Orientation and Gender and Race, Oh My!

As I keyed in my response to a comment on last week’s post that I do not record sexual orientation, gender identity, race or national origin in my evaluations I had this funny feeling of a need to say more, then a colleague sent this comment:

“I disagree with your response to Marzipans11 on sexual [orientation], gender, race, etc. These all profoundly affect the way the world interacts with them, and with the way they interact with the world. Additionally, we are learning the differences with medication reactions based on gender race, etc.

“Sounds too PC to me. Everyone is far from equal.”

I began to wonder whether PC (politically correct) enters into it, and, if so, is it more politically correct to ask and record or to avoid? Maybe I just do not want to take the time and make the effort to ask. Maybe I want to avoid discomfort, for the patient or myself.

Then I recalled that most of this information comes out when I create my genogram. “Where did your parents grow up?” That usually gets national origin. Questions about marital status often lead to sexual orientation which in reality is a spectrum, or at least a moving target. Questions about surgery and medications might lead to information about gender identity or reassignment. Race gets more mixed up all the time, and with the advent of genetic testing skin color and facial features, even how a patient identifies herself racially, tell us less and less.

With same gender marriage gaining in legal status, and in reality, I realize my old genogram template with pre-drawn circles and squares connected by marriage lines falls short for an increasing number of families. How does one represent a family where the kids are a product of artificial insemination?

We’re not in Kansas anymore.

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