Health Policy Project

The Health Policy Project ended in 2016. Work continued under Health Policy Plus (HP+) until 2022.

GSD: Module Two



module one imageModule 2: Concepts & Terminology

Before this training, I had never made the distinction between the four main concepts discussed: gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, and biological sex.
—GSD Training Participant, Haiti


genderbread person

Adapted from: Killerman, 2013

Participants should leave with an understanding that

  1. Everyone has a biological sex, gender expression, and sexual orientation. Most people have a gender identity. Each of these exists on a continuum
  2. It is important to understand key terms and concepts related to GSMs and use respectful language in the workplace and programs
  3. One should be cognizant of common myths regarding GSMs and be ready to support colleagues

What does it include?

  • Biological sex, gender expression, gender identity, and sexual orientation are presented as important concepts to understand gender and are each discussed at length
  • An engaging discussion of key gender and sexual orientation terms related to public health and non-discrimination 
  • An activity that builds empathy through understanding the impact and importance of local language related to GSMs
  • Small group work to brainstorm ways of supporting hypothetical colleagues, described in short case studies, who experience gender-based discrimination
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The Health Policy Project is a five-year cooperative agreement funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development under Agreement No. AID-OAA-A-10-00067, beginning September 30, 2010. The project's HIV-related activities are supported by the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). It is implemented by Futures Group, in collaboration with Plan International USA, Avenir Health (previously Futures Institute), Partners in Population and Development, Africa Regional Office (PPD ARO), Population Reference Bureau (PRB), RTI International, and White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood (WRA). The information provided on this Web site is not official U.S. Government information and does not represent the views or positions of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the U.S. Government.

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