Designing a Data Model for Gender and Sexuality (Oh And Also, I’m Pansexual)

Personal
363 Comments

These days, BrentOzar.com mostly focuses on the Microsoft data platform. However, you and I have a relationship, dear reader, so I just need to talk about some personal stuff today.

No, I'm not listening to YMCA.Lemme get two things out of the way first:

  • I’m pansexual, and
  • From a data modeling perspective, that’s different from bisexuality

I totally understand if you’re breathing into a paper bag right now, freaked out because that’s a lot to take in. You can close this blog post and come back to it later, or even just close it, hahaha – I understand that it’s a challenging topic.

But if you wanna learn more about me and data modeling, let’s dig in.

Let’s design a data model
for gender and sexuality.

Most of us are aware of two genders: male and female. In terms of data modeling, we might think of it as a bit column, IsFemale. 0 would be male, 1 would be female.

Sure sure, you could do IsMale, and have 0 be female, 1 be male. I’m fine with either definition – I swing both ways. (Brace yourself – the jokes only get worse.) So:

Then if gender is a bit column, then defining sexuality is pretty easy too. We can’t do it with just a bit flag, but here are the four possibilities:

  • Heterosexual: someone is attracted to the “opposite” gender – for example, if you’re a man, you’re attracted to women
  • Homosexual: attracted to the “same” gender – for example, if you’re a man, you’re attracted to other men
  • Bisexual: attracted to both men and women
  • Asexual: not attracted to either (listen, there are days when I want y’all to all die in a fire, especially the days when I read the comments)

We might design it as:

Most data modelers would stop there, and I would understand why. That’s all most of us have been exposed to. If you’re nodding along, that’s fine – you would define me as IsFemale = 0, SexualPreference = Bisexual.

I would totally understand if you said, “Ugh, Brent, this is way too much information,” and you closed the blog post here. I get it. This is an uncomfortable topic. But if you wanna learn about why bit columns don’t work for genders, then we need to keep going.

Gender isn’t really a bit flag.

In about 0.02% to 0.05% of births, the person is born with ambiguous genitals.

I know some readers are gonna rage-quit right there, and I understand. It’s a touchy topic. (No pun intended. (Okay, maybe the pun was intended.)) You’re welcome to do your own research on the intersex topic.

But if we agree that there are any births where it isn’t black-and-white which gender someone is at birth, that opens up a data modeling problem. A simple bit column isn’t going to be enough, because there’s more than just male and female. Gender is non-binary.

Furthermore, as people age, they may find that the bit value they were assigned at birth is wrong. The truth is, your biological sex isn’t carved in stone, but a living system with the potential for change. (I stole that sentence from this Scientific American piece, HT Andy Mallon, and I have so much respect for transgender folks who have to deal with this struggle.)

As a data modeler, it’s not my job to lay out every possible option for gender. I just need to be aware that a bit column isn’t going to cut it, and I’m going to need a lookup table along the lines of:

For the purposes of this blog post, I don’t give a damn what’s in the table. I don’t even care if you define it as:

Even if those were the only 3 options, that’s clear enough that a bit flag isn’t going to cut it.

So if a bit flag isn’t going to cut it, then we’re gonna need more than 4 options for sexual preferences.

Our 4 starting sexual preferences
are still a thing, but there are more.

All of these are still valid:

  1. Heterosexual can still mean men who are attracted to women, and women who are attracted to men. That’s fine.
  2. Homosexual can still mean men who are attracted to men, and women who are attracted to women.
  3. Asexual can still mean people who aren’t sexually attracted to anyone else.
  4. Bisexual can still mean men attracted to men & women, and women attracted to women & men.

But we’re gonna need more definitions, too, because people who are bisexual aren’t necessarily attracted to people whose gender is in the grey area. We need something like bisexual, but that also means any gender is okay, not just male or female.

That’s pansexual: people who can be sexually attracted to anyone else regardless of their gender – not just men or women, but people who are in the grey area. (I know, before you read this post, you thought bisexual people were open to a lot! Turns out there’s a world in which bisexual people are considered picky, hahaha.)

