What is Gender Expression?
Gender expression refers to the external attributes, behavior, appearance, dress, etc., by which a person expresses their gender and through which others perceive that person’s gender.
What is Gender Identity?
Gender identity refers to an individual’s intrinsic sense of self. It relates to how an individual defines their gender regardless of their assigned biological sex. Terms to describe gender identity may include but are not limited to:
Do You Know Your Rights?
True or False
If I cannot identify the gender of an individual, that person must leave the washroom if I am uncomfortable.
False – All individuals have the right to use a public washroom of their choosing. Demanding someone, who is using the services of the facilities, to leave the washroom can be a form of harassment. Gender neutral washrooms are available across York’s campuses. For a full list, visit http://maps.info.yorku.ca/keele-campus/
True or False
Being Cisgender basically means that my gender identity and the sex I was assigned at birth are aligned.
True – We should not assume that every person is cisgender. That assumption can marginalize those who identify as trans*.
True or False
Students and staff have a right to request an accommodation based on gender identity and/ or gender expression.
True – In 2012, Gender Identity and Gender Expression were added as separate grounds in the Ontario Human Rights Code. An accommodation might include changing academic documents to reflect the gender of the persons choosing.
Practicing Inclusive Language
Language is a powerful tool for increasing inclusivity. Inclusive language strives to promote all people as full and valued members of society. Provided below are a list of recommended guidelines and tips on how to enhance verbal and written communication when referring to sex and gender identity.
- When referring to gender identity it is important to be aware of, and use ‘All-gender’ terms and phrasings. All-gender terms and phrasings are language free of explicit or implicit reference to gender or sex.
- Gender identity/expression is not binary, but a continuum.
- Sex refers to a person’s biological status and is typically categorized as male, female, or intersex, whereas gender identity refers to a sense of oneself as male, female, transgender, or where a person fits on the gender constellation.
- Trans, Transgender and Transsexual refer to gender identity, not to sexual orientation.
- Address individuals by their desired pronoun. Avoid making assumptions about a person’s gender based on their appearance.
For more information on inclusive language, contact the Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion.
York Policies / Procedures / Guidelines
- American Psychology Association
- Centre for Addiction & Mental Health
- Humber College
- UC Berkley Gender Equity Resource Centre
- University of British Columbia
- University of Victoria
- The Free Dictionary
- University of Windsor