For a number of years I’ve been naming and shaming websites which force you to choose from binary gender options (male/female). This is because some people aren’t male or female, or don’t really want to tell a website which they are. They might be genderqueer, somewhere in-between or outside of these definitions, or identify as trans, or a trans-man or a trans-woman (I realise many trans people identify as male/female and are happy to select from binary options, but also some people simply identify as trans- etc.).
When I’ve been involved in website builds which have user data capture, and gender has been one of the requested fields by the client, I’ve previously had male/female/other options. The same for surveys.
Another point on survey design is that you should put the personal demographic questions at the end – it’s been proven that asking people their demographics at the start has an impact on how they answer the questions – they end up answering more like the stereotype of their demographic.
Anyway, it was pointed out recently via the E-Campaigning Forum list user profile set up, by someone whose partner is a trans guy with survey design experience:
“One small thing: the use of ‘other’ in gender is great, but I’d recommend instead of ‘other’ (which makes people feel different or not normal) something like ‘neither of these best represents my gender’.”
This is very interesting and a good point on the word ‘other’.
However, the “Neither of these best represents my gender” feels like a bit of a mouthful, and still has a negative word, ‘neither’.
Duane Raymond at Fairsay took this a step further and put, “My gender is best represented as…” [input box]. Great!
Alternatively, it could just be one input box with no pre-defined selections. Would make analysis a bit harder but not too hard.
Any other ideas?