Key Terms and Notes

A variety of key terms are used when promoting healthy relationships. Here are a few definitions that you should be familiar with as you get started.

Administration: The principal and vice principal of a school.

Ally: An individual or organization with values similar to yours, who will work with you to promote gender equality. (Source: White Ribbon)

Attraction: Often referred to as sexual or romantic orientation, this classifies a person’s potential for attraction to other people, often based on sex and gender. (Source: Egale Canada Human Rights Trust)

Body Image: Body image is a subjective picture of how a person consciously and unconsciously relates to their bodies. It is how someone perceives and interprets the messages being offered through the media and their social environments. (Source: Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association)

Community Partner: Any member of the school community who can contribute to the development of a healthy school (e.g., recreation and sport groups, municipalities, local businesses). These partners may vary depending of the specific school community.

Consent: Consent is a voluntary, sober, imaginative, enthusiastic, creative, wanted, informed, mutual, honest, and verbal agreement. Consent is an active agreement that cannot be coerced. Consent is a process, which must be asked for every step of the way, never implied, and which cannot be assumed, even in the context of a relationship. Being in a relationship does not mean that you have permission to be sexual with your partner. A person who is intoxicated cannot legally give consent. If you’re too drunk to make decisions and communicate with your partner, you’re too drunk to consent. (Source: White Ribbon)

Diversity: The presence of a wide range of human qualities and attributes within an individual, group, or organization. Diversity includes such factors as age, sex, race, ethnicity, physical and intellectual ability, religion, sexual orientation, educational background, and expertise. (Source: Ontario Human Rights Commission)

Eating Disorders: An eating disorder is a complicated illness that affects a person’s sense of identity, worth, and self-esteem. There are three main types of eating disorders: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder. The signs of an eating disorder often start before a person looks unwell, so weight should never be the only consideration. (Source: Canadian Mental Health Association)

Empathy: Identification with and understanding of another person’s situation, feelings, and motives. (Source: White Ribbon)

Gender: Gender is a system that operates in a cultural context to classify and socialize people, often based on their assigned sex. In many contexts, this takes the form of a binary classification of either ‘man’ or ‘woman’; in other contexts, this includes a broader spectrum. (Source: Egale Canada Human Rights Trust)

Gender Expression: Gender expression describes the way a person presents and communicates gender within a social context. Gender can be expressed through clothing, speech, body language, hairstyle, voice, and/or the emphasis or de-emphasis of bodily characteristics or behaviours, which are often associated with masculinity and femininity. The ways in which gender is expressed are culturally specific and may change over time. Gender expression may also be referred to as gender presentation or gender performance. (Source: Egale Canada Human Rights Trust)

Gender Identity: A person’s internal and individual experience of gender. This could include an internal sense of being a man, woman, both, neither, or another gender entirely. A person’s gender may or may not correspond with social expectations associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. Since gender identity is internal, it is not necessarily visible to others. (Source: Egale Canada Human Rights Trust)

Gender-Based Violence: (GBV) refers to harmful acts directed at an individual or a group of individuals based on their gender. It is rooted in gender inequality, the abuse of power and harmful norms”. The term is primarily used to underscore the fact that structural, gender-based power differentials place women and girls at risk for multiple forms of violence. While women and girls suffer disproportionately from GBV, men and boys can also be targeted. The term is also sometimes used to describe targeted violence against 2SLGBTQIA+ populations, when referencing violence related to norms of masculinity/femininity and/or gender norms. (Source: United Nations)

Healthy and Equal Relationships: Relationships based on respect, trust, equal decision making, safety, equal share of responsibilities, consent, open communication, etc. (Source: White Ribbon)

Healthy Schools (Approach): A collaborative approach whereby members of the school community come together to share ideas, plan, and take action on priority health topic(s) while following a repeatable, step-by-step process to make sustainable change in their schools, homes, and community.

