LGBTQ2S+ is an acronym that stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning and Two-Spirit. The acronym refers to the spectrum of sexual and gender identities that are not cisgender and heterosexual.
Gender is comprised of a person’s physical and genetic traits, their own sense of gender identity, and their gender expression. Given the numerous combinations that these factors can create, gender is best understood as a spectrum. While many people fall into masculine or feminine categories, others fall somewhere in the middle and are more androgynous. Ultimately, each person is in the best position to define their own place on the gender spectrum.
Sex refers to the physical attributes and characteristics that are used to assign someone as male or female at birth.
Sexual orientation describes a person’s sexual or romantic attraction, while gender identity refers to someone’s own sense of being male, female, both, or neither. Everyone has both a gender identity and a sexual orientation.
Although there are MANY ways to support gender and sexually diverse youth, below are a few tips that I hope may be helpful for readers.
Use Preferred Pronouns. Ask individuals how they want to be identified and use the pronouns that they prefer. If you aren’t sure of what pronouns someone uses-ask! It is ok to make mistakes.
Avoid a ‘fixed’ mindset. Be respectful of where a young person is in terms of their gender identity and keep in mind that there is no “correct” developmental trajectory. It is possible that an individual’s gender identity may shift or change as they grow older.
Have compassion. It is important to recognize that many LGBTQ2S+ youth struggle with feelings of shame about who they are. If you see an opportunity to challenge that narrative in conversations with young people and encourage self-acceptance and celebration of their unique strengths, take it. Offering support and letting someone know you care about them and are there for them goes a long way.
Educate Yourself. Be aware of the issues and challenges faced by gender and sexual minorities, such as bullying, discrimination and harassment. Below is a list of resources for readers who may want to learn more.
The UR Pride Centre for Sexuality and Gender Diversity: provides services and programming for the entire community of Regina.
Trevor Space: This international community is the world’s largest social networking site for LGBTQ+ youth. On Trevor Space you can create a custom profile, join a discussion forum and connect with people who are going through similar experiences.
The Trevor Project: Offering a wealth of information to LGBTQ+ youth and allies, the Trevor Support Center answers frequently asked questions on topics such as gender identity and sexual orientation. You’ll also find the coming out handbook and resources for trans youth.
Gender Spectrum: This is an inclusive space for all LGBTQ+ youth. From resources and online consulting to online groups for teens and family members, they provide a community rooted in understanding and inclusion.
Pflag Canada is a national charitable organization, founded by parents who wished to help themselves and their family members understand and accept their LGBTQ2S children.
Flamingo Rampant: Children’s picture books that show LGBT2Q+ kids, families and communities that are full of fun, celebration, adventure, shenanigans and lots of love.
Written by Registered Psychologist (provisional) with Wildflowers, Kerri Hill