Staying Safe

Event Highlights

Gender Expression in the Age of COVID-19

May 16, 2020

In our world of social distancing, face masks, working from home, and other shifts in our day-to-day lives, trans and non-binary people are often struggling with how to stay safe AND how to continue to present our gender in ways that feel true and affirming.  Are you worried that wearing a face mask will change how people perceive your gender?  (Wonder about how to get lipstick off of your cloth mask?!)  Are you concerned about your gender expression if you need to stop binding for a while to give your lungs a bit more breathing room?  We’ll talk about how gender cues might shift and how our gender expression may morph as we adjust to our own health and the safety mandates offered by the CDC and others.


Presenters:  Joanna Woodbury and Shelley Gregory

Joanna Woodbury

Joanna Woodbury is an experienced Certified Social Worker and has worked in HIV care since 2007.  She serves as the Social Services Program Manager overseeing social work, mental health and pharmacy services provided in the Inclusion Health and Infectious Disease Clinics. Joanna has a strong passion for leadership, medical social work, HIV care and prevention, and LGBTQ affirming healthcare.


Shelley Gregory (they/them or any pronouns)

Shelley is a trans human, activist, and advocate, and the Strategic Project Coordinator for FORGE. Shelley has worked actively in the LGBTQI+ community for over 25 years and began to focus their work on advocacy for transgender and non-binary folx nearly two decades ago. Their background is as a civil rights lawyer. Shelley continually aims to contribute to improving quality of life for trans and non-binary individuals and increasing our inclusion in society. Shelley presently assists survivors of violence through individual advocacy and peer support, as well as policy development and public education.


Introduction 3:56
Masks and gender expression 6:02
Using online forums for expression 10:00
Ideas for self-expression while wearing a mask 11:06
“Gendered” masks for expressing identity 14:33
Clothing to express identity when faces are obscured 16:48
Pronoun pins/photos of yourself/identification 17:36
When/how to clean masks? 17:51
Gloves and gender expression 21:58

Headwear 26:24
Pride attire 27:25
Binding in the spring/summer and in a pandemic 28:37
Options for maintaining hair/beauty/appearance 37:06
Headbands 44:48
Navigating grocery store delivery/pickup 46:17
Misgendering over the phone 50:58
What is a t-shirt dress? 54:59

Closing words 57:58
What’s coming up? 1:00:39