The GLBTRT ad hoc task force charged to comment on RDA’s proposed coding of gender in authority records submitted a response. The text of the response is below.
The members of this task force were Naomi Kietzke Young (chair), Sherman Clarke, Brian Hasenstab, Tracy Nectoux, and Adam Schiff. Congratulations to them on a job well done!
This comment was submitted on behalf of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association.
The current instruction for proposed RDA rule 184.108.40.206.1, “Record the gender with which a person identifies using am appropriate term from the list below.
does not acknowledge the fluidity and variety of possible gender identity or identities of an individual over time. It also does not address coding of the variety of gender categories related to bibliographic identities, the individuals who create then, and the relationships among them. (How, for example, would we code George Eliot, a woman writing with a male name, or Barbara Michael, a husband and wife writing novels together under one name?) Furthermore, the limited number of possible values, and the language used for those values is offensive to many people.
This Task Force recommends that RDA not prescribe any coding for gender, and that further study be made of the issues of gender in the context of resource identification and relationships between entities.