Okay, I admit, I had a bit of difficulty coming up with a title for this one. So let me set the stage in an attempt to bring clarity and some semblance of coherence to my otherwise random ramblings.
I had a very interesting meeting yesterday with a graphic artist who contacted my earlier in the week after reading about me in a newspaper article and my thoughts and work regarding the “gender question” contained within documents. While she fully understands the sensitivity around when and how it is appropriate to even ask a person to provide information on their gender, she was coming at it from a different angle.
As a graphic artists, she is often asked by authors of journals and textbooks, etc, to provide the artwork representing a graphic representation of their data and outcomes. One particular author she is currently working with has data that involves percentages of an event within the population. The author simply was planing to express it using rather conservative representations of people. Translation being, gender binary graphics such as those found on washrooms. The basic idea was that the more people figures on a graph, the higher the percentage of that condition etc. Her concern, after reading the my article is that we need to be thinking about the about side as well as the input side (asking the gender question). So she wanted to meet with me to understand the impact and how to mitigate the alienation of any readers due to inappropriate graphics. I thought this was a totally awesome thing for her to even think about, let alone try to learn about the issues and try to find a solution. So good on her!!
We met in my office in what is called “the West Wing”, simply because, well, our office suite is in the west wing of our building, and is the highest department in the hierarchy. But I digress… yes, again. Anyway…we chatted for about 45 minutes. She showed me the standard, frequently used graphics (insert images seen on bathroom doors, here) as well as some of her ideas for options that are less binary and more inclusive within the transgender spectrum. I reviewed them all and provided my thoughts and feedback, dismissed some immediately that, while not offensive, could easily be seen as binary and non-inclusive, which she totally understood.
In the end, we came up with a few options that she was going to take away and further develop. She is going to come back to me with proper artist renditions to get my feedback again, and hopefully select something to meet the publishers deadline.
It was an amazing conversation and I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to have such a conversation. I can’t wait to see what she brings back !