Kids Help Phone

Identity Glossary

Pieces of Me

When you work with a child/youth, it is not hard to see every child/youth is different in their own wonderful way. It makes them unique.

Things which children/youth can recognize about themselves:

  • Their abilities (what are they good at?)
  • Their body (maybe they like their height, their hair, or perhaps they have crooked pinky fingers)
  • Where they come from (and their culture)
  • Their family
  • Their personality
  • How they act/treat other people


This is all part of their identity. Identity is who they are. It is what makes them different from other people. They are an important part of this world.

There are times when a child/youth you are working with might make mistakes. That does not mean they are a “bad kid.” It means they are growing and learning. That is an important part of life. Everyone makes mistakes. There are times when they might not feel like their best self, or they might struggle with who they are. This is when you can remind them to be kind to themselves. You can also support them by creating a safe place for them to explore their identity. Encourage them to get to know themselves right now. Things might be a little different from when you were their age, and that is okay. It is brilliant, in fact.

If you are struggling to know how to support a child/youth or could use help knowing what to say, that is okay. The first thing to remember is compassion. Listen without judgement. Educate yourself or ask for help. There are organizations that can help you learn too!


Indigenous peoples: people who are native to the land. It includes First Nations, Inuit, and Métis.

Status: Indigenous people who the federal government acknowledges and are registered under the Indian Act.

Non-status: People who identify as Indigenous but are not recognized by the federal government through the discrimination of the Indian Act.

First Nation: Indigenous people who do not identify as Inuit nor Métis.

Métis: Indigenous people whose ancestors were First Nations women and French and Scottish men who migrated to Canada.

Inuit: (singular Inuk) Indigenous people who live in the Arctic regions of Canada, Greenland, Alaska, and Russia.

For more information, support, or cultural teachings, please contact the Red Deer Native Friendship Society by calling (403) 340-0020 or visiting their website at The Red Deer Native Friendship Society (RDNFS)


Two-Spirit: an Indigenous term which means a person has both masculine and feminine spirit within them. This includes Indigenous understandings of gender roles, spirituality, and sexual and gender diversity.

Lesbian: a woman who is attached to women emotionally and physically and identifies as a lesbian.

Gay: a man who is attracted to men emotionally and physically and identifies as gay. This can also be a term for anyone who is attracted to the same gender.

Bisexual: a person who is attracted to someone who is of the same gender as them or another gender and identifies as bisexual. Some people identify as bi+ to encompass attraction to more than one gender.

Transgender/Trans: a person whose gender identity is different than the sex they were assigned at birth. People who identify as nonbinary may call themselves trans. People who identify as nonbinary might also align with androgynous, non-binary, gender non-conforming, or gender fluid.

Queer and Questioning:

  • Queer: It is a general term for all sexual orientations/gender identities on the 2SLGBTQIA+ spectrum.
  • Questioning: a person who is not sure about their sexual orientation/gender identity.

Intersex: a person who is born with male and female sexual organs or other sexual characteristics. They are assigned a gender at birth which they might not identify with.

Asexual: a person who rarely or does not experience physical attraction to other people. They may be emotionally attracted to others.

+ is added to include all other sexual orientations/gender identities.

Other important terms:

Agender: a person who does not align with any gender

Androgynous: a person whose gender expression is between male and female

Cisgender: a person whose gender aligns with the sex they were assigned at birth

Demisexual: a person who experiences sexual attraction to others after forming a deep emotional attraction

Gender fluid: a person whose gender expression shifts

Non-binary: a person who does not align with the gender binary of man and woman. Their gender lies outside of the binary.

Pansexual (pan): a person who is attracted to others regardless of gender identity

Visit Central Alberta Pride at their website for information about Pride in Red Deer Central Alberta Pride Society

Adoption Mosaic

Adoption: It is a legal process where a person(s) takes legal parental responsibility for the child.

Adoptee: A person who has been adopted.

Adoptive Parent(s): A person (people) who adopts the child. They assume all parental rights for the child.

Foster Care: Temporary placement of a child in a foster (temporary) home.

Foster Caregiver: a person(s) who temporarily provides care to the child.

Permanency: to find children/youth a home where they are valued. The objective is to find a home with caregivers who are nurturing and help them transition to adulthood.

Kinship Care: an extended family member approved to take care of the child. The child has a close or family relationship with the person.

Refugee and Immigrant

Refugee: a person who was forced to flee their country to escape discrimination, disasters, or persecution. Refugees are forced to flee and are seeking safety and protection.

Asylum-seeker: a person who is seeking protection/asylum

Immigrant: a person who permanently settles in another country. They seek to become a citizen of the country.

Newcomer: a person who has recently come into the country, either a refugee or immigrant. They have usually been in the country for less than 5 years.

For more information or support, please contact Central Alberta Refugee Effort by calling (403) 346-8818 or visiting their website at CARE Red Deer Contact us | C.A.R.E. – Central Alberta Refugee Effort, Red Deer/ AB (

Or Central Alberta Immigrant Women’s Society by calling (403) 341-3553 or visiting their website at CAIWA – Central Alberta Immigrant Women Association

Further Resources

If you would like to speak to someone about mental health issues, the Alberta Health Services Mental Health Help Line is available 24/7, offering information and referrals on any aspect of mental health.

Call toll-free: 1-877-303-2642

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