Earlier today I had to complete a survey as part of one of our initiatives at work. It was conducted by an outside service provider. The very first question had to do with demographics. You know, the usual, age range, job title, industry, sector, yadda, yadda, yadda. And of course, a question on gender. When I clicked on the drop down box, there was the usual choices. However, there were a total of seven choices including “prefer not to disclose”. However, there were two that jumbed out, “transgendered woman” & “transgendered man”. Hmmm.

Now, this is interesting. What do I do.? I actually wasn’t sure. And that surprised me. I really did think about it. On the one hand, I would usually self declare as “woman”. Period. Not a second thought. On the other had, I was impressed that they actually had multiple categories. Should I honor my community and acknowledge their efforts or be true to myself, to who I am? That was the dilemma. I had to take some time to decide what I was going to do. They stated that the data would be anonymous and secure, but really didn’t say for what purpose.  In my world that is an issue.

We have a policy that you are not permitted to ask for gender unless there is a definite purpose and reason for doing so. Asking just for the sake of asking isn’t good enough. If you’re required to gather the data for purposes of reporting to an outside licensing or accreditation agency, then you can. Otherwise, not such.  Given the information they provided, it didn’t meet our requirements. But then again, this third party provider was not subject to that rule/policy. What was a very simple ask in their eyes got very complicated very quietly in mine. 

Why as a society do we need to try to pigeon hole everybody? To what end? Is it comforting? Easier to understand our surroundings, provide us with context that creates order?  What does knowing my gender have to do with the remainder of the survey? Or whatever the service is? Why do we need to do this. People are people. Let it be.

What would you do????

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10 thoughts on “Trans or not trans??

  1. i think that i would have told the truth. Folks who are gender dysphoric have had to lie about who they are far too often.

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    1. Thanks for the comment! So glad to see you are contributing… Yes, the truth is always the best way to go. What is the truth though may vary from person to person? I mean for me, with my dysphoria, I knew I was a woman, and that’s who I need to be externally. So for me, I never thought that I needed to be a transwoman, I needed to be a woman. I mean, I knew I was always a woman on the inside, but not externally. Oh my gosh, I am rambling. I think you know what I mean though right?

      Don’t get me wrong, I am very proud of who I am. I am proud of my transgender community and the work they do, and the LGBTQ+ community at large. There are places that I cannot be stealth, I am too well known from my past…work, my neighbourhood, life long friends and family. So I am a trans woman. Other places, where no one knows about my past, I am just another woman in the crowd of humanity. That’s how I identify.

      Be well,

      Erin

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      1. Erin i never doubted that you are proud of who you are nor that you are a very brave girl, only i find myself reading a post like your well written one and wishing that i was brave and true to myself, wishing that i was like you proud of who i am and thankful for beautiful ladies like you who are. ((((((((((((hug))))))))))))))

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  2. Yes, I agree with you Erin , labels do not always fit. Black and white and grey …. sometimes people need to feel they are defined by society. Life is too broad and ever changing to be labeled. This may not make sense , since I am a terrible writer and have trouble expressing my thoughts. Admire your energy !

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  3. Well…for clarification sake, I’m a Transwoman. It’s been my general inclunation in the recent past to skip this query as I’ve found it to usually be of no import. If it’s an electronic survey and allows me to go no further without ticking off that particular radio button, I’ve abandoned the survey. I’ve also never appreciated the term “white under race. What the hell does that even mean? At any rate, were I to encounter the option “transgendered “, I’d skip it…cuz’ frankly, much like the term “white”, I’m not quite sure what that even means. Nor do I feel do most orher people. I am a human being, count me in for that. Otherwise, your demographic phish is not useful on any level that doesn’t serve some pseudo mysoginist agenda. Good lord, I can be a bitch! 😂

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    1. Yup, not sure why they feel the need to collect all this “data”. For this particular application, I am hoping they are asking to see if there is a particular demand for their services from the LGBTQ+ community and how can they tweak their offerings to better serve our community. But trust me, I will be calling to challenge them on this!. I will post back what I get for an answer….

      Oh, and I do go on a bit of a rant myself on a recent radio talk show I did…last Tuesday. http://www.cfrc.ca, listening archives, June 6, 5pm. You may have to submit the date twice. Sometimes the first time comes back stating it is no longer in the archives, but it is there.

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  4. It seems really strange, and maybe it’s just me but you seem to have a cute Canadian Accent? Made me kinda crave a Labatt Blue. Who knew??? eh?…L.O.L.
    Fun to listen to your valuable opinions and be witness to your taking your valuable time to educate those that will or might hear.
    As always, Erin….thanks for going that extra Mile.
    With my abiding respect, Jess

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