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2SLGBTQIA+ Terminology Guide

SPECTRUM's New 2023 2SLGBTQIA+ Terminology Reference Guide

The continuing evolution of our cultural understanding of gender and sexuality can sometimes make it difficult for non-2SLGBTQIA+ people who want to be respectful to avoid using terms that are outdated and possibly offensive. So SPECTRUM is here to help!

Our new 2SLGBTQIA+ Terminology Reference and Media Reference Tool covers a range of 2SLGBTQIA+ topics – from 101 terms to use and terms to avoid to 301 discussions of more complex topics. And while this guide is intended for writers, marketers, and event organizers – it can serve as a basic education resource for anyone who wants to understand what language is most respectful when describing people who experience marginalizations that they do not share.

This guide was created for people in Canada and the United States, and may not reflect the preferences and identities of 2SLGBTQIA+ people outside of those countries. As with any type of language, terms change and shift over time as our understanding grows and evolves. It’s likely that some of the language in this guide will fall out of favor in the future which is why the later sections of this guide go beyond terms and definitions by explaining harmful 2SLGBTQIA+ narratives and demonstrating how they cause harm.

What’s Included in the Guide

  • 101 topics: Terminology and definitions, as well as usage dos and don’ts
  • 201 topics: The word “queer”, pronouns and singular they, non-binary versus trans, Two/2-Spirit, Bisexuality and Pansexuality, and the “gender critical” movement
  • 301 topics: Specific guidance for writing stories about 2SLGBTQIA+ people, polyamory, and drag

In the interest of making sure that this guide is widely used, the guide is free and doesn’t require any personal information to download.

Click here to download your copy

Print copies are available at Spectrum

Additional Resources

Visit our Resources page for additional educational resources, as well as historical resources and research.

SPECTRUM offers a safe place where 2SLGBTQ+ individuals can be themselves and find community and supports.