i was filling out my online student loan application when i got to the dreaded gender question. it wasn’t an optional question and answering it was a bit demeaning. so i wrote a letter! and put a stamp on it mailed it! and here’s a copy of it:
my name is mx. punk. i’m a non-binary trans person, which means that i am neither male nor female. i dislike being referred to with gendered pronouns and i’m not sure if my gender is “other” or if i simply don’t have a gender. i’m comfortable with finding my own gender identity confusing. as such, i dislike being forced to choose between male and female when filling out forms, using a public bathroom, etc. i find it humiliating.
when i got to the gender question on my student loan application, i clicked on “male”, then “female” several times in frustration before finally moving on. actually, i’m not sure which gender i ended up on, so my legal gender marker may not match what’s on my application. i’m not sure if that matters, but i sincerely hope that it doesn’t matter.
i doubt that a person’s legal gender marker is a vital piece of information; you already require applicants to supply their social insurance number, name, date of birth and address. you really need a third gender option. “other” would work, and so would “i’d rather not say”. this would be more inclusive and less alienating than forcing people to lie about their gender.
if you require further information on non-binary people, wikipedia¹ has a good article about genderqueer people. you could also try googling “genderqueer”, “non-binary gender”, or “third gender”.
thank you for reading my letter. i hope you reconsider your exclusion of non-binary people.
so whaddya think? i could’ve written more about being non-binary, but i didn’t want to overwhelm whoever read the letter. i also wanted to keep it short. i used the wikipedia reference cuz wikipedia is familiar and safe.
what would you have changed about my letter? what letter might you have written instead? and have you ever written a similar letter? tell me, peoples!