Self-Identity: gender inclusivity at U of T

As of December 1, 2017, employees at the University of Toronto will be able to select ‘X’ as a gender option in the HR information system, along with ‘M’ (male) or ‘F’ (female).

“All employees, including transgender individuals, and those who do not identify as male or female, will now be able to choose this option,” said Kelly Hannah-Moffat, vice-president, human resources and equity.

“By introducing an ‘X’ gender option for our employees, we are taking an important step towards advancing equity and equality for all our employees, regardless of their gender identity or expression,” Hannah-Moffat said.

With the adoption of ‘X’, the University of Toronto now stands to be one of the first higher education institutions in Canada to provide faculty, staff and librarians with the choice to identify with an additional gender option. The move also allows employees to identify by their gender identity instead of their ‘sex’, which traditionally refers to a male or female, based on biological or physical anatomy.

For many years, students at U of T have been able to self-identify with a third gender category and with a name that is different from their legal name and which correctly reflects their identity.

With this new approach, employees who wish to change their name or gender designation will not have to provide documentation showing a legal gender or name change. This is another way that the University is leading among its peers and follows best practices recommended by the Ontario Human Rights Commission, said Allison Burgess, sexual and gender diversity officer at the University of Toronto.

“To be able to use your correct name at work, or to be able to change your gender designation to ensure you have the correct benefits coverage and support without any legal changes occurring – that’s critical to creating an inclusive work environment,” Burgess said. “Over the past year the human resources team has worked incredibly hard to make this option available for employees and ensure this process is easy and inclusive to anyone who wants to access it.”

The roll-out of the third gender option will be done in a phased process. In addition to this change, new guidelines and resources are also being developed for employees and managers to accommodate and support trans and nonbinary employees.

While employees can now change the way they self-identify, more work continues to enhance University systems so that anyone at the institution will be able to change their name and have it used throughout the University in a consistent manner.

Faculty, staff and librarians who are interested in updating their record with ‘X’ are encouraged to contact their business officer or contact their Divisional HR Office.

Students who are interested in updating their academic record are encouraged to connect with their registrar.