There are more sexual preferences than that, too. My goal in this post isn’t to define every possible sexual preference – it’s just to remind you that gender is not a bit flag, and the table for sexual preferences has more rows than you might consider at first glance.

I’m pansexual:
gender isn’t a factor for me.

That sounds like I have really low standards, hahaha, like I’m attracted to everything that moves. That couldn’t be further from the truth: I am very, very picky, but I just don’t consider gender as part of the criteria that I look for. I’ve met sexy women, men, transgender folks, and nonbinary folks.

Right now, I’m in a relationship with someone non-binary who was born a man, but is comfortable presenting as either a woman or a man, depending on what they feel like doing that day. Most of the time, they present as a woman.

You might be asking yourself, “Wait, Brent – is that your wife?” No, my wife and I got divorced when we returned from Iceland in 2021.

I’m blogging about my sexuality
for 3 reasons.

First, I wanna be here for folks who are surprised by this. Right now in politics, there’s a lot of divisiveness, a lot of us-versus-them. I know some of my readers are going to be shocked that I’m one of “them”, the sexual deviants who have some kind of agenda. It’s okay – I understand if you’re shocked, and I’m here if you want to talk about it. You can ask me anything you want publicly or privately, and not feel dumb or guilty.

Second, I wanna be here for folks who feel seen. Right now, non-binary, transgender, and pansexual people are reading this blog post going, “OMG, I’m not alone in this industry.” If there’s anything I can help you with, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Third, because I can. I’m blessed enough to be at the point in my career where I can talk publicly about this stuff without fear of retribution. Oh, retribution is going to happen, for sure – there are readers right now going, “Screw this guy, I’m unsubscribing from this craziness.” That’s fine. I will survive.

But don’t worry,
this blog is still about data.

I don’t want you to think that I’m constantly going to be pushing this in your face, dear reader. The blog is still going to be about databases, and my social media feeds are still going to be about cars and travel and food.

No, I’m not going to hit on you at a conference or a user group. I’ve never done that before, and I’m not about to start now. If you’re worried that I’m looking at you with some kind of ulterior motive, relax. You’re not my type. I’m specifically talking to you, not the other readers here.

The eagle-eyed will notice that I try to use gender-neutral names and terminologies as often as I can. I try to sneak in little fun stories and lessons where it makes sense, and I’m sure I’ll start working in more subtle stuff in demos.

But this blog isn’t going to become some kind of pansexual activism point. The biggest reason is simple: the pansexual pride flag is ugly.

C’mon, seriously, it’s as if someone said, “These pansexuals say they’re okay with anything? Well, let’s see how they feel about THIS, ha ha ho ho!” Ugh.

I know this is complex.
Feel free to ask me questions.

If you want to know more about me, gender in general, or sexuality in general, you’re welcome to post comments here or email me directly at brento@brentozar.com. You can also check social media today because May 24th is #PansexualVisibilityDay.

I know this topic is very different than the ones we usually discuss here. I will make sure the comments section is a place for honest discussion and learning, free from trolls or abuse.

Update: wanna know what
kinds of messages I got for this?

After publishing this blog post, here’s an example message I got on LinkedIn:

Part of me is honored that y’all think I’m professional.

The other part of me is completely unprofessional, and is surprised that it took you so long to find out.

As a reminder: BrentOzar.com is my blog, not yours. I’m here for a good time. If you’re not here for that, it’s best if you unsubscribe.

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363 Comments. Leave new

  • Kendra Little
    May 24, 2022 11:59 am

    Love you, Brent!

    Reply
  • Love this post <3

    Thanks for being you, Brent.

    Reply
  • David Rymell
    May 24, 2022 12:14 pm

    Fantastic post! Thanks, Brett! 🙂

    Reply
  • Paul Andrew
    May 24, 2022 12:19 pm

    Excellent Brent!

    Reply
  • Steven Bitaxi
    May 24, 2022 12:22 pm

    Somehow you always make learning fun. Even with uncomfortable topics. And I don’t mean I’m uncomfortable, or you’re uncomfortable, just that topics are uncomfortable, though not necessarily this topic for me.
    Happy to continue riding along and reading about your journey.
    Thank you for the data trip!

