I reckon we’ve all had that moment while filling out forms, where we’ve paused, and noted that the only options available to tick and describe ourselves are limited, and don’t seem to accurately reflect who we are.
Well, in this case, imagine if you could have gay marriages in Malaysia. Joyous celebrations aside, some poor sod will be stuck fixing the flawed system we have in place for dealing with such things in registration forms.
Check out one person’s complicated process of making forms gay marriage-friendly:
To be blunt, the systems aren’t set up to handle it. The paper forms have a space for the husband’s name and a space for the wife’s name. Married people carefully enter their details in block capitals and post the forms off to depressed paper-pushers who then type that information into software front-ends whose forms are laid out and named in precisely the same fashion. And then they hit “submit” and the information is filed away electronically in databases which simply keel over or belch integrity errors when presented with something so profound as a man and another man who love each other enough to want to file joint tax returns.
This is the part that really got my attention, right at the end (and, I generally love the geekiness of it all):
Come to think about it, all three of the gender in your head and the sex of your body and the clothes you wear are independent from one another! Why don’t we just add another column for telling whether someone’s a transvestite or not…
[ Insert obligatory flippant remark about certain advisory council out there ]
Nothing like a person who works with binaries to tell you they don’t work.
I look forward to the day some programmer’s work be made difficult because he has to make registration forms in Malaysia egalitarian — and that includes recognising all forms of gender and sexuality. Or at least, leaving it out of the form?