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your inner sense of self

lesbian • gay • bisexual • queer • two-spirit • trans • asexual • questioning • etc.

 

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YOUR GENDER

The way that you feel on the inside. Some people are comfortable with the gender identity they were assigned at birth, but if not that is okay! Sometimes a person born with male sex characteristics will feel more like a girl or vice versa. Some people identify as both male and female, and others don’t identify as either - and that is okay too.
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IN - BETWEEN

People feel more comfortable fitting things into categories such as “white vs black”. But there is a spectrum of grey in between white and black. It is the same with gender: not as simple as just boy/girl, there is a whole lot of stuff in between.

LGBTQ+ Terminology

NOTE: this is not a full list of terms, and people may define their individual identities differently defined than what is written here. A person who identifies as transgender might not fit exactly into the definition outlined.

Cisgender

Someone who is comfortable identifying with the gender they were assigned at birth

Gender dysphoria

Distress a person feels as a result of the sex and gender they were assigned at birth. Not all people who identify as a gender different from their sex will experience gender dysphoria.

Transgender

Someone who identifies with another gender than what they were assigned at birth. Identifying as transgender can be a social transition and does not need any surgical/medical intervention.

Transsexual

A person who is assigned one sex at birth, yet goes through steps to achieve the desired sex. A transsexual person may experience gender discomfort (“gender dysphoria”) and is typically driven to change their physical sex. This may include sex reassignment surgery (SRS), sex hormone therapy, and electrolysis.

Genderfluid

Someone who prefers to be fluid in the gender spectrum

Ally

Someone who prefers to be fluid in the gender spectrum

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GENDER EXPRESSION

Show your gender any way you want to, any day that you want to
Being a guy does not have to mean being “masculine”, or following specific rules that say how a guy is supposed to behave. You get to make your own rules about what kind of person you are going to be, and everyone (whether cis or trans) expresses gender identity differently!
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CLOTHING

Can play a huge part in your gender identity, and changing your appearance can help you live as the gender you identify with. Try different clothes and wear what makes you feel most comfortable.

Transitioning

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TRANSITIONING

Transitioning is about matching the gender you feel inside. This can involve changing things like:
Appearance (hair, clothes etc.).
Body.
Pronoun (he, she, they, ze, zir).
Which bathroom you use.
Identification documents (health card, birth certificate, etc.).

Ways of Transitioning

Transitioning can happen in many ways. You might not choose to apply all these changes, and your experience will be totally unique to someone else’s. Many people who are transgender undergo a social change but don’t undergo medical treatment to change their biological sex, whereas others feel more comfortable if they do.

Experimenting with gender → Changing your pronouns/name → Hormones → Surgery

For more information on transitioning stages, visit: kidshelpphone.ca/article/big-changes-gender-identity-and-transitioning

For help finding how you can get medical help transitioning (hormones and/or surgery) contact your doctor or 211 right on this site

“Coming Out”

Facilitating conversation with family │friends │ the public.

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“COMING OUT”

Is when LGBTQ+ people tell others their gender identity or sexual orientation. People come out for many different reasons such as:
Celebrating who they are │ Relieve the stress of hiding who they are │ To find a community.
Not all people will reveal their true identity because of feelings of guilt, shame, anxiety/fear of rejection or violence.

The first step of coming out is feeling comfortable with your gender identity/sexuality, no matter what it may mean to others.
It is important that people can come out on their own terms. This is a unique experience for everyone. It might be harder for some and easier for others, depending on who they are coming out to. LGBTQ+ people don’t just come out once: every time they meet someone they have to decide whether or not to come out.
Try to remember it may have taken you a long time to come to terms with your sexual orientation and/or gender identity, so others may need a bit of space to take it in too.

LINKS

kidshelpphone.ca/article/identifying-lgbtq-and-coming-out 
sexandu.ca/lgbttq/coming-out

For family and friends of LGBTQ+ people:
If you are looking for information on how to be supportive to someone coming out to you visit: sendtherightmessage.ca/coming-out.

A trans-specific resource for family/friends: Families in TRANSition.

Canadian national organization for providing resources to people who are LGBTQ+, and those struggling with a loved one going through a gender identity or sexual orientation journey: pflagcanada.ca

For LGBTQ+ support (both individual and group workshops) for youth and family, visit gilbertcentre.ca/youth-and-family-programs

Connecting with your community:

a hub where you can feel safe

Everybody finds their community. Whether you are in school, on a sports team, or in a club, you have your own group of people with similar experiences that you can relate to. The same goes for LGBTQ+ people: it is important to have a community to turn to, who can understand what you might be experiencing.

The LGBTQ+ community is big and proud! 211 or the Kids Help Phone can help you connect to resources in your area, so you can start building a sense of community. There are also a lot of LGBTQ+ forums online where you can ask questions or just talk with people who have had similar experiences as you.

For gender diverse and trans people looking for individual support, workshops, events or social groups visit: gilbertcentre.ca/gender-diverse-and-trans-program

For LGBTQ+ support (both individual and group workshops) for youth and family visit: gilbertcentre.ca/youth-and-family-programs

Trusted allies in schools

ALLIES IN SCHOOL

Many people in the LGBTQ+ community feel anxious telling people at school who they are, for fear of rejection or harassment. Make sure you have a community of people that have your back to help you feel safer coming out at school. Everybody has a right to choose whether or not they want to come out, but there are resources in place at schools to help trans youth be themselves.

There are trusted adults at your school board that are there to make sure you feel comfortable and welcome in your own identity while at school. These people are called Inclusion Itinerant Teachers, and you can contact the Simcoe County equity and inclusion itinerant teachers at 705-734-6363, ext.11859.
What do they do?
They make sure the school board follows trans affirming policies such as:
Respecting student’s right to change their name and pronouns.
Be able to use the restroom of their choosing, if there is no gender neutral option.

You can get in contact with your inclusion itinerant teacher (no legal documents required), or talk to a counsellor at your school or in your community for professional help on how to feel like yourself at school. If you don’t know where to start, contact 211 or the Kids Help Phone.

Visit Simcoe County District School Board’s guidebook for creating positive spaces for Trans students to see what schools are trying to do to make Trans students feel welcome.

 Mental Health support
LGBTQ+ youth suffer from higher than average rates of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. This is often because they don’t feel accepted as themselves. It is important to reach out for help if you are struggling with your gender identity │sexuality journey.

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WHO CAN I TALK TO?

A trusted friend or family member.
Your doctor.
A mental health counsellor.
Online LGBTQ+ forums.
A Kids Help Phone Counsellor.
211 Representative.

Tel:211 free helpline 24 │7
Chat option coming soon