Looking at Identity

Objective: Understanding people who do not subscribe to traditional binary norms

Looking at Identity

Objective: Understanding people who do not subscribe to traditional binary norms


Gender Identity: How we feel about our gender in our hearts and minds. 

Gender Expression/Gender Presentation: How we show our gender to the world through external choices (e.g. dress, behavior, hairstyle). 

Cisgender: Describes a person whose birth sex and gender identity align. 

Birth Sex/Biological Sex: A specific set of genetic, chemical and anatomical characteristics that we are either born with or that develop as we mature. 

Binary Gender:The faulty concept that there are only two genders: male and female.

Genderqueer: A broad descriptor many people use to indicate a person does not identify as either male or female.

Transgender: Describes anyone whose gender identity and birth sex do not align. The word should be used as, “transgender,” not “transgendered.” For example, “My brother Sam is transgender. His birth name was Samantha.”

Preferred Personal Pronouns: In addition to the traditional pronouns (he/him, she/her, they), some people prefer to use gender-neutral pronouns, such as ne, ve, ze/zie and xe. If you don’t know a student’s preferred personal pronoun, it’s always best to ask.

Have participants look at the various definitions around gender and sex identity.  Some of these terms may be new to staff and many may make them uncomfortable. Learning about them and becoming comfortable with the idea that we need to be open to seeing students in other ways rather than just male and female, will take time.  

Next, hand out the article by Teaching Tolerance, Sex? Sexual Orientation? Gender Identity? Gender Expression?  Have participants read the article via Silent Reading and Text Code.  After reading, participants create a Quiz Quiz Trade card based on one of their text codes via the strategy Quiz Quiz Trade.  

Once participants quiz someone, and get quizzed, they trade cards and are now experts on the new card. They then find a new partner to quiz.  They try to get to at least three people.

Participants go back to small table groups (3-5 people) and share highlights of QQT via Merry Go Round share. (Questions, A-has, or simply share the card they are left with); As a group, they should come up with an MIP (Most Important Point) statement that synthesizes the learning.  Share out via volunteerism or use Roll ‘Em to model collaborative accountability.