Ask DN: Transgender on a gender question for a form?

over 7 years ago from , Designer.

I want to be as inclusive as I can, what is the best label for transgender on a gender question for a form?






  • Kemie GuaidaKemie Guaida, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    Transgender is not a gender (just as "immigrant" is not a nationality). It means you identify with a different gender than you were born with or are anatomically, but if you identify as a female, you'd like to choose "female" regardless of whether the doctor said "it's a boy" when you were born. You wouldn't want to choose transgender unless you wanted to specifically call attention to the fact that you once were not considered female.

    I'd go with male/female/other (for people that don't identify with either gender), or better yet, skip the question altogether unless it is really relevant.

    23 points
    • Mitch Malone, over 7 years ago

      Not sure "other" comes off as inclusive. I like what Facebook does: lets users choose a custom gender and then let's the user choose a pronoun (him, her, them).

      1 point
      • Nicole P.Nicole P., over 7 years ago

        It's commendable what FB did but I had a nonbinary friend mention how if you're new to FB, you have to actually choose a binary gender first (http://imgur.com/a/FX3Ne) before you're able to have a custom gender.

        This seems to defeat the whole purpose since for NB folks like my friend, it felt like it wasn't a true choice. "You had to choose your 'real' gender (and that's what the system really sees you as)" versus actually respecting that you don't correspond with either genders.

        0 points
  • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, over 7 years ago

    Do you absolutely need to ask? How will it benefit the person you’re asking? It’s good to be inclusive, but I’d argue very strongly that no site or app or service needs to know, and that the question probably shouldn’t be asked.

    If your reasoning is analytics, then you don’t really need to know and you probably shouldn’t be collecting that data.

    If your reasoning is to personalise text, you can use “they”, and you don’t really need to know.

    At the very least, you could make the question optional. I still have not seen one case where I thought asking was justified. I don’t even think gender should be needed for a passport or driver’s license.

    13 points
    • Andy Warburton, over 7 years ago

      This... unless you are creating a form collecting medical data, I can't think of any genuine (i.e. not marketing) reason why you would need to know your users gender.

      3 points
    • Luis La Torre, over 7 years ago

      Interesting. I remember a marketer once told me that women spent so much more money online shopping than men. So ever since I have been asking on surveys and other forms. Should I avoid it?

      0 points
      • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, over 7 years ago

        Assuming the advice is correct, you’re still optimising for marketing and analytics benefit, rather than the benefit of the customer. That might be okay in some cases, but at the very least you should probably make the question optional. It’s a very loaded question and one that might require them to give up very personal information.

        1 point
    • Jrtorrents Dorman , over 7 years ago

      I once applied for a job, they stated explicitly in the job description that they were looking for a female but I missed it and applied anyways.

      They still invited me for interview. During the interview I asked why they considered my application eventhough I'm make. Their excuse was that they're looking for a feminine (or more softer) design sense and since my portfolio fit that they decided to invite me.

      0 points
      • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, over 7 years ago

        they stated explicitly in the job description that they were looking for a female

        Interesting. Pretty sure that’s illegal where I live (Australia).

        0 points
  • Jim SilvermanJim Silverman, over 7 years ago

    letterboxd has a good writeup on this: http://news.letterboxd.com/post/146049124623/pronouns

    6 points
  • Ix TechauIx Techau, over 7 years ago

    To avoid the wrath of social justice warriors, you need to provide a list of 600+ different gender identities, and if you miss one you are now a racist. You then also need to provide the user with a list of pronouns, because saying "him" to someone who wants to be addressed as "madame" is a micro-aggression.

    You should probably also put "trigger warning" before the gender part of your form, to avoid someone becoming uncomfortable.

    Or...you know...skip the gender part of your form. It's not needed, for anything.

    5 points
  • Tyler DeitzTyler Deitz, over 7 years ago

    Metafilter uses a generic text field, I always thought that was a neat idea. The copy is great too:

    5 points
  • Mitch Malone, over 7 years ago

    This might be a good starting place:


    2 points
  • Dave HawkinsDave Hawkins, over 7 years ago

    We opted for Male, Female & Non-Binary as an inclusive way of asking for gender. Other is not an inclusive term. If you have a fairly educated audience I recommend you ask people to choose a Pronoun.

    1 point
    • Truman BoyesTruman Boyes, over 7 years ago

      Same. We are currently in the process of redoing our gender form as well, and after some research opted for "non-binary" rather than "other." If a user chooses non-binary, they're then given an optional text field to enter the gender they feel most comfortable with.

      From what I saw, this method manages to be both inclusive and free of bloat in the UI.

      0 points
    • Brad Siefert, over 7 years ago

      100% agree with this.

      0 points
  • Mikael StaerMikael Staer, over 7 years ago

    I was just having this discussion at work. We are a healthcare company though, so it is definitely necessary for us.

    From what I have understood, Sex refers to the anatomical (male/female) whereas Gender is what one identifies as (male/female/"other") and can be fluid. In our app, we ask for Gender, but I think what we are actually asking for is Sex. However, in the context of a medical/healthcare situation, it would probably be ideal to know both, since someone with female anatomy could identify as a male, which has both physical (for example, menstruation cycle) and mental/psychological implications.

    For most apps and services, it actually doesn't matter what sex or gender a user is, so definitely first identify how necessary that data point really is.

    1 point
    • Account deleted over 7 years ago

      Don’t ask for gender or sex unless you absolutely need to know. If you do, follow the guidance of your country’s healthcare authority. In the UK, the HSCIC provide user interface guidelines for collecting medical information. See http://systems.hscic.gov.uk/data/cui/uig/sexqig.pdf

      These guidelines list field values to be:

      Current Gender

      • Male
      • Female
      • Other Specific
      • Not Known (default)
      • Not Specified


      • Male
      • Female
      • Not Known
      • Indeterminate
      1 point
    • Luis La Torre, over 7 years ago

      Online shopping. A marketer told me that women spend a lot more money online shopping. That's why I always ask. Should I not?

      0 points
    • Ruby ChenRuby Chen, over 7 years ago

      Sex refers to the anatomical (male/female) whereas Gender is what one identifies as (male/female/"other") and can be fluid.

      I've worked on a healthcare-related project and my medical writer coworker also taught me that. We ended up using Sex with two options (male & female.)

      0 points
  • Thank You, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    __ |-XX |-XY |-XXY

    There is no such thing as Transgender. Science suggests there is no such thing as a male/female brain. There are only people changing their hormones.

    Playing into their feelings is perpetuating a fantasy. Do it at your own discretion.

    Based on Mikael's answer, I stand corrected. There's a difference between sex and gender. I defined sex. If you really need to collect that information, I would make that point clear as it may be an educational opportunity for your viewers.

    0 points
  • Maurice CherryMaurice Cherry, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    I identify my gender as the following (check all that apply):

    • [ ] Man
    • [ ] Woman
    • [ ] _________

    The brackets are checkboxes, and the blank is a text field the user can fill in themselves.

    Related: https://www.designernews.co/stories/58551-ask-dn-what-is-the-best-and-most-inclusive-way-to-ask-for-gender-in-a-form-read-comment

    0 points
  • Richie KhooRichie Khoo, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    This talk I attended at Rubyconf AU provides great practical advise and insight. I highly recommend everyone gives it a watch. Specifically addresses how should you ask the gender question on a form.


    0 points
  • Ryan Cates, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    I've seen Team Treehouse use "Other" with a write in beside it in case the user wants to be specific. I thought it was a great solution.

    0 points