Policy for Designating Gender Identity and Legal Sex

An individual’s gender identity is a positive, core part of being human and experiencing well-being.  The University supports gender inclusive practices and recognizes that one’s legal sex and/or gender identity may be different from the sex assigned at birth.  

When an individual would like to designate their gender identity and/or pronouns, and the desire to do so is for a significant reason, and is not intended for the purposes of avoiding legal obligations, in jest, or for misrepresentation, the University permits the use of one’s gender identity and identified pronouns in the course of University business and education, where possible and practicable.

An individual may also change their legal sex on University records.  The University may need to refer to one’s legal sex and not their gender identity in the course of University business if required by applicable law.


For a current list of places where gender identity and pronouns can be displayed and where an individual can go to identify their gender identity and pronouns, see Updating Chosen Name and Gender Identity at Lehigh.  

Not all University systems, databases, and processes may be able to display gender identity and pronouns. The University continues to explore ways to allow those systems to display gender identity and pronouns and will update this policy as those changes occur.

In addition, because legal sex will still be contained in the University’s systems, legal sex may appear in an unexpected context instead of, or in addition to, one’s gender identity. As the University utilizes a number of systems, the timeframe in which changes can or may be updated within those systems may differ.

Keeping Legal Sex and Gender Identity Private

Legal sex and gender identity are not designated by the University as directory information pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). There are limited exceptions to FERPA in which the University may share information without an individual’s consent.

Gender Identity and Pronouns

Individuals can also change their gender identity in University systems. Gender identity is defined as the gender with which a person identifies (i.e. whether one uses man, woman, or more individualized terminology to characterize one’s self). One’s gender identity may or may not differ from one’s legal sex which is assigned at birth.

Changing gender identity is not the same as changing one’s legal sex (which will generally require a person to go through a formal process). Individuals who would like to change their gender identity in University systems should consult the information in Updating Chosen Name and Gender Identity at Lehigh.

An individual can also identify their gender pronouns (they/them, she/her, he/him, etc.) within University systems. Individuals who would like to identify their gender pronouns in University systems should consult the information in Updating Chosen Name and Gender Identity at Lehigh.

Legal Sex

Individuals may change University records to reflect their current legal sex. Legal sex is defined as the legal sex of an individual, usually reflected on a birth certificate, passport, or other legal document. For information and links to resources pertaining to changing an individual’s legal sex, see Updating Chosen Name and Gender Identity at Lehigh.


Lehigh University upholds the Principles of our Equitable Community and is committed to providing an inclusive educational, working, co-curricular, social and living environment for all members of its community that is free from harassment and discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Any person who believes they have been discriminated against or harassed on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression may file a report with the Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator at eocc@lehigh.edu or by completing the online harassment reporting form.


Anyone with questions about this policy should contact one of the following offices:

The Pride Center for Sexual Orientation & Gender Diversity

pridecenter@lehigh.edu | 610.758.4126


Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity 

vpec@lehigh.edu | 610.758.3034


Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator/Title IX Coordinator 

eocc@lehigh.edu | 610.758.3535

Library and Technology Services

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Get immediate assistance with library and technology questions.

Chat, email, call 610-758-HELP (4357), text 610-616-5910,
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Office of the Provost

provost@lehigh.edu | 610-758-3605