Sharon Turner

EAP Teacher (English for Academic Purposes), Sabanci University

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Is it important to state your gender on your TED profile?

I was filling in my TED profile recently and I was struck by the gender category. Is it important to state your gender on your TED profile? Should gender be a category on your TED profile?

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    Aug 25 2011: I think you see a problem where there isn't one. Everyone can check the gender they feel comfortable with not necessary what is written in the documents.
    My guess is TED uses this info for statistics and it facilitates contact with the users.

    sorry but it seems to me as such a first-world-problem.
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    Aug 27 2011: hmm, i always thought genders was the way our (biological) sex was culturally formed.

    Other than that: might as well be optional (though I don't see the point of hiding it)
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    Aug 26 2011: Well I don't feel it should be required I don't think fleshing out a bit of your identity on an online forum is a bad idea. Where you live, your gender, race, economic status all contributes to your opinions. That said my profile is as sparse as they come and a bit outdated.
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      Aug 27 2011: Yes I agree. Sometimes it can inhibit the exchange or it allows people sometimes to have preconceived ideas regardless of whether they mean to or not. Thanks for the reply.)
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    Aug 26 2011: Not important. I don't believe anyone here is concerned with who is a boy or who is a girl. Sure, there are a few who are both, but I'm fairly certain there are very few people who choose to be both a boy & a girl.

    I'm not aware of anyone "becoming" a hermaphrodite. Transsexuals can check boy or girl. I highly doubt anyone will be concerned over the details...
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    Aug 25 2011: Should be optional.Should be optional.
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    Aug 25 2011: it is a required field? sounds stupid
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    Aug 25 2011: Possibly! What if you are trans gender? What would you write? Ok, I agree that name, and where you are located in the world are a basic part of your identity but gender and age are not so important. Age is also not mentioned on the profile. Do we need to define our gender or can we just all belong to the category of human beings?.)
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      Aug 25 2011: If someone is transgender or something in between he or she is known in the world as male or female though that can change. My brother became my sister and it still is difficult to speak over the past for I have to switch between he or she, him or her depending of the year that I'm talking about. Gender is imbedded into language and in French or German even more than English.
      If I write in general about human activity I try to avoid this by using the words person or this or that one and alike but this isn't suitable for direct communication.
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        Aug 27 2011: Dear Frans,

        Thank you for sharing something so personal. I can only begin to imagine how difficult it is to talk about the past and be conscious to switch to the right pronoun. It is true that gender is embedded in language and in direct communication it is difficult to find a way around gender. I try to use 'they' and people but that can become so repetitive. In response to your original question about it being important to not reveal your gender, I did come up with an example. If you are a 22-30 year old female, sometimes, particularly in London, if they know your gender they might not invite you for a job interview particularly in the finance sector. If you do get the interview you might still be asked, as many women I know have been, the baby question. Thanks again Frans.
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    Aug 25 2011: Can it be important not to reveal your gender, and why? Name, age, gender and place are all part of an identity.