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First, Do No Heteronormativity: Onely at the Doctor’s July 9, 2009

Posted by Onely in As If!, Dating, Everyday Happenings, Food for Thought.
Tags: , , ,

My new doctor’s office provides holistic care based on an assessment of the patient’s physique, mentality, and life circumstances, as opposed to just treating isolated symptoms. It’s a progressive office, so I was intrigued to read this question on their patient intake form:

Are you?               [ ] married        [ ] divorced  [ ] widowed  [ ] single     [ ] in a supportive relationship?

“Married” was eight spaces to the left of “divorced/widowed/single” (themselves each separated only by two spaces), which was five spaces from “in a supportive relationship”. This seems to imply three groupings, wherein divorced/windowed/single and supportive relationships (which might mean “dating”) are mutually exclusive. Is this a purposeful grouping or just sloppy formatting and poor wording? Because read another way, the question could also imply that a married relationship might not necessarily be a supportive one (heaven forbid!).

This is how I think the question should read:

Are you:               [ ] married  [ ] divorced  [ ] widowed  [ ] single

And do you have:       [ ]  a supportive relationship or relationships?

This is how I answered the question:

Are you?               [ ] married        [ ] divorced  [ ] widowed  [x ] single     [ x] in a supportive relationship?

Copious Readership, how would you interpret this question, and how would you answer it?



1. Lauri - July 9, 2009

I would probably check both “single” and “in a supportive relationship,” just to be a pain in the ass :).

onely - July 9, 2009

HAHA! Or you could mark single, divorced, widowed, AND in a supportive relationship. It’s possible, right?

2. autonomous - July 9, 2009

I like your take on how you think it could be better formatted.

Also, there is the option of “single, never married”. And if the goal is to properly assess the mental and emotional states for a whole picture, add the following:

married- happily
married- miserably

I would definitely mark both the single and in a supportive relationship boxes to make the point they miss.

3. Singlutionary - July 9, 2009

I would refuse to check anything because you can’t access my health merely by these groupings.

So there!

4. Singletude: A Positive Blog for Singles - July 9, 2009

Oh, sheesh! Definitely singlist! Again, it’s probably based on those sweeping generalizations that so many health professionals have sadly bought into–you know, the ones that claim married people are healthier. {rolls eyes}

I would answer by marking single, but then I would add a note saying something like, “I am happily single and have great relationships with friends and family.” Hopefully, the doctor would be intrigued and would ask me about it, opening the subject to discussion, and maybe I could slip in something about singlism. I’m curious as to how they reacted when you marked both “single” and “in a supportive relationship.”

onely - July 9, 2009

I haven’t had the appointment yet. I was supposed to fill out the intake form before my appointment. We’ll see!

5. Free4Life - July 9, 2009

INMO, this is how the question should have been written:

Are you? [ ] married [ ] divorced [ ] widowed [ ] single [ ] unmarried, but in a relationship

“Supportive” should not be mentioned at all. It does suggest that the marriage is not supportive. If that word wasn’t there, you wouldn’t have to think twice about the what the other choices really mean.

onely - July 9, 2009

I do support their effort to determine whether the patient has some kind of support structure in their lives, but I think that’s just too hard to determine from a questionnaire and is best left for the consultation itself. –CC

6. Free4Life - July 9, 2009

Correction, meant to say “IMHO”

7. Karen - July 9, 2009

I never answer the marital status question on these forms in medical offices, and I’ve never been questioned about it by the doctor or his/her staff. It’s none of their business.

8. bobby - July 12, 2009

[ x] Neither 🙂

Actually, I usually don’t answer any questions that have nothing to do with why I’m at a place. Yeah I agree, I would leave it blank.

9. trauma queen - August 17, 2009

something similar has been written here…

10. trauma queen - August 17, 2009

stupid me forgot to paste the url….

11. Online Forms: When Gender is Flexible, but Relationship Status Isn’t | Onely.Org - September 26, 2021

[…] I’ve previously fumed about here and here, doctors’ offices routinely force people to reveal if they are partnered or not. If you ask […]

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