aerial photo of the campus in the fall season


The following is a list of key social justice terms and definitions. It is by no means a comprehensive list as the dialogue around equity, diversity, and inclusion is broad and continuously evolving, but it is a good place to start.


Two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual.  The plus sign acknowledges the many sexual and gender minority people who don't see themselves in the umbrella acronym and prefer other identity terms such as pansexual, gender-free, or intersex.

A person who does not identify with any gender, or who does not experience gender.

Someone who does not experience sexual attraction for other individuals. Asexuality can be considered a spectrum, with some asexual people experiencing desire for varying types of physical intimacy. This desire may fluctuate over time. Asexual people experience high levels of invisibility, trivialization, and pathologization. Alternatives: Ace.

An individual attracted to, and may form relationships with at least two genders. Some bisexual people describe being bi as being attracted to men and women; some bi people consider it being attracted to their own and other genders. A bi person may feel equally attracted to each gender or may experience stronger attractions to one gender while still having feelings for another; this ratio of attraction may vary over time.

A term under the trans umbrella that refers to people who identify outside the male-female binary.

General term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with reproductive or sexual anatomy, genetic makeup, or hormonal levels that do not seem to fit the 'typical' definitions of male or female. 'Intersex' has replaced the term 'hermaphrodite', which is widely considered to be outdated, inaccurate and offensive. An intersex person may or may not identify as part of the trans community, however the terms' intersex', 'transsexual' and 'trans' are distinct and should not be used interchangeably.

A woman who is primarily attracted to women. The term originates from the name of the Greek island of Lesbos which was home to Sappho, a poet, teacher, and a woman who loved other women. See also: Gay; Queer

Non-Binary (NB)
A continuum or spectrum of gender identities and expressions, often based on the rejection of the gender binary assumption that gender is strictly an either/or option of male/men or female/women, based on sex assigned at birth. Non-binary can be both a specific term of identification and/or an umbrella term.

Refers to people who identify and/or express the many shades of gender. See also: Agender; Gender Non-Conforming; Genderqueer; Non-Binary

An individual attracted to and may form relationships with any or all genders. See also: Bisexual/Biromantic.

A term becoming more widely used among LGBTQ2S+ communities because of its inclusiveness. ‘Queer’ can be used to refer to the spectrum of non-heterosexual and/or non-cisgender people and provides convenient shorthand for ‘LGBTQ.’ It is important to note that this is a reclaimed term that was once and is still used as a hate term and thus some people feel uncomfortable with it. Not all trans people see trans identities as being part of the term ‘queer,’ and it is important to acknowledge the different histories of queer and trans communities.

A term sometimes used by those in the process of exploring personal ideas of sexual orientation and gender identity as well as choosing not to identify with any other label.

Transgender (Trans, Trans*)
Transgender, frequently abbreviated to ‘trans,’ is an umbrella term for a wide range of experiences and identities for people whose gender does not match the gender they were assigned at birth.

Two Spirit
Two Spirit Indigenous people were the first sexual and gender minority people in North America. Two Spirit is a term to describe people with diverse gender identities, gender expressions, gender roles, and sexual orientations. Two-Spirit people have been and are viewed differently across different Indigenous nations. Two-Spirit people were included and respected in most Indigenous communities, sometimes considered sacred and highly-revered. They often took on important roles as healers, mediators, and warriors.