The Unexpected Gender Option On the Medical Form
When filling out paperwork for an upcoming doctor’s appointment, I was a little surprised by a third gender option on the patient intake form.
I realize that some people don’t feel entirely comfortable identifying as male or female. But if there was a third gender option, what would you expect it to be?
The other day, I called my physician to set up an appointment for a checkup. Since I recently turned the Big 5-0, I figured it was time. The receptionist looks up my records and says I hadn’t come in for five years.
Five years? I didn’t think it had been that long!
Unfortunately, after three years, their computer system kicks you out. (Maybe it assumes you died!) So I had to register as if I were a new patient.
At 50, I don’t particularly feel “new”
In any case, they asked me to visit their website and fill out a registration form. The questions were very basic.
I reached the gender question and saw a dropdown bar. It offered three options. Okay, I thought, I have a progressive doctor.
I saw male and female…then the third gender option: unknown.
A while back, Facebook released an absolutely absurd number of gender options. Some might argue that you can only be one or the other: male or female. Many of us — even if we identify as the gender we were born into — understand that for some people, it’s a bit more complicated than that.
But even the majority of folks who don’t identify solidly as one or the other still has a reasonable idea of how they identify. I suspect their answer wouldn’t be “unknown.”
I think other would have been such a better option. Other, after all, would cover non-binary and all of the gray area in between male and female.
“Unknown” makes it sound as if the person doesn’t know their own gender identity.
When I have my appointment, I’m going to have to ask ol’ Doc about that one!