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Why is gender 'required information'?

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#1 SmokingLace

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 07:11 PM

There might be a reason for this that I don't know, but I don't understand why your forum requires someone to specify their gender. Why can't it be optional? In most forums I've been to, support oriented or not, such information is optional. Does it actually determine privileges in this forum, and if so, what is determined based on a person's gender in this community?

Personally, I consider myself to be transgender in the sense of "a person whose identity does not conform unambiguously to the notions of male or female gender roles" and "a person who believes that the sex they were assigned a birth is a false or incomplete description of themself." Biologically I'm a female, I am unsure if I will ever change my biological sex, and if forced to choose I refer to myself as female rather than male.

I registered for this forum and selected my gender as 'transgender' but now I wonder if it would be more appropriate to change it to 'female' as I wouldn't want the fact that I identify as a transgender to lock me out of certain discussions that as a biological female I could relate to. Was the 'transgender' option meant in the sense of 'transsexual'? Because if so, out of the three options, I would choose female.

I suppose in summary, my questions are twofold:

1) Why is gender required information on this forum? And what, if anything, does it determine?

2) How would the board prefer to handle cases such as mine? What would all of you, given the above information, prefer me to list my gender as? I wouldn't mind going by either the 'transgender' label or the 'female' label as I consider both to be relateable.


#2 Melinda

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 07:30 PM

Hi SmokingLace,
We use the gender information to quickly and easily determine whether people can receive passwords for certain gender-specific forums; we have 2, a Men's Forum and a Women's Forum, both used to discuss issues those genders do not feel comfortable discussing in areas where the opposite gender could read what was said. The main support area on this board, for most people, is found outside of those forums, and does not have anything to do with gender.

In the case of transgendered members, if a member wished to have access to one of those forums, we would likely provide some more information about the types of support people post for in those forums so the member can determine whether those forums might be helpful to them in their healing. If you, for instance, wished to have access to the Women's Forum, that wouldn't be a problem at all and we could provide you with the password.

Let us know if you have any other questions!


#3 SmokingLace

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 07:41 PM

Ah, I see. I suppose that makes sense. Thank you very much for the information (and the quick answer!) :)


#4 astralvigilante

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 10:53 PM

I wonder if it might be a good idea if instead of having M Members and Members to have F Members and M Members. I was talking to a male survivor a while back who also agreed that he felt like it might make things feel a bit more even. Just an idea.

#5 Ash

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 11:54 AM

Hi dreamstalked,

It is a good idea and we agree with your reasoning that to do so would make it more even between male and female members. The logistics of doing so would not be possible however, for a board run entirely by volunteers. To manually change each member who signs up to the board individually to their particular gender would be a time-consuming task, and considering each moderator here also has their family life and professional careers to juggle with, it would be impossible to ensure this task was carried out in a quick and timely manner. Members awaiting authorization to join would have to wait for longer periods of time, and we would rather that male and female members alike can join the board as quickly as possible, and leave it up to the member themselves to make the choice regarding if they are comfortable that their status reflects their gender.

Since receiving your idea, we've tried a few different options to make it so that the M Member status doesn't show up and the member can remain in the Member group like most other people. However, none of those options worked reliably in giving people access to the right areas or in allowing us to contact them when important issues that the members of the Men's Forum need to be aware of come up, like new passwords, guest chats, discussions, etc. We are still looking into it and will definitely keep your thoughts in mind for the future - hopefully as the board software continues to be upgraded we will have more reliable options to work with.

Take care,

The Moderating Team

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