What’s in a word?

What does “queer” mean?

In an effort to bring together sexually and gender diverse communities, the word “queer” is a non-exhaustive umbrella term for all experiences outside of a cis-heteronormative experience of gender and sexuality. “Queer” is a reclaimed word that is defined as “rare” or “deviating from the expected or normal.” “Queer” was primarily used as a derogatory slang term against homosexuals in the 19th and 20th centuries, and has been increasingly used with pride since the 1980’s.

A reclaimed word is a word that was formerly used as a slur but that has been proudly and defiantly taken back in its original meaning by members of the maligned group. “Queer” is an example of a word undergoing this process. Reclaimed words can be offensive to the in-group when used by outsiders, so be considerate and ask questions concerning the use of a reclaimed word if you are not a member of the group that uses it. For example, not all people who fall under the umbrella of queer have reclaimed the word for themselves and prefer to identify within a more specific category (ie: gay, lesbian, trans, bi, Two-Spirit).

We recognize that not everybody is comfortable with the use of queer, nor does it capture perfectly the diversity of our community. That being said, we have chosen to employ the term as an imperfect means to talk about the community in broad terms.

Queer includes gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, Two-Spirit, asexual, demi-romantic, pansexual, intersex, androgynous, genderqueer, genderfluid, gender creative, gender non-conforming, and polyamorous identities.

What does “trans” mean?

CampOUT! uses the term trans to be inclusive of people who overlap (or move beyond) rigid gender definitions and the gender binary.  Trans and transgender can also include people whose gender identity does not match their assigned sex at birth.  Trans does not imply a sexual orientation and some trans folks do not identify as queer. Gender non-conforming describes people whose gender expression differs from stereotypical expectations based on their perceived sex .

CampOUT! uses the term “trans” to be inclusive of transgender, transsexual, Two-Spirit, trans-identified, non-binary, intersex, androgynous, bi-gender, crossdressing, genderqueer, genderfluid, and gender creative folks.

What does “Two-Spirit” mean?

Two-Spirit is an umbrella term that includes gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans and gender non-conforming identities/ Two-Spiritis what the “2S” stands for in LGBTQ2S. The term was intertribally adopted in Winnipeg during a gathering in the early 1990’s. Traditionally, people who were Two-Spirit were thought as being “born in balance” and held specific roles within their communities. The term is an act of resistance against settler colonial forms of sex/gender, meaning that only Indigenous people can identify as being Two-Spirit. (Definition adopted from the Montreal Urban Aboriginal Community Strategy Network‘s Indigenous Ally Toolkit)

What does “ally” mean?

Allies may identify as straight/heterosexual and/or cisgender (people who do not identify with a gender diverse experience). They are identified as allies by queer and trans communities because of their ongoing commitment to challenging homophobia and cissexism. At CampOUT! we strive to provide opportunities for folks to engage with allyship across all axes of diversity (such as gender, race, sexuality, class, ability, religion, and experience).

What does “intersectionality” mean?

Intersectionality is a term that describes how a number of social variables (such as gender, race, sexuality, class, and ability) intersect when considering our lived experiences and relationships with privilege and oppression. Black civil rights advocate Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw coined the term when she noticed that anti-discrimination laws often failed to address overlapping forms of discrimination – such as simultaneous homophobia and racism – and wanted to come up with an accessible way to explain how folks with different identities have different experiences with power structures.

What does “QTIMBIPOC” mean?

An acronym for queer, trans, intersex, mixed-race, Black, Indigenous, people of colour.  QTIMBIPOC often experience intersecting oppressions on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation and other factors.

What does “settler” mean?

This term is used to describe people whose ancestors migrated to Canada and who still benefit from the ongoing settler-colonialism across the land. This could be also applied to “settlers of colour” but doesn’t apply when referring to people who are descendants of slaves, considering they did not come to this continent willingly. Keep in mind the various intersections of a person’s identity and how this translates into the types of privileges they are either afforded or withheld. (Definition adopted from the Montreal Urban Aboriginal Community Strategy Network‘s Indigenous Ally Toolkit)

So if CampOUT! is for queer, trans, Two-Spirit, and allied youth, what does that mean? Basically, it means that CampOUT! is for ANYONE interested in embracing gender and sexual diversity, equity, and social change!