I was sitting in the waiting area of one of our local healthcare businesses about six months ago when I heard a rustling of paper behind me and a man muttered, “What in heck is this crud all about?” I cleaned up a few words so this article might still be publishable.
I turned around and saw an older guy (not as old as me) filling in the same form as I was. I hadn’t gotten to the part that had stirred his ire, yet. But, a minute later I did. I didn’t get angry though. I merely shook my head and read on.
Having been around a few more years than he had, and written a few more words than he had, I was getting used to politically correct inanity, the bane of our First Amendment. I read through the lines at the bottom of the page and saw immediately what had offended him.
The last third of this patient information sheet was written in politically correct language. A language that I refuse to take seriously and refuse to speak, if at all avoidable.
The first words on this form were: “(Check One) Birth Sex: Male, Female, Unknown.” If I had ever answered that query, I would have to say, “Don’t know. I was too young at the time and wasn’t looking down.”
At this point, I want to make a clarifying statement. I feel great empathy for those unfortunate people who have to go through life, either as a male or female, who truly believe they are forced to go through their lives living in the wrong physical body for what their minds are telling them.
But, at the same time, a doctor can only make out the birth certificate by using what his eyes tell him the sex is. I also know that there are some people born whose sexual organs are not developed enough to be certain of their gender. These are problems that must be faced later on in life. Not at the moment of birth, as in, “Birth Sex.”
Next on the questionnaire was: “Gender Identity: Male, Female, Transgender (female to male), Transgender (male to female), Neither exclusively male nor female, other ___ , Choose not to disclose.” Frankly, I consider that whole line of questions to be confidential information and should be disclosed only face-to-face to your doctor. Not on a form available to the entire office staff to peruse or giggle over.
Next was: “Marital Status: Single, Married, Divorced, Partner, Unknown, Widowed, Legally Separated.” Actually, none of this information is anybody’s business. Will it affect the reason you are there?
Usually, back in the olden days of political incorrectness, married or single was all that would be asked on any form. Check off, “partner,” and some people might ask themselves whether or not you might be gay. Again, none of their business.
Next came a couple of lines that were not too controversial. “Veteran? Yes, no, Learning preference: Oral, Visual, Written. Then, Language: English or Other: ___.”
Then, of course, due to this era of political correctness, the matter of race came up. I was under the impression that you could not properly inquire about a person’s race. That may be only if applying for a job. I’m not sure.
But, here it was in all its glory: “Race: White, Black, African American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian, Other Pacific Islander, Other Race ___, Decline to specify.”
First off, (I may be wrong. Sometimes I am.) is “American Indian” politically correct? I thought it was now to be, “Native American.” Secondly, “Asian”? I think you might find almost any race of peoples native to the Asian Continent, not just people from Japan, China, Vietnam, or Korea if that’s what “Asian” might refer to. How about the Indians? I mean, the true Indians. The ones the early explorers misnamed when they discovered America and thought the were in India.
I hope I haven’t offended too many people with this little diatribe. If I have, maybe I’m not really their problem. Besides, I left: “Ethnicity: Hispanic or Latino, Not Hispanic or Latino, Other ____, Decline to Specify,” for another time.
Bud Simpson writes a weekly column published in The Logan Daily News. The views of this column may not necessarily reflect that of the newspaper.