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The Definitions

Below are definitions of the lingo of commonly used words with respect to the fight for women's sex-based rights. In some cases we will find two definitions: one definition that is now being used by public bodies or activists ("Other definition") and the traditional definition that we are used to seeing that Women Matter Canada endorses ("Original definition").


Defined as: Someone who identifies with the societal expectations of their sex.

Our position: It is impossible for anyone to actually be cis as it does not take into account that the majority of people do not fall into stereotypical expectations depending on our sex. We reject having this label foisted upon us.

Cotton Ceiling

Other definition: The issue transwomen have with lesbian women do not want to have sexual or romantic relations with trans identified males.

Gay Man

Other definition: Someone who identifies as a man who is only attracted to people who identify as men.


Original definition: Males who are only attracted to other males.


Other definition: The sex you identify as.

Our definition: The expectations society has for how someone is supposed to conduct themselves based on that person's sex.

Gendered Language

Other definition: Language that enforces sexist stereotypes.

Original definition: Applying male or female terminology to things that are otherwise ambiguous (example: "mankind" instead of humankind).

Our definition: We use the original definition, or in the case of enforcing expected behaviours based on a person's sex, we use sexist language instead.

Genital Fetish

Other definition: The label placed on people who only have sexual and/or romantic relations with someone who biologically matches the sex they are attracted to (ie. males only being open to having sexual and/or romantic relations with females because they are heterosexual would be told they have a genital preference because they would not consider a trans identified male/transwoman).

Our position: Sexuality is innate and not a choice. Stating otherwise would imply that someone has a preference and would be open to being with someone who isn't the sex that person is attracted to.


Other definition: Someone who is attracted to someone who identifies as the opposite sex.


Original definition: Someone who is attracted solely to another person who is the opposite sex.


Other definition: Someone who identifies as a woman who is only attracted to someone who identifies as a woman (they don't have to be female or even do anything to have transitioned)


Original definition: A female who is solely attracted to other females.


Other definition: A person who identifies as a male.

Original definition: Adult human male.


This definition is murky, but this is what we understand: Someone who does not want to follow any stereotypes or someone who likes to switch between masculine and feminine depending on that person's feelings.

Preferred Pronouns

Pronouns that someone tells you they want to use. This includes a wide range but mostly consist of he/him, her/she, them/they. The pronouns do not have to match their sex. It has become common in many workplaces and in Court to either force or pressure individuals to announce their pronouns and including them as email signatures.


A person who claims specific traits through declaration that are based on feelings, not necessarily facts. This includes, but is not limited to, a male saying they identify as the opposite sex (aka a transwoman), or a white person who identifies as black.


The biological makeup of humans being male or female based on a variety of physiological and chromosomal factors. Males generally produce small gametes (sperm) and females generally produce large gametes (eggs). Males typically have XY chromosomes while females typically have XX chromosomes (typically is used because there are deviants caused by disorders that may have more than two chromosomes - but these people are still either male or female).

Sex Assigned At Birth

Sometimes referred to as male assigned at birth or female assigned at birth. This is terminology that has been adopted to denote that a doctor decides what sex a baby is when he or she is born. It also denotes that there are some people who are "born in the wrong body". WMC and other women's groups use the term "observed sex at birth" because sex is determined at conception and can be found out early on in a pregnancy.

Sex-based Rights

Rights given to each sex, that recognized the unique biological needs females and males have. These rights are especially important for females given how females have been oppressed historically by males and to ensure equality within society between the sexes. This includes policies to ensure basic human rights of safety, privacy, dignity, and ability to fully participate in public life are upheld. These policies range from sex-segregated washrooms, changing rooms, prisons, and access to a variety of services to care for unique female needs.


Defined as: Someone who feels like or identifies as the opposite sex. To many advocates gender dysphoria is not necessary to be transgender. Also known as a trans identified male (transwoman) or trans identified female (transman).


Original Definition: Adult human female

Other definition: Anyone who identifies as a woman

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