Glossary of Terms & Definitions

Ableism is discrimination in favor of able-bodied people.

Ageism is discrimination on grounds of age.

Bias in an inclination, opinion, or preference formed without any reasonable justification. Bias is reflected in a person’s prejudices or attitudes towards a different race, class, gender, cultural background, etc. and can often result in unfair treatment of individuals or groups.

Bigotry refers to the character or conduct of intolerance towards another’s beliefs, religion, race, sex, mental or physical ability or sexual orientation.

Bisexuality refers to a person emotionally, romantically or sexually attracted to more than one sex, gender or gender identity though not necessarily simultaneously, in the same way or to the same degree.

Bystander refers to any individual who observes violence or witnesses the conditions that perpetuate violence. They are not directly involved, but have the choice to intervene, speak up, or do something about it.

Cisgender is used to describe a person whose gender identity matches the sex assigned at birth.

Cissexism is discrimination against a person who does not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth.

Classism is discrimination on grounds of socio-economic status. 

Discrimination is when prejudice and bias move from a state of opinion or mind to action. Discrimination means to treat a person or group differently or negatively because of prejudice and bias. This can take on many different forms such as harassment, unequal pay or benefits, unequal conditions or service provisions, to hate propaganda.

Gender is the range of physical, mental, and behavioural characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between, masculinity and femininity (ex. woman, man, transgender, or other).

Gender Expression is any and all mannerisms and personal traits, which serve to communicate a person’s identity and personality as they relate to gender identity and gender roles. It is how a person expresses their gender to others. 

Gender Identity is a person’s private sense, and subjective experience, of their own gender. It is a person’s self-identification of their gender.

Gender Non-conforming is a term used to describe some people whose gender expression is different from conventional expectations of masculinity and femininity.

Harassment can take the form of physical, visual, or verbal conduct that is unwelcome, discriminatory, involves intimidation or an abuse of power, and denies the respect and dignity of an individual.

Hate/Bias Crime is a criminal offence committed against a person or property which is motivated by the suspect’s hate, prejudice, or bias against an identifiable group based on race, religion, sex, gender, age, mental or physical ability, sexual orientation, or any other similar factor (as defined in section 718.2 of the Criminal Code of Canada).

Hate/Bias Incidents are those actions that are not criminal in nature and may be covered by the Human Rights Code of Canada.

Healthism is the narrow conceptualization of health; being healthy is attributed to merely an individual’s choices rather than examining the various social determinants and systemic injustice affecting one’s health.

Heterosexism is discrimination based on the belief that heterosexuality (opposite-sex sexuality) is the only acceptable and normal sexual orientation.

Homophobia is a fear or hatred of homosexuals or homosexuality.

Intolerance is not allowing or enduring differences in opinions, teaching, worship, lifestyle, etc.

Islamophobia is a dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims, especially as a political force.

LGBTQ is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer and/or questioning.

Perpetrator refers to a person who carries out a harmful, illegal, or immoral act.

Prejudice (Bias) means to ‘pre-judge’ and is an attitude towards a person or group. When applied to racism, prejudice refers to beliefs or attitudes about an individual or group based on negative or positive stereotyping. Internalizing prejudice leads to bias, which is a predisposition to build on stereotypes. Together prejudice and bias form the motivation for discrimination. Prejudice and bias are a state of mind and there are no laws to prohibit them.

Privilege is a special advantage, immunity, permission, right, or benefit granted to or enjoyed by an individual, class, or caste.

Propaganda is the systematic propagation of a doctrine or cause or information reflecting the views and interests of those advocating such a doctrine or cause.

Racism refers to a set of beliefs that asserts the superiority of one ‘racial’ group over another (at the individual as well as institutional level), and through which individuals or groups of people exercise power that abuses or disadvantages others on the basis of skin colour and racial or ethnic heritage.

Individual Racism is any action or practice which denies equality to any person because of their race, religion, ethnicity, or culture.

Systemic Racism refers to the social and organizational structures, including policy and practices, which whether intentionally or unintentionally exclude, limit, and discriminate against individuals not part of the traditional dominant group. Systemic racism is most often an unconscious by-product of ethnocentrism and unexamined privilege.

Racialization is to differentiate or categorize according to race and to impose a racial character or context on.

Relevant Service Providers are service providers that offer services and resources that are directly related or useful in the event of a hate crime or critical incident involving discrimination.

Sex is the biological distinction between male and female.

Sexism is the discrimination on the grounds of sex.

Stereotype is a false or generalized conception of a group of people which results in the unconscious or conscious categorization of each member of the group, without regard for individual differences. Stereotyping may relate to race, age; ethnicity, linguistic, religious, geographical, or national groups; social, marital, or family status; physical, developmental, or mental attributes; and/or gender.

Transgender is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth.

Transphobia is the fear and hatred of, or discomfort with, transgender people.

Witness (see Bystander) 

Xenophobia is the fear of other people, groups, or cultures that are different from one’s own. The term is usually used to describe the phenomena where the dominant group of a country feels fear of ‘foreigners’, their customs, and culture.

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