    Reply
    • Awww, thanks! That’s one of the best compliments I can get.

      And I totally know what you mean about uncomfortable topics – there’s often a lot of yelling or hurt feelings around this topic.

      Reply
    • Renegadelarsen
      May 25, 2022 4:36 am

      Hi Brent

      Thanks for yet another great Blog post. As you know i’m from Denmark and here we have about 72 genders. I will always consider you as a friend. Keep doing what you do and i’m sure people will still see as the professionel/uprofessionel person you are. No matter what I still love the work you do for the rest of us.

      With love and peace

      René Larsen

      Reply
  • To be honest, you’re more impressive with this post! You’re an expert and at the same time, a sensitive and open-minded soul. Kudos to you and your blog. And go away, you unrelenting and judgmental fools!

    Reply
  • Our love will save the world. Proud of you, Bent

    Reply
  • I came for one lesson, and got a completely different but equally valuable one. alongside it. Respect for being so open, I’d imagine it took some serious consideration to put that all out there.

    Reply
  • Jeremiah Peschka
    May 24, 2022 12:35 pm

    You are, and always will be, my friend. Love you, buddy.

    Reply
  • Respect from this old beard – for the nerdy how to do the data thing, for the way you tell a story to help people learn thing and for the way you choose to drop that piece of info casually into a post 😀

    Reply
  • chad.baldwin
    May 24, 2022 12:38 pm

    Happy Pansexual Visibility Day Brent!

    One of the reasons I’ve always loved your content and training (aside from the roasting) is because of your inclusiveness. That’s always stuck out to me even though it’s usually subtle.

    It’s also one of the reasons I love the data community in general. It’s always felt very focused on inclusion.

    Reply
  • Cynthia (Brent’s mom)
    May 24, 2022 12:45 pm

    Love is love. You have my undying love and support.. I’m proud of you. BE YOU. Always! ~ Mom

    Reply
    • Awww, thanks Mom! I love you too.

      Reply
    • Hi Brent’s Mom! Thanks for making Brent! We love him too!

      Reply
      • Cynthia (Brent’s Mom)
        May 24, 2022 1:42 pm

        Thanks, Andy!!! I only get half credit for this though!

        Reply
        • Will Lamers
          May 25, 2022 3:17 pm

          You are amazing, I see where Brent gets it from!

          Reply
          • Cynthia (Brent’s Mom)
            May 25, 2022 3:29 pm

            Thank you for your kind words, Will. My two children are my biggest accomplishments and my most joyous blessings in my life!

    • Tim Toennies
      May 24, 2022 9:11 pm

      This was the Aww moment for me; it became real because of your comment Cynthia. Thanks to you and Brent for being true to yourself and having the courage to be open with the world. Peace and Love!

      Reply
      • Cynthia (Brent’s Mom)
        May 25, 2022 4:09 am

        Thank you SO MUCH, Tim!!! And thanks to my son for being loving, patient and kind with me during my (short) learning curve!

        Reply
        • Now I don’t know who is cooler…

          Brent, or his mom. ?

          ?????

          Reply
          • Cynthia (Brent’s Mom)
            May 25, 2022 12:38 pm

            Hi Alex ~ hahaha! I really appreciate your kind words. I just wish that every single person could have the love, respect, acceptance, understanding and support that each of us need from our parents, our families, our partners, our friends and all people…. I’m here for each/all of you!

  • Great post !
    There should always be the option “Do not wish to share”
    I would prefer even another one: “None of your business”

    Reply
    • Samuel Jones
      May 24, 2022 4:40 pm

      and honestly, another for Other because I can guarantee that some of the identities are both very particular and extremely rare.

      Reply
    • I catch up with a favorite aunt now and then (she’s 85 or so), and we talk about the news of the world. When it gets to topics like this, she says ‘well, I’m short. And what does that mean to anyone?’ (she’s 4 foot something). I didn’t have a reply at hand.

      Reply
  • Thanks Brent!

