HealthSmart strives to be inclusive of all students and includes a definition and discussion of gender identity in Grade 5, and in the sexual health units at Middle School and High School.
In the lower elementary grades, the focus is on respecting others. The specific concept of gender and gender roles is introduced in Grade 5, Lesson 36. The HealthSmart message for this lesson is, "People express their gender in different ways. Everyone deserves respect!" and the lesson defines the following terms:
- sex (male or female)
- gender roles (ideas or assumptions about how a male or female should behave)
- gender identity (the way people see themselves in relation to being male or female or a combination--may or may not match the way others see them)
- gender expression (how people express their gender to the outside world--may or may not match how others think they should be or act)
The concept of gender identity, including the terms cisgender and transgender, is explored in more depth at the middle school and high school levels as one aspect of a person's sexuality.
In Middle School Abstinence, Puberty & Personal Health, Lesson 4 addresses different aspects of sexuality. It explains the concept of "sex assigned at birth" and defines gender identity as "how people see themselves in relation to being a man/boy, a woman/girl, a blend of both or neither." These same concepts are also covered in Middle School HIV, STI & Pregnancy Prevention Lesson 2, which also includes an advocacy activity around challenging sexual stereotypes and respecting others.
High School covers gender identity in Abstinence, Personal & Sexual Health, Lesson 7, and HIV, STI & Pregnancy Prevention Lesson 1 and Lesson 2, which includes an advocacy activity around respecting sexual differences.