Why do we ask questions about you?

Inclusion Flag

When completing a patient experience survey, we ask patients and adult family members / carers to provide information on their gender and sexual orientation.  The patient surveys are anonymous, so any answer you give will not be linked to you.  By asking for this information, we get a better idea of who is using Oxleas’ services.  This helps us to check if fewer people are using our services than we’d expect based on our local population.  This is also why we ask about your ethnic group, religion and disability. 

We’ve had some feedback that people don’t understand why we use the term ‘gender’ rather than ‘sex’.  We use gender because we believe it’s important to recognise people who are non-binary or who are a different gender to the sex they were assigned at birth. 

We’ve included some definitions below to help explain what these different terms mean.  We hope you find it helpful. 

Gender - Gender refers to the cultural and social distinctions between men and women. It consists of three related aspects: a society’s constructed gender roles, norms and behaviours which are essentially based on the sex assigned at birth; gender identity, which is a person’s internal perception of their identity; gender expression, which is the way a person lives in society and interacts with others. Gender does not necessarily represent a simple binary choice: some people have a gender identity that cannot be defined simply by the use of the terms woman or man.  

Gender expression/presentation - how a person chooses to outwardly express their gender, within the context of societal expectations of gender. A person who does not confirm to societal expectations of gender may not, however, identify as trans.  

Gender identity - a person’s innate sense of their own gender, whether male, female or something else (see non-binary below), which may or may not correspond to the sex assigned at birth.  

Intersex 

A term used to describe a person who may have the biological attributes of both sexes or whose biological attributes do not fit with societal assumptions about what constitutes male or female.  Intersex people may identify as male, female or non-binary. 

Non-binary - an umbrella term for a person who has a gender identity which is in between or beyond the two categories ‘man’ and ‘woman’, fluctuates between ‘man’ and woman’, or who has no gender, either permanently or some of the time. Non-binary people may be protected under the discrimination by perception provisions of the Equality Act 2010.  

Cis-gender or Cis - someone whose gender identity is the same as the sex they were assigned at birth. 

Sex - assigned to a person on the basis of primary sex characteristics (genitalia) and reproductive functions.  

Trans - an umbrella term to describe people whose gender is not the same as, or does not sit comfortably with, the sex they were assigned at birth. Trans people may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms, including (but not limited to) transgender, non-binary and gender queer. Transgender man is a term used to describe someone who was assigned female at birth but identifies as a man. This may be shortened to trans man. Transgender woman is a term used to describe someone who was assigned male at birth but identifies as a woman. This may be shortened to trans woman.  

* NOTE: many trans people do not wish to be referred to as a trans man or transwoman.  They wish to be referred to as a man or woman.  Someone’s trans status should not be shared without their consent. 

Sexual orientation 

A person’s sexual attraction to other people, or lack thereof. Along with romantic orientation, this forms a person’s orientation identity. 

Orientation is an umbrella term describing a person's attraction to other people. This attraction may be sexual (sexual orientation) and/or romantic (romantic orientation). These terms refer to a person's sense of identity based on their attractions, or lack thereof. 

Bi is an umbrella term used to describe a romantic and/or sexual orientation towards more than one gender.  Bi people may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms, including, but not limited to, bisexual, pan, queer, and some other non-monosexual and non-monoromantic identities. 

Gay – gay refers to a man who has a romantic and/or sexual orientation towards men. Also, a generic term for lesbian and gay sexuality - some women define themselves as gay rather than lesbian. Some non-binary people may also identify with this term. 

Heterosexual/straight 

Refers to a man who has a romantic and/or sexual orientation towards women or to a woman who has a romantic and/or sexual orientation towards men. 

Lesbian 

Refers to a woman who has a romantic and/or sexual orientation towards women. Some non-binary people may also identify with this term.