On having to pick a ‘gender’ box

Anonymous asked:

“What do you suggest for when a person who identifies as gender neutral must pick either male or female for official documents and such. Thank you!”

Hello there!

This is a tough one. With the exception of Australia (please correct me), I don’t think that there is a governmental bureaucracy with official gender options other than the old M or F. I know many folks whose ‘gender’ on their driver’s license (etc.) doesn’t match their gender identity and/or gender expression. This causes all kinds of problems and leads anyone with your ID (etc.) to wrongly presume what they should call you (Ms., Mr., etc.) and how they should treat you. Often online bureaucratic forms don’t even let you refrain from selecting a ‘gender’ option but prevent you from submitting the form unless you put yourself in one of two binary gender boxes. Ugh. I feel your frustration.

I’m afraid I don’t have anything terribly insightful to offer to you in the short term, Anonymous, other self-care and taking the path of least resistance: to try your best to remember that this is ridiculous and dumb, that it’s something which other people think they need to know but they really don’t, that it has no reflection on who you are as a person, but that any inconsistency across governmental records would likely cause you many problems in accessing services you need. (Of course, it is well-documented that precisely this problem prevents many of us from accessing services at all.)

However, I’ve been speaking so far about governmental institutions. Private and even some public sector institutions might be more flexible. To the best of your ability, ask if anything can be done or if you can just ask for ‘gender’ to remain blank. Universities and colleges, for example, often have equity officers or LGBTQ resource centres who likely know a lot about how this battle is and/or has been fought in their institution. Other people under the transgender umbrella likely do as well. So my last piece of advice is ask, ask, ask! Ask the bureaucrats and ask the community, and perhaps something can be done until the gender splendour revolution arrives.

As for long term advice? Smash the (non-consensual) gender binary!

Warmly,

Lee

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2 comments

  1. This practice has been in place for an uncomfortably long time, and only during the twentieth and twenty-first century have various groups in society began to create dialogues surrounding this. As an Intersex individual, I have particularly strong feelings towards this issue, and deeply resent having to tick the female box (beacause I have a female birth certificate), when I do not feel any real affinity with either females or males. People find this difficult to understand, but it actually isn’t. I have successfully managed to transcend being one hundred percent entrenched in every gender cliche under the sun. There is nothing whatsoever difficult to understand about that. My blog contains a post about birth certificates and a variety of other related issues, if you are interested. Peace.

    Like

    1. > Thank you for your comment! I completely share your frustration. I checked out your blog and couldn’t find the post – can you send the direct link? > >

      Like

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