“Woke” Glossary

Terminology relating to experiences of race:
(last updated August 26, 2020)

  • BIPOC – Acronym for ‘Black, Indigenous, and people of colour’. It is most often used in white-majority, former British colonies such as Canada, the US, Australia, and New Zealand. This term is less used/has different understandings in places like Europe, Asia, and Africa where the concepts and terminology of “indigeneity”, “blackness” and being “coloured” may be understood or contextualized differently.
    • QTBIPOC – Acronym for ‘queer and/or trans Black, Indegnous, and people of colour’. Meaning people who are in the BIPOC umbrella but who are also queer and/or trans. (Queer in this context is meant to absorb the breath of non-cis and non-heteronormative gender and sexual orientation)
  • Racialized – The process of becoming marked as an Other based on one’s projected racial identity. I.e. Prakash and Kristen becoming brown and Black, respectively, in a Canadian context, but who are part of the majority in their respective ancestral lands and therefore only become racialized (assigned a race based on skin colour) elsewhere.
  • Marginalized – The process of becoming Othered based on any (or multiple) factors excluding a person from the group with the most socio-political-economic power. Such factors are context-specific, but generally include markers such as race, gender (non-men), education, class, caste, (dis)ability, and employment, incarceration, and citizenship statuses.
  • KKKanada & AmeriKKKa – Shorthand used to signal to the white supremacist origins of the founding of the nation-states, Canada and America. The KKK is a far-right, white supremacist hate group, founded in the USA that has spread to Canada and beyond that has been responsible for the lynching of Black people and other horrific hate crimes. Activities tracing back to them in Canada have been as recent as 2017.

Terminology relating to experiences of gender:

  • Cisgender and Transgender (cis & trans) – Identifying with the gender (or spectrum of gender) that was assigned at birth = cis or cisgender. Not identifying with said gender = trans or transgender.
  • Nonbinary (enby) – An umbrella term for folks who do not identify with the binary male/female gender identity options.
  • Transman/Trans-masculine – A person who was assigned female at birth but who identities as a man or as a masculine nonbinary gender identity = transman or trans-masculine, respectively.
  • Transwoman/Trans-feminine – A person who was assigned male at birth but who identities as a woman or as a feminine nonbinary gender identity = transwoman or trans-feminine, respectively.
  • Womxn – The word “women” with the ‘x’ signifying an inclusion of all feminine gender experiences. Note that this is a contested term with some suggesting that “women” already embodies this. Variations that are even more contested or that have fallen out of use include womyn, wimmin, womban.
  • Femme – Could be used as a noun or adjective describe a queer person with a feminine gender identity.
  • Two-Spirit – An umbrella term used by various Indigenous peoples in the Americas to describe non-binary/non-Western gender identities. Note this term should only be used by Indigenous people to self-identify. Different First Nations, tribes, and communities have different terminology in their own languages to specify their identities and experiences.
  • Gender fluid/creative/non conforming/queer/variant – Varying ways of expressing a nonbinary gender identity. Often signaling that not only is the person’s identity neither male nor female, but their gender presentation or expression may also be varying.
  • Third Gender – A social category in which a person is recognized (by themselves, the community, or the state) as being neither male nor female. Recognized third genders around the world: trans/enby folks in the West, the Hijra in India, kathoey in Thailand, etc.
  • Latinx / Filipinx – The ‘x’s are used as gender-inclusive replacements for the gendered -a/-o suffixes in Latina/Latino, Filipina/Filipino.