Your guide to fair & inclusive reporting with 2 Spirit, trans, and gender-diverse communities

Learn more about respectful media representation and how this guide can be used in your own reporting.

Peer Leaders group shot from Trans People of Colour Project

Welcome to the 519’s Media Reference Guide

We look to the media to understand the world and our place in it. Journalists and media outlets help set the tone for how we view one another and what’s accepted in society. That includes influencing how people see 2 Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, and other diverse (2SLGBTQ+) communities.

Why Focus on the Media?

Accurate and fair representation of trans and gender-diverse communities in the media helps show that our communities are made up of real people experiencing joy, sorrow, excitement, and monotony—just like everyone else. It can also be a way for gender-diverse folks to see themselves and all their complexities accurately reflected in the world. This visibility has the power to uplift and enrich lives.


This Media Reference Guide is about how we can do better together. It’s an opportunity to learn to report and write in a way that’s more accurate, inclusive, and fair. On this website you’ll find guidance on how to use affirming language, practical reporting tips, and questions to prompt professional and personal reflection.


Media and communicators have a responsibility to the people whose stories they’re sharing. We hope this guide can be a starting point for journalists, communicators, and anyone else who wants to learn more about treating trans and gender-diverse folks with the respect and dignity we all deserve.

A group of people carrying rainbow umbrellas are protesting loudly. They are wearing rainbow t-shirts and sashes and some are carrying rainbow flags.

2SLGBTQ+ Communities in Canada

Canadian statistics on 2SLGBTQ+ communities are hard to come by, and the consensus is that these numbers are a vast underrepresentation. Interested in finding more data? Visit our resources page.

75,000 people in Canada identify as trans or non-binary.

1 million people in Canada are 2SLGBTQ+, accounting for 4% of the total population over the age of 15.


One-third of Canada’s 2SLGBTQ+ population is under the age of 25.

About This Guide

This guide is a labour of love and co-creation by The 519 team and 2SLGBTQ+ community members. Informed by a series of conversations, we’ve created a practical, actionable resource that will support anyone who wants to produce better journalism, champion inclusion in their organization, and expand their personal learning and allyship.


Language and communities are always evolving, and we want this guide to reflect that. We welcome your comments on how to improve and expand this site on the Connect page.


A Quick Note

For ease of use, we’ve organized this guide by category under the ‘Topics in Focus’ dropdown. However, we’re not suggesting that the identities and experiences of community members fit neatly into one box or the other. Please keep this in mind as you go through the guide.

Explore Topics In Focus

Trans & Non-Binary

Covering Trans and
Non-Binary Communities

2 Spirit

Covering 2 Spirit Communities

Crime, Violence & Law

Crime, Violence and the Law

Health & Health Care

Health and Health Care


Families and Parenting

Photo & Video

Photography and Video


Pronouns 101


Interviewing & Editorial

Learning & Allyship

Learning & Allyship

Still have questions? Connect with us.

Get in touch with our media relations team, book an education and training session, or flag a news story that shows what good reporting looks like in action.

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