the Policy and guidelines on racism and racial discrimination and the Policy on preventing discrimination because of gender identity and gender expression.

Anti-Black Racism: Prejudice, attitudes, beliefs, stereotyping and discrimination that is directed at people of African descent and is rooted in their unique history and experience of enslavement. Anti-Black racism is deeply entrenched in Canadian institutions, policies and practices, such that anti-Black racism is either functionally normalized or rendered invisible to the larger white society. Anti-Black racism is manifested in the legacy of the current social, economic, and political marginalization of African Canadians in society such as the lack of opportunities, lower socio-economic status, higher unemployment, significant poverty rates and overrepresentation in the criminal justice system. The stigma and stereotypes Black Ontarians and communities face have impacted public policies, decision-making and services. As a result, in nearly every measure of opportunity, security and fairness in our society, anti-Black racism is felt. (Source: Ontario’s 3-year Anti-Racism Strategic Plan, p.51)

Bisexual: A person who is emotionally, physically, spiritually and/or sexually attracted to people of more than one gender, though not necessarily at the same time.

Cis/Cisgender: A person whose gender identity is in alignment with the sex they were assigned at birth.


Disability: According to the Ontario Human Rights Code, disability is defined as:
a) any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, a brain injury, any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical co-ordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment, or physical reliance on a guide dog, wheelchair, or other remedial appliance or device;
b) a condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability;
c) a learning disability or dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language;
d) a mental disorder; or
e) an injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997.

First Nation: This term became common use in the 1970s to replace the word “Indian.” Although the term First Nation is widely used, no legal definition exists. The term has also been adopted to replace the word “Band” in the naming of communities. Many people today prefer to be called “First Nations” or “First Nations People” instead of “Indians.” The term First Nation includes all Indigenous people who are not Inuit or Métis, regardless of their legal status under the Indian Act.

Gay: A person whose enduring physical, romantic and/or emotional attractions are to people of the same gender. The word can refer to men or women, although some women prefer “lesbian.” Sometimes used as an umbrella term for the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, Queer) community.

Gaslighting: Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which a person or a group covertly sows seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or group, making them question their own memory, perception, or judgment, often evoking in them cognitive dissonance and other changes, including low self-esteem, thereby rendering the victim additionally dependent on the gaslighter for emotional support and validation. Using denial, misdirection, contradiction, and misinformation, gaslighting involves attempts to destabilize the victim and delegitimize the victim’s beliefs. Instances can range from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents occurred, to belittling the victim’s emotions and feelings, to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim. The goal of gaslighting is to gradually undermine the victim’s confidence in their own ability to distinguish truth from falsehood, right from wrong, or reality from delusion, thereby rendering the individual or group pathologically dependent on the gaslighter for their thinking and feelings. (Source: Wikipedia)

Gender Identity: Refers to each person’s internal and individual experience of gender. It is 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. For most people, their sex and gender identity align. For some, it does not. A person may be born male but identify as a woman, or born female but identify as a man. Other people may identify outside the categories of woman/man, or may see their gender identity as fluid and moving between different genders at different times in their life.

Genderqueer/Gender Non-conforming/Gender Variant: Individuals who do not follow gender stereotypes based on the sex they were assigned at birth. They may identify and express themselves as “feminine men” or “masculine women” or as androgynous, outside of the categories “boy/man” and “girl/woman.” People who are gender non-conforming may or may not identify as trans.

Heterosexual: A person who has romantic or sexual attractions to people of another gender.


Inuit: The Indigenous Peoples of Arctic Canada who live primarily in Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and northern parts of Labrador and Québec. The word Inuit means “people” in the Inuit language – Inuktitut. The singular of Inuit is Inuk. Their traditional languages, customs and cultures are distinctly different from those of the First Nations and Métis.

Learning/Working/Living Environment: Wherever a member of the College community attends for the purpose of learning, working and living, involving activities sanctioned by the College, including virtual environments within the Humber ecosystem, such as our Learning Management system (for example: Blackboard), and virtual social-based environments outside Humber College’s IT ecosystem, such as, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram.

Lesbian: A woman who is emotionally, physically, spiritually and/or sexually attracted to women.

Métis: The Métis are a distinct Indigenous people with a unique culture, language, and heritage. Their ancestral homeland includes Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, and the Northwest Territories. The term is used broadly to describe people with mixed First Nations and European ancestry who identify themselves as Métis, distinct from First Nations people, Inuit or non-Indigenous people.

Non-Status: Refers to people who identify as First Nations but are not recognized on the Indian Register maintained by the federal government of Canada.

Queer: Formerly derogatory slang term used to identify LGBT people. Some members of the LGBT community have embraced and reinvented this term as a positive and proud political identifier when speaking among and about themselves.

Racialized: According to the Ontario Human Rights Commission (2005), “When it is necessary to describe people collectively, the term “racialized person” or “racialized group” is preferred over "racial minority,” “visible minority," “person of colour" or “non-White” as it expresses race as a social construct rather than as a description based on perceived biological traits. Furthermore, these other terms treat “White” as the norm to which racialized persons are to be compared and have a tendency to group all racialized persons in one category, as if they are all the same” (p.12).

Status Indian: Refers to individuals who are eligible to have their names included on the Indian Register maintained by the federal government of Canada.

Tone Policing: Tone policing (also tone trolling, tone argument, and tone fallacy) is an ad hominem (personal attack) and anti-debate tactic based on criticizing a person for expressing emotion. Tone policing detracts from the validity of a statement by attacking the tone in which it was presented rather than the message itself. The notion of tone policing became widespread in U.S. social activist circles by the mid-2010s. It was widely disseminated in a 2015 comic issued by the Everyday Feminism website. Many activists argued that tone policing was regularly employed against feminist and Black Lives Matter advocates, criticizing the way that they presented their arguments rather than engaging with the arguments themselves. (Source: Wikpedia)

Trans: Umbrella term that describes people with diverse gender identities and gender expressions that do not conform to stereotypical ideas about what it means to be a girl/woman or boy/man in society. “Trans” can mean transcending beyond, existing between, or crossing over the gender spectrum. It includes but is not limited to people who identify as transgender, transsexual, cross dressers or gender non-conforming (gender variant or gender queer). Trans identities include people whose gender identity is different from the gender associated with their birth-assigned sex. Trans people may or may not undergo medically sup­portive treatments, such as hormone therapy and a range of surgical procedures, to align their bodies with their internally felt gender identity.

Transitioning: Refers to a host of activities that some trans people may pursue to affirm their gender identity. This may include changes to their name, sex designation, dress, the use of specific pronouns, and possibly medically supportive treatments such as hormone therapy, sex-reassignment surgery or other procedures. There is no checklist or average time for a transition process, and no universal goal or endpoint. Each person will decide what meets their needs.

Two-Spirit: The term used by Indigenous people to describe from a cultural perspective people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans or intersex. It is used to capture a concept that exists in many different Indigenous cultures and languages. For some, the term Two-Spirit describes a societal and spiritual role that people played within traditional societies, such as: mediators, keepers of certain ceremonies, transcending accepted roles of men and women, and filling a role as an established middle gender.