How to do surveys right

So I’m going to write about homestuck and social justice again.

MSPA just released a user survey, and I went to take it because I needed a homestuck fix and 12 new pages is not enough.

And then I got greeted by the best possible thing ever and I am just so happy and giddy and wonderful feeling right now.

And that thing was this;

“What Gender Do You Identify With *

Examples: Female, Male, Genderqueer, or Whatever you feel comfortable identifying with.”
 
here’s the thing.
 
90% of the time when I have to put down my gender, I have to choose Female because that’s my only option besides Male.
9% of the other times, I can choose other or “prefer not to say”. I can be an Other, which is better than having to just go with Female, which is… really invalidating. Like being Genderqueer is a frivolous hobby or something but when it comes time to be a real serious person, I need to pick my clearly Real Gender. At least picking Other doesn’t do that… but it’s pretty much the most straightforward example of othering you can get.
 
(and then I have to deal with the idea that there’s a good chance that the people making the survey don’t actually know that Genderqueer people exist, and they only include Other because they think that’s where binary trans people go, or to include the intersex people that didn’t get mutilated into a binary gender, or… they don’t actually know and think it’s some “PC gone MAD!” thing.)
 
But then there’s the 1% of times (Read; Only this time, ever.) That my actual gender is actually up there. I mean, yes, it’s an open ended box- but an open ended box could have easily been a copout. “I don’t know how to list genders correctly so I won’t list any at all”. But then the survey maker proved that no, it wasn’t that copout, by explicitly expressing that they understood that genderqueer people existed, and went so far as to let us know that we were an option
 
 
And it’s really, really nice.
 
Because honestly. Identifying as genderqueer kind of sucks (not that I regret it, or expected it to not suck, but it does). Because you’re not just asserting that you’re a different gender than you’ve always been perceived as, but that you’re a gender that the other person probably doesn’t even know exists, much less acknowledges as real. And even in the most social justicey circles… people aren’t perfect, because they’re trying to still reconcile your identity with their still possibly very limited understanding of it, and you get the “sooo you’re a trans man/trans woman/trans man lite/trans woman lite/still female/still male” or “You use x pronoun so you’re x gender?”  or just the treatment of genderqueerness as something new and exotic. And it all screams “THIS IS TOO DIFFERENT AND NOT AS REAL” even by people explicitly telling you the opposite.
 
But when your gender is just included, alongside Male and Female, not as an other or an afterthought… it doesn’t have any of that othering subtext. And it is refreshing. So remarkably refreshing.
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