“Variant Sexual Behaviour” in 2015

December 2, 2015


Education is a powerful tool – and potentially a dangerous one.

My friend Lauren is a Professor of Kinesiology at a university in BC. She is a brilliant, progressive, straight and cisgender woman, who explores the topics of gender and race in sport.

Last week she wrote me in distress, asking for advice on a 100 level health course she is teaching. The textbook she received, which is used by many universities across Canada, has a section titled “Variant Sexual Behaviour.” This section includes descriptions of activities ranging from group sex to pedophilia.

Unfortunately it also includes these two definitions:

Transvestitism: The wearing of clothing of the opposite sex. Most transvestites are men, heterosexual and married.

Transsexualism: Strong identification of the opposite sex in which men or women feel “trapped in the wrong body.” In some cases, transsexuals undergo sex-change operations.

Lauren was horrified.

She immediately contacted QMUNITY to ask for advice on how to frame her concerns that trans people were included in such a list. She finished by writing:

“I hate to say – this is a Canadian text (6th Can Ed) and is from 2015!? Help!”

So QMUNITY helped. We confirmed the distinction between sexual orientation and gender identity and why they are often conflated. Then, we pointed Lauren toward our free LGBTQ glossary to provide updated definitions for the words included in the text, and to share with her students.

Because Lauren is a superstar, not only did she use our content to teach her class, she also alerted the administration in her department (who were very receptive to her feedback), and pursued it with the publishers of the textbook, who are looking into updating the content.

I’m proud to have allies in my life like Lauren, who are willing to actively challenge homophobia and transphobia in our communities.

Why? In the words of our new Prime Minister:

“Because it’s 2015.”

To those LGBTQ folks and allies who—like Lauren—are with us in our quest for better queer lives, we invite you to support our work this holiday season by donating to our organization.


Donate now

With gratitude,


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