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FAQs on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Data Collection

How do students update gender identity and sexual orientation information at UC San Diego?

Students now have the option to voluntarily self-identify and update their sexual orientation and gender identity through the MyTritonLink portal, in the TritonLink Tools area, under the Personal & career toolsarea, by following the social identities link at

How will UC San Diego use my responses?

Data collected on gender identity and sexual orientation will provide UC San Diego with meaningful population data necessary for providing resources and other student support services (e.g., scholarships and themed housing). These data will also enable UC San Diego to develop curricular and co-curricular offerings that reflect students’ diverse perspectives, and that promote a safe and welcoming learning environment for all students. 

How are the data collected protected?

All collected data are protected, especially data of a sensitive nature. Significant safeguards are in place to ensure only those with a legitimate need have access to the data.  For more information about student records, go to

Why is UC San Diego collecting data pertaining to gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation?

On October 8, 2011, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 620, which includes a request that UC provide the opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to report their sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression on any forms used to collect demographic data.  


In September 2014, UC President Janet Napolitano formed the President’s Advisory Council on LGBT Students, Faculty, and Staff, which is comprised of faculty, LGBT Center staff, students, and community experts. They were charged with making the UC system a gold standard for LGBT issues, and to provide recommendations for the implementation of AB 620 by collecting data on gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation through the admission application.  


Providing the LGBTQIA+ community with the option to self-identify supports the University’s priorities of creating an inclusive and welcoming campus environment across the UC system. Including these questions on the application will signal to applicants that UC is an inclusive environment and that the LGBTQIA+ community is part of it. As with all other demographic questions on the admission application, providing gender identity and sexual orientation data will be voluntary, optional, and as required by law, not impact admission decisions.

What is the wording of the gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation questions on the social identities tab on TritonLink?

Gender Identity
  • How do you describe yourself? (Mark one answer)
  • Male
  • Female
  • Genderqueer/Gender Nonconforming
  • Trans Male/Trans Man
  • Trans Female/Trans Woman
  • Different Identity (Self Identify _______)

Sexual Orientation

  • Do you consider yourself to be (mark one answer)
  • Heterosexual or straight
  • Gay or lesbian
  • Bisexual
  • Not listed above (please specify) __________

How was the sexual orientation question developed?

The Williams Institute at UCLA recommended the question regarding sexual orientation after a five-year study of sexual orientation measures. The question has been thoroughly tested and is currently in use in the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), and other state-level surveys. In keeping with approaches employed by NHIS and CHIS, respondents are provided a space to self-identify if the available answer options do not suit them.

What if I am a student who is just beginning to understand my gender identity, gender expression and/or sexual orientation?

All of the data collected is on a voluntary basis and not required. Students questioning issues related to sexual orientation, gender expression, and/or gender identity can seek support through Counseling and Psychological Services(CAPS), Residence Life, Dean of Students Affairs Offices, and the LGBT Resource Center.

Who are the authorized campus officials who have access to this data?

The Registrar is the custodian of all student records, and this information resides in this area.  Campus officials who access this data would include the Registrar and their designees, the Director of San Diego's LGBT Resource Center, and campus Institutional Research personnel who use the data in aggregate to provide official reports regarding enrollment, etc.  Gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation data is available to campus officials who utilize sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression to guide decisions and allocate resources in their service to students, such as housing officials and academic advisors.

What is the definition of the gender identity and sexual orientation terms used in the data collection questions?

The following are the definitions as set by the University of California Office of the President: 


  • Bisexual – A person whose primary sexual and affectional orientation is toward people of the same and other genders, or toward people regardless of their gender.  

  • Gay – A sexual and affectional orientation toward people of the same gender.  

  • Gender – A social construct used to classify a person as a man, woman, or some other identity.  

  • Gender Expression – How one expresses oneself, in terms of dress, mannerisms, and/or behaviors that society characterizes as “masculine” or “feminine.”  

  • Gender Non-Conforming – People who do not subscribe to gender expressions or roles expected of them by society.  

  • Gender Queer – A person’s whose gender identity and/or gender expression falls outside of the dominant social norm for their assigned sex, is beyond genders, or is some combination of them  

  • Heterosexual/Straight – A sexual orientation in which a person feels physically and emotionally attracted to people of a gender other than their own.  

  • Lesbian – A woman whose primary sexual and affectional orientation is toward people of the same gender.  

  • Transgender – Used most often as an umbrella term; some commonly held definitions: 1) someone whose gender identity or expression does not fit within dominant group social constructs of assigned sex and gender; 2) a gender outside of the man/woman binary; 3) having no gender or multiple genders.  

  • Trans Man/Trans Male – A female-to-male (FTM) transgender person who was assigned female at birth, but whose gender identity is that of a man.  

  • Trans Woman/Trans Female – A male-to-female (MTF) transgender person who was assigned male at birth, but whose gender identity is that of a woman.