* Now with handy educational links at the bottom!
Dear everyone who incorrectly lists "gender" as a question on forms:
If the choices you give me to answer the gender question on your form are limited to "man/woman" or "male/female", you are not asking me about my gender, because "gender" and "sex" are not interchangeable terms. What you are actually asking me about is my sex. I know that politely inquiring about what kind of genitals I have in my pants is still considered acceptable in many circles, but it is actually not polite at all. In fact, it is usually not germane to the situation and can feel pretty bad-touchy. Please don't do that.
If you take a moment to consider whether you really need to know if I have a vagina, you'll probably figure out that you don't, unless your form specifically pertains to things like reproductive health or maintaining male/female balance in the workforce.
For instance, a ton of people with vaginas don't want to buy computer equipment, and a ton of people with penises don't want to buy computer equipment, BUT there are a ton of people together from the whole rainbow of genital configuration (because genitals are pretty varied, yo) who do want to buy computer equipment, so asking a question about their genital structure on your form when they sign up to buy computer equipment is honestly kind of bizarre. Penises and vaginas are not the best indicators of either interests or purchasing power.
Truly inquiring about gender, though, which is non-binary and likely at least partially a cultural construct, will be much more informative for you, especially from a capitalist or political perspective if you are interested in selling me things or communicating important information. Knowing my genital structure won't really help you clarify my interests, but knowing my social/cultural location might.
Elan, whose specific genital structure is none of your beeswax.
PS. Here are a few helpful links that explain the differences between sex, gender, and sexual orientation:
- Understanding Gender
- Sexuality & Gender 101 (video, YouTube)
- LGBTQI Terminology (PDF, UCLA LGBT Campus Resource Center)
- Collecting Transgender-Inclusive Gender Data in Workplace and Other Surveys (thanks for the tip, @natematias!)