Inclusion: Appreciating and using our unique differences – strengths, talents, weaknesses and frailties – in a way that shows respect for the individual, and ultimately creates a dynamic multi-dimensional organization. (Source: Ontario Human Rights Commission)

Learning Moment: An opportunity to engage a young person in meaningful dialogue, or an inspiring story or lesson about healthy, equal relationships. (Source: White Ribbon)

LGBT:  Short for Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender. “GLBT” is also used. An acronym that also encompasses the diversity within the Trans and Queer community is 2SLGBTQI – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Intersex, Queer, Questioning, 2-spirited and Allies. (Source: Ontario Human Rights Commission)

Living Skills: Living skills help students develop a positive sense of self, develop and maintain healthy relationships, and use critical and creative thinking processes as they set goals, make decisions, and solve problems. The personal, interpersonal, and critical and creative thinking skills are an important aspect of students’ overall healthy development. (Source: Ontario Ministry of Education)

Parents/Family: Parents and family include all caring and care-giving members in the lives of students. Diverse family structures exist - this may include, but is not limited to, parents, grandparents, aunts/uncles, siblings, and babysitter or nanny. Family roles are not defined by gender identity.

Privilege: Unearned power, benefits, advantages, access, and/or opportunities that exist for members of the dominant group(s) in society. Can also refer to the relative privilege of one group compared to another. (Source: Ontario Human Rights Commission)

Public Health: The public health system is an extensive collection of governmental, nongovernmental, and community organizations operating at the local, provincial, and federal levels with varying roles, perspectives, and linkages. In Ontario, schools are supported by a system of local public health units that collectively cover the entire province and are individually responsible for serving the population within their geographic borders. Public health can play a key role in supporting schools communities as it relates to Healthy Schools.

Reflection: An exercise that allows members of a school action team to discuss their healthy schools experience, including successes, challenges, and future opportunities.

Role Model: An involved, caring, concerned individual who demonstrates real commitment for equality between men and women, and whom others look up to. (Source: White Ribbon)

School Community: All individuals who contribute to the health and well-being of students. This includes individuals who can influence students at school, in the surrounding neighbourhood, and at home.

School Staff: Staff who are employed (in a paid position) by the school, including, but not limited to, educators, early child educators, principals, vice-principals, office staff, and custodial staff. This does not include volunteers.

School Team: A group or committee operating in a school that supports planning and action as it relates to Healthy Schools. Members of the team should include individuals who are within (e.g., students, educators) and outside (e.g., public health, parents/family) the physical school grounds.

Self-Efficacy: Self-efficacy is an individual’s beliefs about their competencies to perform behaviors necessary to accomplish a particular task. (Source: Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association)

Self-Esteem: Self-esteem is the value we place on ourselves. It is the feeling we have about all the things we see ourselves to be. (Source: Canadian Mental Health Association)

Sex/Assigned Sex: The classification of a person as male, female, or intersex based on biological characteristics, including chromosomes, hormones, external genitalia, and reproductive organs. Most often, sex is assigned by a medical professional at birth, and is based on a visual assessment of external genitalia. (Source: Egale Canada Human Rights Trust)

Sexual Health: A state of physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction, or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination, and violence. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected, and fulfilled. Sexual health is influenced by a complex web of factors ranging from sexual behaviours, attitudes, and societal factors, to biological risk and genetic predispositions. (Source: Public Health Agency of Canada)

Stereotype: Incorrect assumption based on things like race, colour, ethnic origin, place of origin, religion, etc. Stereotyping typically involves attributing the same characteristics to all members of a group regardless of their individual differences. It is often based on misconceptions, incomplete information and/or false generalizations. (Source: Ontario Human Rights Commission)

Stigma: Negative attitudes (prejudice) and negative behaviour (discrimination). Stigma has a profound impact on the way young people (and adults) discuss mental health and mental illness, and treat people experiencing mental illness.

Values: A person’s or social group’s beliefs, in which they have an emotional investment. (Source: White Ribbon)

Well-Being: A positive sense of self, spirit, and belonging that we feel when our cognitive, emotional, social, and physical needs are being met. It is supported through equity and respect for our diverse identities and strengths. Well-being in early years and school settings is about helping children and youth become resilient, so that they can make positive and healthy choices to support learning and achievement both now and in the future. (Source: Ontario Ministry of Education)