National LGBT Health Education Center has some excellent resources for updating intake forms to be gender-neutral and welcoming to LGBTQ people.
"Focus on Forms and Policy: Making inclusive environments for LGBT patients"
Page 6 has examples of old language and suggestions for updating. For example, changing "mother/father" to "parent/guardian."
"Ready, Set, Go: Guidelines and tips for collecting patient data and gender and sexuality"
On page 7, there is an example intake form with questions that include "Name on legal documents" and "preferred name." They also discuss educating front desk staff so they can implement the change without confusion. It is important to train staff on how to explain the questions accurately and without judgment to clients, if they have questions.
Asking about gender:
We recommend the multi-step question:
What is your current gender? (check all that apply) Man, Woman, Transgender, Nonbinary, Decline to state, Other:_____
What was your assigned sex at birth? Male, Female, Intersex, Decline to state, Other:_____
What are your pronouns? he/his, she/her, they/them, Ze/Hir, other:____
What is your legal name ?__________ (only asked this if needed for insurance purposes)
What is your preferred name?________
The two-part question allows for folks to identify their sex, gender, preferred name, and pronouns. It allows for the complexity of gender to be captured. Sometimes it's helpful to have some definitions before the question so your front desk staff isn't answering so many of the same questions. It depends on how much space you have on your form.
Asking about sexuality:
Do you consider yourself: heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, asexual, other:______
What support do you have regarding sexual orientation? (i.e., family, peers, etc.)__________________
It is important to leave a blank space for folks to fill in about gender or relationship status because there are just infinite options. It might be good to ask, "who do you live with?" because many LGBTQ+ folks have chosen family that aren't necessarily family or partners, but provide support like a family or partner would.
If you would like technical assistance in updating your forms and physical environment to be more welcoming to LGBTQ+ folks, please contact us. See our Bright Spaces, Welcome Places directory for LGBTQ-affirming mental health agencies around New Mexico.