3. Gender, Sexuality and Identity

The aim of this section is to understand the differences between gender identity, expression and sex assignment at birth, and explore common issues related to gender identity and sexuality in the workplace and in everyday life.

In the following activity, the “gender unicorn” helps demystify preconceived ideas and possibly confusing concepts related to gender, identity and sexuality.

The workplace has many “minefields” within its protocols for employees who are reticent or worried about disclosure. Censoring information about ourselves may feel like the only option, and this can be awkward and stressful. How many times have we changed our minds about sharing information about ourselves? Often times, the more risky we judge the information to be, the less likely we are to share it – especially in the workplace.

As you watch the following videos, consider the potential implications and anxiety associated with disclosing one’s gender identity or sexual orientation in the workplace. Optional reflective questions are provided below the first video. (It will be helpful for you to know that Toronto Pride is an annual festival that celebrates the LGBTQ community.)



In the following video, Christine D. discusses an experience with disclosing information on a form in an agency.

(To read along click here.)

When Christine talks about ‘passing’ what she means is passing for the gender she identifies as. For instance, in her case, passing would mean that people she meets and interacts with assume that she is female. Not all transgender people can pass; not all transgender people want to. This can be emotionally complex and difficult.

In the next video, D, Christine and Hershel Russell discuss gender identity, the basics around use of pronouns, and the experience of being misgendered.

(To read along click here.)

It is clear from the last two videos that the issue of pronouns is of great importance. As healthcare providers, this is similar to the issue of addressing people appropriately in practice – for example, asking if someone prefers to be addressed as Mr. Perez or as Roberto. When it comes to gender pronouns, we can ask which pronoun people prefer or ask how they would like to be addressed.

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