Flexible self-identification of gender, race,and pronouns

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References for Supporting diversity with a new approach to software

Who needs it the most? People who don’t fit into male/female binary, multiracial people

Who else benefits? People who don’t want to unintentionally use the wrong pronouns for somebody

High-level recommendations

  • Allow arbitrary text (rather than restricting people to a fixed list) for gender, race, and other information
  • Allow multiple choices; e.g., somebody who’s multiracial may be white, black
  • Allow people to decline to answer, or to limit the visibility of their response
  • If there are easier ways to select from a short list of more-common choices, do not use the word “other” as a way of getting to the more flexible specification

OS Bridge sessions

More Than Binary: Inclusive Gender Collection and You, Anne DeCusatis (2016)

Male/Female/Othered: Implementing Gender-Inclusiveness in User Data Collection, Finn Harker and Jonathan Ellis (2015)


Web Forms: When Someone's Gender is Your Business, Jennifer Zhu, OS Feels 2016, looks at situations like insurance where you do have to collect gender information

5 Simple Steps for Trans-Inclusive Data, Avory Faucette, AlterConf DC 2016

Open Gender Project, creating a simple API and library.

Disalienation: Why Gender is a Text Field on Diaspora, Sarah Mei, 2010

Genders and Drop-down Menus (2008) and Designing a Better Drop-Down Menu for Gender (2009), Sarah Dopp on Dopp Juice.