Transgender is not a Gender

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Rather, it is a type of gender. Having ‘male’, ‘female’, and ‘transgendered’ as the gender options in a survey is ridiculous. It’s as bad as having ‘transgender male’, ‘transgender female’, and ‘cisgendered’ as the options. And both are almost as bad as having ‘cisgendered’ and ‘transgendered’ as the only options. The formers tell us only half of the participants’ actual genders. The latter tells us nothing at all. Having ‘transgendered’ as the only extra gender option on top of ‘male’ and ‘female’ is not being inclusive. It’s just a really bad attempt. If someone really wants their survey to be inclusive of all genders, then their options should be ‘male’, ‘female’, ‘bigender’, ‘androgynous’, and ‘agender’ (and there are probably even more floating around out there). Or, if it’s really that important to them that they know the transstate (I just made that word up…) of their participants, then have ‘cis male’, ‘cis female’, ‘transgender male’, ‘transgender female’, ‘transsexual male’, ‘transsexual female’ as the options instead of plain old ‘male’ and ‘female’. Or, better, yet, just have a blank box to type in.

But gender is not the only culprit, oh no. Sexuality is a huge one. Surveys usually ask about sexuality in one of two ways. The first is to ask participants what their sexuality is, out of ‘straight’, ‘gay’, or ‘bi’. The second is to ask participants if they are interested in ‘men’, ‘women’, or ‘both’. Sigh. We’ve already established that there are more than two genders, so clearly that second method needs more options. But that first method is insanely wrong! Sure, there’s ‘heterosexual’, ‘homosexual’, and ‘bisexual’ – but what about ‘androgenosexual’, ‘androsexual’, ‘gynosexual’, ‘pansexual’, ‘polysexual’, ‘asexual’, ‘greysexual’, and ‘demisexual’ (and again, there are probably even more around)? And then there’s all the romantic types…

Seriously, with all these possible labels out there, is it really that hard to just ask people what they identify as? Must we really make little multiple choice answers for them to neatly categorise themselves into? Now I’ve never made a survey before, but surely it can’t be too difficult to have a little typing box instead of a bunch of options to choose from. If anything, it seems like it would be easier!

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One response »

  1. The problem with our sexuality orientation is that we’re forcing people to make a choice. Why do they have to? Lots of people don’t KNOW what they are but are forced to put a label on themselves which they’ll later have to fight to get rid of.

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