Identity and Expression

This session was created by Tanga Wanda, for use with older groups.  Exploring themes to do with trans- identities, the first section is on gender, the second section is on race.  Motivated by thoughts on when something is or is not a hate crime.


hate crime (noun): a crime motivated by racial, sexual, or other prejudice, typically one involving violence.



Canadian parliament recently passed (early 2017) a bill known as C-16 to amend the law to include 'Gender Identity and Expression' to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination.

During the senate hearing:

In Canada we celebrate inclusion and diversity, and all Canadians should feel safe to be themselves [...] Trans and gender diverse persons must be granted equal status in Canadian society, and this bill makes that status explicit in Canadian law.

- The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould.


A person who is genderfluid prefers to remain flexible about their gender identity rather than committing to a single gender

Genderqueer people may express a combination of masculinity and femininity, or neither, in their gender expression.

We often refer to people through the use of gender pronouns such as He or She. Some people who identify is 'Genderqueer' create their own pronouns ,for example: zim/zur and do not wish to be referred to as He or She.

It has been claimed that with the amendment to the law made through the C-16 bill it is unclear weather the potential offense caused by the incorrect use of pronoun could fall under the category of a hate crime.

Task Question: Should it be written into law that we call people whatever they want to be called? 



Nkechi Amare Diallo (born November 12, 1977), commonly known by her previous name Rachel Anne Dolezal, is an American former civil rights activist. She was president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) chapter in Spokane, Washington, from 2014 until June 15, 2015, when she resigned after it was revealed that she had lied about being African American, many other aspects of her biography, and about alleged hate crimes against her.

In June 2015, Dolezal came to media attention when her European American parents stated publicly that Dolezal was a white woman passing as black. Their statement followed Dolezal's reports to police and local news media that she had been the victim of nine hate crimes; however a subsequent police investigation did not support Dolezal's allegations. Dolezal's critics contend that she has committed cultural appropriationand fraud; Dolezal and her defenders contend her racial identity is genuine while not based on biology or ancestry. In a November 2015 television interview, Dolezal publicly stated for the first time since the controversy began that she was born white but still identifies black.

Task Question: Is Rachel Dolezal black?

Nested Questions:

  • Does it matter if she identifies as black?
  • Can we 'Idenify' as whatever we choose? 


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