I have always been good at standardized tests. I realize this is no small gift.
One part of standardized tests that I never minded, ever since grade school — almost enjoyed — is the beginning, which is almost always the same, with little variations.
Even now, filling out job applications and health forms, it’s always: Name, (last name or first name first), Address, City, State, (two letter abbreviation or spell it out?), Zip code, (plus the extra four digits or not), Etcetera.
Over the years the demographics section has gotten more complicated. I remember way back when it used to be just male or female, black or white, and married or single (well, they didn’t ask that in grade school).
But those who create our forms came to the realization that America is much more complicated than that.
It is clear to anyone who takes a walk around the block in my neighborhood that black or white doesn’t cover my neighbors. I’ve come to realize that even male or female isn’t an easy question for some people to answer.
The marriage question is a totally different debate. Of course, since this is America, we need a ‘Divorced’ box to check on most forms. But for some poor souls who happen to have married someone of their same gender, they need to check state law before they know which box they can check.
I find that tedious and intrusive. The government lets you decide which race box you want to check. And some forms have dozens of race boxes, no proof of heritage required.
This past weekend’s National Equality March in DC was about evening that playing field for lesbian, gay and transgender Americans. The civil rights fight isn’t over yet.
Of course the marriage issue is only a small part of it. Learn more at the National Equality March website.