Question: Gender?

A reader asks…

I’m currently filling out college applications. When the app says “Sex:” I put my bio sex. But when it says “Gender:” what should I put?

Please post your response in the comments below.

» Ask Genderfork «

Posted by on April 5th, 2010 at 04:00 pm

Category: questions 13 comments »

13 Responses to “Question: Gender?”

  1. Corbyn

    If your gender identity matches your sex then say whatever your sex is if it is different then say whatever your gender is. For instance my sex is Female my gender is male/masculine. It might also be good to clarify what pronouns you use and prefer.


  2. Anonymous

    If it is a housing application or something in which the answer REALLY matters to your possible future school, you should contact them to clarify. Then suggest that if they mean “sex” they should say it, damnit.


  3. Meike

    It depends on the situation. Is it an instance where you could easily substitute the word “sex” instead of “gender”? In this case they probably mean “sex”, people often mix up the two. Then you’d put your biological sex. Otherwise, I agree with anonymous; maybe you should contact them and ask them to clarify. And then what you fill out just depends on who you are, and how you identify as a person. If it gives you the option, you could always say “prefer not to disclose”. I do that whenever I can get away with it. :)


  4. Avery

    you could always make your own “prefer not to disclose” box if you’re applying via snail mail. :)


  5. Ebenezer

    I leave such boxes blank, but I suppose that may work for me on account of my gender neutrality. If you have a clearly defined gender in your own mind, you may want to put that, regardless of whether it matches your sex. It depends on what you feel comfortable stating; and, as Anonymous said, you can contact them.


  6. Jessica

    If at the bottom of the form it has a place for your signature and some info about your providing correct and accurate information, then you’d better put the sex/gender that the state has you down as. If you put anything else then they can site that discrepancy and you will have very little recourse. It’s shitty, but it’s a fact.

    If Sex has a blank over it and the mood takes me, I’ll write in “in moderation” and under race I’ll write in Homo Sapiens. Gender, when present on a form almost always has just the two boxes. Sometimes I write in a box and put Other, or NOYDB.


  7. epinards

    if you are talking about your relationship to gender in your personal essay, then I think that sets you up nicely to truthfully write in whatever gender identity you use — ie what you would use if you were filling out a genderfork profile. That actually provides them with a rather cohesive picture of you which is exactly what they are looking for on college applications.

    Otherwise I agree with the other posters, I would call the university and check out how they are using that information.

    No major university or college is going to penalize you for “inaccurate” gender presentation, nor do they run investigations to make sure that college applicants are writing the same information on their college apps as in a state database. The worst that will happen is they use it for something like housing and you end up having a lot of paperwork to correct once you show up at school. Or another bad thing could happen is they could just write it out when they do the data entry. Then you’ll wonder why your carefully-thought-out response has been collapsed to “male” or “female” by a data entry clerk.


  8. Anonymous

    I think it’s generally better to give people the information they are asking for, even if they are asking it in an inherently offensive way. When people ask for your gender, they ask almost always asking for your biological sex.


  9. jamessooy

    In most cases people are pretty intentional about what they are asking for with their forms. I know if I was creating a form for my patients/students/employees I’d be intentional about how I worded it it.

    If they ask for sex, I’d give bio. If they ask gender I’d give your identity.

    Unless its for medical records everyone else (businesses and universities) just want to know so they can relate to you.


  10. MaxVoltageSF

    I hate these sorts of questions. I’m intersex. My biological gender is not male or female. I can “pass” as male.. but it doesn’t make it true. I usually end up putting male, then feeling vexed for a while


  11. Anonymous

    write what you id as homie! whatever you want.


  12. Lilybean

    They want to know your gender? Tell them your gender!

    I sorely anticipate the next opportunity to write “female)ish)” somewhere. As it stands, I’m close enough to ‘count as’ female for now.


  13. Char

    I have to check both boxes when they ask for my sex, because that is how my body is. I’m a chimera and I refuse to lie to make them feel better, or to make their computed results match up.

    When people ask my gender on forms like that, I leave it blank. When they point that out, I simply say, “There’s no right or wrong answer on this test… and you’ve only got A or B. What about all the other ones?


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