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Online Forms: When Gender is Flexible, but Relationship Status Isn’t September 26, 2021

Posted by Onely in As If!.
Tags: , , , ,


I’m glad that online forms are more and more offering non-binary gender options. Every time someone filling out a web form sees additional options beyond “male” or “female,” a little bit of society’s ingrained transphobia and genderism (is that a word?) is dismantled. But unfortunately, these forms are not offering the same progressive option for relationship status.

Per below, one of my doctors’ intake questionnaires allows patients to opt out of identifying their gender. Yay! (I would have preferred them to offer a “non-binary” option instead of “prefer not to say,” but. . . baby steps). The same form, however, forces patients to choose a relationship status. Boo!

Does your status not necessarily fall into one of the seven couple-focused categories? Tough! Pick one! Do you prefer not to share your status? Tough! Pick one! You can try to advance without selecting one of the amatonormative options, but you’ll get the nasty red star telling you to correct your error and rethink your life choices. 

We here at Onely have fumed about how Facebook provides only a narrow range of relationship options (anything beyond the standard choices must be labelled “complicated”). The doctor’s form, however, has an additional problematic layer. . .

Sex: Female — Male — Prefer not to say

Relationship Status: Single — Married — Divorced — Domestic Partnership — In a long-term relationship — Separated — Widowed

As I’ve previously fumed about here and here, doctors’ offices routinely force people to reveal if they are partnered or not. If you ask the front desk staff why, they say they don’t know (and insist you provide the information anyway), or they say it’s policy, or they say they want to know if the patient has a support system. Our longtime Copious Readers will immediately recognize the problem with that last explanation: It makes no logical sense to presume that because someone has a romantic partner, they have a support system. 

Does your husband gripe about how your leg pain keeps you from washing dishes, so sometimes your close friend down the street comes over to help scrub up? Make sure to put your husband on your form as your support system! Because you’re having regular, state-sanctioned sex, he must be your rock, right?




1. Debbie Henkin - September 27, 2021

The questionnaire you showed nowhere refers to gender. It refers to sex, which, in a medical setting, is often a very important consideration. A gynecologist would not have to consider performing an internal exam and Pap smear on a new woman (gender) patient, if that woman is male (sex). If, in fact, it would be appropriate or even useful for the patient to visit a GYN at all.

2. Debbie Henkin - September 27, 2021

Should be “would it be” not “it would be.”

3. quolljambalayapandora78817 - December 29, 2021

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