    Would love to get a pic of you and Liz (SQLDork) at Summit. The one from SQL Sat Dallas is inaccurate 🙂

    Reply
  • Wait… You’re not going to hit on me?!
    I’m offended :))

    Reply
  • It’s quite insulting for you to say that my sex was assigned at birth.

    Redefining what other people are is a step too far…

    Reply
    • Stephen Archbold
      May 24, 2022 1:33 pm

      You didn’t choose, right? So it was assigned at birth, based on a universal standard of male/female. There’s no implication here that it was incorrect, or that it was a negative thing. I was assigned male, and that was on the money. That’s not the case for everyone is, I think, the point Brent was making.

      I know Brent is open to discuss any points on this, you should reach out if you’d like to talk about it directly with him.

      Reply
      • Marlon Ribunal
        May 25, 2022 12:04 am

        Congrats Brent! I had to google pansexual. I learned something new today. You’ve been an inspiration to my career. Your blog has been a great resource in my day-to-day job. And will continue as such. Period. That linkedin message is disappointing to say the least. They probably never respected you in the first place.

        Here’s wishing you more success!

        Reply
      • Marlon Ribunal
        May 25, 2022 12:14 am

        Stephen,

        I did not mean to reply to your comment. I apologize. It was posted before I realized it.

        Reply
        • Stephen Archbold
          May 25, 2022 10:56 am

          No problem at all! I’ll never be sad about a notification saying something positive about Brent!

          Reply
      • Not assigned, identified. Doctors don’t assign gender, they identify it. They’re not the same thing.

        Reply
    • I apologize for insulting you. Definitely feel free to follow up with me via email to help clarify what I did wrong and how I can do better next time. Thanks!

      Reply
      • Will Lamers
        May 25, 2022 3:27 pm

        What Stephen said made me start to think. Playing Devil’s advocate I guess, but what is the purpose of storing someone’s sex? Should it only contain what the binary assignment was at birth? Or sexual preferences? My sexual preferences are my own, and may or may not change at some point in my life, but I am rather attached to my attachments and so identify as male, and if I do walk on the other side at some point it would not change that.

        Thank you for posting such an eye-opening subject!

        Reply
        • That would depend on the business requirements – just make sure not to confuse the two terms, gender and sexual preference. The term “sex” is often used interchangeably when you’re really thinking of gender.

          Reply
          • Will Lamers
            May 25, 2022 5:06 pm

            My brain hurts, thank you for making me think!

            There is gender, there is gender identity, there is sexual identity, there is sexual preference. And they may not match. IMHO they are a spectrum, and we get into issues when trying to pin a label.

            But in the discussion of which data to store it all depends on what the business reason is for storing it.

            Thank you for sharing!

        • In the healthcare and insurance industry, biological gender is important. Regardless of how you present yourself, a biological male will have health related issues that a biological female will not have and vice versa (Ex. enlarged prostate vs. endometriosis, while we are doing the TMI thing… 😉 )

          Sexual preference, on the other hand, is a secondary issue in the same arena, unless it contributes to risk factors and treatment coverage, and in my experience in the insurance database world it is not tracked..

          Reply
        • Jay Quincy Allen
          May 26, 2022 3:41 am

          I had this requirement back in 1997 for a PIMS (Patient information management system). The model was very similar to Brent’s, except there were also considerations for pre-op, post-op, et al. One point he makes very clear in this article: The model supports any number of definitions for gender and sexual orientation. The count of possible genders is 0 – ?, and defining it as a bit or char(1) isn’t sufficient. Bit only has 3 possible values in SQL Server and char(1) for 0 – ? values sets the database up for update and delete anomalies.

          Reply
  • Stephen Archbold
    May 24, 2022 1:25 pm

    I gotta leave this here too for non twitter folks (sans the eloquence!), and also just to double down to you.

    To share this is amazing, and again, I am proud to call you a friend.

    Someone is having a better day, and feeling more confident sharing who they are, because of this post, and that is an amazing thing

    Reply
  • Medical stuff gets even more complicated too because as you say gender can be anything but for purposes of biology it’s even different. Also you need another lookup table for pronouns. I’d gotten used to a b2b database where we didn’t care because people were rarely mentioned in it. Now I need to care more and my thinking is becoming more inclusive. Still sorry to hear about you and Erika though. That means she’s filling her own gas now I take it.

