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The University of Southampton
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Our commitment

Gender identity policy

We recognise that individuals can identify with a range of different gender identities, and that gender identity may or may not be associated with the sex assigned at birth and gender presentation. We provide a supportive environment to recognise an individual’s gender identity, and for staff and students to share their gender identity or trans status if they wish.

It is the right of an individual to decide what they want to share about their gender identity and when. To ‘out’ someone without their permission is a form of harassment, could be a criminal offence, and will not be tolerated by the University.

Please note that this policy is due to be reviewed in 2022.

Read the gender dysphoria policy

Are there any gender-neutral facilities at the University?

Gender neutral toilets are shown on the new campus maps . We are working to make sure that gender-neutral faciltieis across all of our campuses are shown. If you know of any that are missing, then please use the feedback option on the map.

What is gender identity?

It is the way that a person feels inside that determines a person’s gender. Gender identify may or may not be associated with the biological sex assigned at birth. A person can identify as male, female, or some other way e.g. non-binary.

What is a pronoun and why do some people want to be called ‘they’?

Pronouns are the words we use to refer to each other in place of a name. The most common pronouns are she/her/hers for women and he/him/his for men. People who do not identify as male or female might prefer the pronouns they/them/theirs – or they may prefer other pronouns, like xe/xem, e/em or ze/hir. If you are unsure what pronouns to use, it is always best to ask the individual what they prefer.

We encourage staff and students to share their preferred pronouns, for example in email signatures and during introductions on a Teams call or in person. If everyone shares their pronouns, then we don’t need to assume what pronouns someone uses and we can use them respectfully.

If you see someone using the pronouns he/they or she/they, it means they identify as male or female respectively and are just as comfortable being referred to as ‘they’ as they would be ‘he’ or ‘she’.

What does 'transition' mean?

When someone identifies with a different gender to the one they were assigned at birth, they may choose to transition from one gender to another. Legally, this is referred to as Gender Reassignment and is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010. The Act protects someone as soon as they demonstrate their intention to transition: they do not need a Gender Recognition Certificate nor surgery for this protection to apply. It is unlawful to ask for a Gender Recognition Certificate except in very few specific circumstances.

Last update: 10 February 2022 [AH]

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