If you’re anything but a straight, white person, filling out Web forms that ask for personal information can give one pause. If you’re Cuban-American, you may have to decide whether or not you should fill out Black or Hispanic as the forms rarely allow for both. And what if you’re mixed race?
It becomes even more problematic for individuals who are not straight or do not identify as male or female.
The same holds true for people who do not identify as “single, married, divorced” or the awkward “It’s complicated”. What if you’re a gay married couple and want to identify as such (gay-married) to prevent others from assuming you are married to the opposite gender (or for political or rights reasons)? Basically, entire groups of people are being dumped into “Other” for most of their identity. We can do better.
Are there other ways of allowing folks who may live on the fringe of society to self identify properly if they wish to? Yes. For starters, let’s do away with drop menus for these type of options. Let’s try things like combo boxes which are like drop menus, except they allow you to type in your own choices if you find that the majority options just don’t do it for you.
On a related note, I ran across a tool today called Twee-Q
that analyzes your Twitter profile to see if you are evenly retweeting males and females. The issue is, most people tend to retweet males more (especially males). I was happy to see I scored an 8.8 out of 10 which meant I was tweeting 53% males to 47% females. Not perfect, but not bad.
When you are writing your posts, retweeting others or filling out forms, does gender inequality enter your head? How about race or sexual orientation? Should it? Let me know your thoughts below.