Software can do better than ‘male’, ‘female’ and ‘other’

Why is something as denuclearized as “other”? Even the choice of the three most common – “he”, “she” and “they” – would make sense. From a coding perspective, it should be fairly straightforward to update the language dropdown.

It is not difficult for companies to improve gender inclusion on existing forms. Providing additional options usually requires only a few lines of code to be changed or added. Here’s what it would look like adding a third gender category in PHP, used to program many web forms:

Of course, not all software is easy to update. That’s why it’s important for developers to create a comprehensive program during the design phase so that diverse users can feel welcome at launch.

Despite being a minority, transgender people are still a large demographic for software. It is estimated that there are more than 1.4 million transgender adults in the US – about twice the population of Alaska. How did we accept one of the least populated states as the second option in an alphabetical menu of dozens of options, but found it inconvenient to add a few genders again?

“Female” and “male” should be at the top of the list; 99.5% of the population doesn’t have to scroll so much to find their gender. As a transgender, I’m simply asking developers to include options for everyone who uses their software. As a developer, I know that’s not a huge request.

Everett Franchuk is a web developer and writer based in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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