So I purposefully didn’t write anything this morning. I wasn’t feeling much – other than under some time pressure for getting out to an afternoon trip to FOTA Wildlife Park. And that 2pm meeting resulted in us getting home after 9, and kids in bed even later than that, so now I’m faced with writing when I’m tried and backsore and out of my usual sorts.

So have some scattered thoughts:

I just spent the past 45 minutes reading about non-binary gender stuff and got struck by how I’ve started to feel really angry with online forms that force me to choose my gender from a list of “Male” vs “Female”. First off – fuck that shit, why do they need to know? Secondly, if they’re going to claim to want to know for some half-assed claims to be valid reason, they should want to capture accurate information – even if they’re not going to attempt to capture all the different terms people prefer to use to describe their gender, they should at the very least recognise that Male and Female aren’t going to cut it and have an “Other” category. I mean at least don’t force people to answer with a lie before they can subscribe to your service, buy your tickets or whatever. And seriously?! My genitals, clothing choice, or which bathroom society deems I should use are not going to be utilizing those tickets. The reason you want to know is marketing, and I so do not want to be marketed to as whatever your Stepford concept of “Female” is.

Asshats.

Actually, for all their attempts at being inclusive, FB and Twitter annoy me too with {Male, Female, Neutral}. Okay, so neutral is in there for people who don’t wish to answer, but it also has a specific meaning for a particular set of people, and that meaning ≠ “I don’t want to say”, it means “I do want to say, and what I want to say is ‘neutral'”. I don’t feel like Neutral covers a whole bunch of important-to-people’s identity terms such as Bigender, Non-binary, Genderfluid, Genderqueer, etc.

It’s a complicated issue, but! there is actually a pretty easy acceptable solution here – Other. It’s the basics. It allows one to say “your list doesn’t provide the answer I want” – even though it doesn’t clarify whether the wanted answer was “fuck off, you don’t need to know that about me” or “I’m a rainbow spectrum of Genders of colours you’ve not even dreamt of, Horatio”.

If you want more info, sure attempt a list, but include “Other” and a text box. Let your users tell you.

Is this important? Well, what system of categorisation are we talking about here? Someone might argue that it can’t be so important even to me, given that however many times I’ve been forced into it, I tick “Female” and move on to my purchase, my subscription, my whatever. But recently when I do it, I feel kind of trapped. I feel frustrated. I feel like I’ve been forced to lie before I’ve even downed my first cup of problematic coffee for the day. I feel invisibled.

(I don’t really know what my answer would be into the imagined text box of “Other”, even if I decided I had the time to fill it out. But I know that even if I am feeling gender-binary on a given day, I know lots of people won’t be, and it bugs me that they’re being asked to lie, or being invisibled.)

It’s camel-strawing up with the feelings of invisibility and self-erosion that come with motherhood and middle-aged womanhood. (So this may seem weird, but I totally don’t think that identifying with womanhood is the same as identifying as female. All part of a way longer bunch of thoughts I have which definitely play into why I don’t know how I’d fill that “Other” box on any given day. I think this particular thing may have to do with noting of how I appear in society. I appear as a woman to society. I am about to be out of my thirties. There is a certain type of invisibility that occurs with that.

So, this is most of where my thoughts are right at this instant, but to be honest, it’s not what my day has been about and it doesn’t occupy vast swathes of my time. Coz, y’know – privilege. I’m just starting to think about it more and more. And, like when I started reading more about feminism and racism and all sorts of other stuff in the world, I’m starting to see and notice and feel a bit “hey, you know, that’s not really okay with me.” stuff. Maybe because it’s finally giving words to what’s felt off for a long time.

But anyway, if you’re interested in reading more about this, I HUGELY  recommend this series of webcomics by Robot Hugs, who I adore with the passion of a thousand suns.

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