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Trans, Gender-Variant, and Two-Spirit Resources

The following guide provides access to information, education, and recreation resources for and about the trans, gender-variant, and Two-Spirit community.


The library has a significant collection of materials on and/or written by transgender, gender-variant, and two-spirit people. This research guide is designed to provide access to these sources, as well as to highlight significant external resources including and not limited to: videos, websites, online articles, legal documents and blog entries. The materials are selected to meet the information needs of all library users -- a parent trying to better understand their transgender child; a two-spirited individual seeking shared experiences through memoirs, a trans person wanting to know how to legally change their name, or a researcher pursuing knowledge and current awareness of gender.

Below is a truncated list of key terms essential for starting one's research. Terms are provided by GLAAD and QMUNITY.

Transgender - An umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth

Trans - Used as shorthand to mean transgender or transsexual - or sometimes to be inclusive of a wide variety of identities under the transgender umbrella.

Two-Spirit - An Aboriginal person whose body simultaneously houses a feminine and masculine spirit.

Cisgender - Used in describing people who feel their gender identity aligns with their sex assigned at birth

Transsexual: An older term that originated in the medical and psychological communities. Still preferred by some people who have permanently changed - or seek to change - their bodies through medical interventions, including but not limited to hormones and/or surgeries.

Gender Identity  - A person's internal, deeply held sense of their gender. Most people have a gender identity of man or woman (or boy or girl). For some people, their gender identity does not fit neatly into one of those two choices (see Gender-Variance tab) Unlike gender expression, gender identity is not visible to others.

Sexual Orientation - Describes a person's enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attraction to another person. Gender identity and sexual orientation are not the same. Transgender people may be straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or queer.

*Please note: Trans people can be bisexual, gay, straight, pansexual, etc. Their sexual orientation is NOT connected to their gender identity.

The library is always soliciting feedback from the communities we serve. Please feel free to contact us with any additions or modifications to this research guide.  Just ask to speak to an Information Services librarian at (604) 331-3603 or email us your thoughts at

Get started with these books

Movies and Documentaries

World Map of Gender Diverse Cultures

This map provided by PBS Independent Lens  shows societies around the globe who have long-established traditions for third, fourth, fifth, or more genders. It is our implicit understanding that there are only two genders (man/woman) but if we examine history and the rest of the world our cultural assumptions should be questioned.