kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
[personal profile] kaberett
... presented as a series of e-mails, sent/received over the past week or so.

Dear [fullname]


Thank you for joining the register, while checking your details we have noticed that your gender and title are mismatched, which is fine if that is how you wish to be addressed. Can you please confirm your title and gender.

Once your sample has been fully tested, you could come up as a potential match at any moment. It’s vital then that the details we have are correct so that if you’re the one who can save someone’s life we can reach you straightaway.

If there are any further changes, please let us know by going to our website https://www.anthonynolan.org/node/778 or emailing donorsupport@anthonynolan.org

I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank you for supporting our lifesaving work. Without generous people like you we simply couldn’t save lives.

Thank you so much, and best wishes,

Anthony Nolan Donor Support Team

Lynn Miller
Donor Liaison Supervisor

Note the very clear signalling to trans people that being trans is probably acceptable and they're probably not going to be a shit to you if you tell them what's going on in more detail.

So what I actually sent back, having taken some very deep breaths and with a great deal of anxiety, was:
Dear Lynn,

Thank you for getting in touch, and for doing so sensitively -- I'm absolutely delighted to have joined the register.

However, sorting out my details may be a little complicated, because unfortunately it wasn't possible to record my title and gender correctly at the point of applying to join the register -- sorry!

My preferred title, if I have to use one, is actually Mx, which you don't currently offer. Mx is a gender-neutral general-use honorific (that does not require any particular academic qualification or religious or military status) that's seeing increasing use -- bodies that offer it as a title include the NHS (e.g.
https://apps.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/ppcwebsales/patient.do), the Co-operative, and Metro Bank. It would be great if you could add this to drop-down list of titles provided at https://www.anthonynolan.org/apply-join-bone-marrow-register, and even better if you could make title an optional field (as many people, including Quakers, prefer not to use titles).

I use Mx as a title because I'm genderqueer (and trans), in that neither "male" nor "female" is a good or complete description of my gender.
Where data is gathered, genderqueer or non-binary gender is reported at a rate of ~2% of respondents. The application form unfortunately does not make clear why you are requesting gender, and it would likely be helpful to you if you did explain your reasoning. If it's the case that sex chromosomes are important for matching bone marrow donors, it may be useful for you to instead ask the questions "What is your gender?
Female/Male/Other/Prefer not to say" followed by "What is the sex you were assigned at birth? Female/Male/Other/Prefer not to say", with an explanation that this helps you to make the best match possible. (This is why I assumed you were asking, so I answered the question with the sex I was assigned at birth rather than my gender, which wasn't available as an option.) If you don't need to know applicants' genders for medical reasons, it might be best to leave the question off altogether but would definitely be better to include "Other (optionally please state)" and "Prefer not to say" as options.

For context, I'm an expert patient who has been invited to write and review for the BMJ on questions relating to trans healthcare; I've also been the trans rep on student and staff networks at various places that I've studied and worked. I'm very willing to offer support with making the process of applying to join the bone marrow register more welcoming to trans folk, and to answer questions you may have; alternatively, you may wish to contact GIRES (http://www.gires.org.uk/) or Gendered Intelligence (http://genderedintelligence.co.uk/) for further information.

Once again, I'm really grateful for all the work you do and delighted to have joined the register -- I do hope this is helpful.


And then I got, in fairly short order, a reply. About which I was sufficiently anxious that I got A to read it first and summarise for me, and which still needs a response, but look at this:
Dear Alex,

Thank you very much for getting back to me and for such a helpful response. We are actually about to launch new versions of both our event and online forms and these will both include the option to select Mx as a preferred title. Transgender people are absolutely not excluded from joining the Anthony Nolan register and we acknowledge that we need to improve the way that we ask potential donors to give their gender.

The sex of a potential donor is one of the factors that clinicians consider when identifying the best donor for their particular patient. Therefore, at the point of joining the register, should a potential donor voluntarily disclose that their self-identified gender is different to their sex assigned at birth, we will ask permission to record this on the application form.

In the coming year we will looking at the way that we ask for gender and sex information and we would very much value your input and would be very grateful for your advice. Could we get in touch with you at a later date when we are in a position to review?

Best wishes


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kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)

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