Gender Identity

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Gender identity means a person’s self-identified gender, which may or may not correspond with their birth sex. Gender identity is how a person experiences and expresses their gender. The Yogyakarta Principles, international human rights principles revolving around sexual orientation and gender identity, describe gender identity as “each person’s presentation of the person's gender through physical appearance – including dress, hairstyles, accessories, cosmetics – and mannerisms, speech, behavioral patterns, names and personal references.” Many different gender identities exist including, male, female, transgender, gender neutral, non-binary, agender, pangender, genderqueer, two-spirit, third gender, and all, none or a combination of these.

In the United States, some states explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity. In 2019, the Supreme Court of the United States heard R.G. & G.R. Funeral Homes v. EEOC, a case that addressed whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination “on the basis of sex,” includes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

[Last updated in June of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]