    Reply
    • It actually isn’t that complicated. Gender is not a biological description, it is commonly used as such, but it doesn’t change that that use wrong, and is extremely bad when it gets used in data.

      I would also push back on the statement, ‘Also you need another lookup table for pronouns.’ In what database? If there wasn’t a lookup for pronouns before, there is no new social reality that automatically necessitates it be included now, they just weren’t recorded. A single DBA or dev arbitrarily defining new data and logic without a business requirement is making the data and application worse, not better. Without a business requirement, those new arbitrary values may later conflict with new requirements that do choose to specify pronouns and their definitions may not remain consistent after an undocumented feature is maintained by one group to another without and authority providing specifications.

      Now, I do 100% see new social realities that would drive NEW business requirements to record pronouns, however it is the business that defines that, not a wild west cowboy group of developers trying to be inclusive on behalf of the business without requirements for how to do it.

      You just don’t put stuff in data there isn’t a requirement for.

      Reply
  • Mark Freeman
    May 24, 2022 1:54 pm

    Congrats on realizing what makes you happy, and having the privilege of being able to publicly declare it without fear. I hope having that privilege becomes the default for everyone. The cost of hiding who you are is just too high. It just shouldn’t matter, especially when it comes to hiring and employment, insurance, housing, raising kids, or anything else.

    I am male, heterosexual, and polyamorous, and one of my partners is female, homosexual, and polyromantic. It gets complicated.

    The bisexual, pansexual, and poly people I know tend to be the pickiest about which specific individuals they will get involved with. None of these terms have anything do to with average length of relationships either, despite the assumptions many people have about them.

    Reply
  • Derek Schneider
    May 24, 2022 2:18 pm

    Thanks. I learnt a heck of a lot from this post!

    Reply
  • I don’t know that I will ever say it enough, Thank you for being YOU! For teaching, for paving the way and for amazing posts like this. Looking forward to being able to serve you a drink again some day!

    Thank you!

    Reply
  • Michael D'Spain
    May 24, 2022 3:01 pm

    Right on!!

    Reply
  • Mary Elizabeth McNeely
    May 24, 2022 3:11 pm

    I learned some new things today. Thank you for your frankness. As always, I wish you well.

    Reply
  • Fantastic post, Brent! I always learn things here. Sometimes it’s not what I was expecting to learn. Love it when that happens.

    I was playing with OpenAI’s GPT-3 today. It has a feature called Summarize for a 2nd Grader (perfect for me). I was curious what it would do with this blog post. Here’s the result:

    “BrentOzar.com is a blog mostly focused on the Microsoft data platform, but the author talks about their personal life today. They are pansexual and explain what that means. They also talk about how complicated gender can be, and how it’s not simply male or female. There are many different sexual preferences, and this blog post is meant to be educational for those who may not be familiar with them.”

    Not bad.

    Reply
  • Thank you for writing this, friend.

    Reply
  • Rudy Komacsar
    May 24, 2022 3:42 pm

    I seem to remmeber when I took a course in DB2 System Administration back in the mid 1980’s. Our instructor Keith referred to us as Sys-Adams and Sys-Eves (an early attempt to lessen the gender divide in a predominantly male profession then) – when designingdatabases his discussion ranged directly in on the ‘gender’ issue. He took the arguments from the class very well and informed us that he had to assist in deigning a research database for some medical project. He then proceeded to explain to the class that gender is not binary and went into the 12 unique medical classifications based on chromosomes. Wish I still had the notes.

    Reply
  • “Turns out there’s a world in which bisexual people are considered picky” …… I’m old enough to remember when the bisexual community was referred to as “greedies” by the homosexual community.

    Before the pandemic, re-working the HR data warehouse, we had a discussion of what type of SCD should gender be. Having recently come across the term “deadname”, Type 1 got my vote.

    Reply
  • Kim Crosser
    May 24, 2022 4:17 pm

    Back in 1996, I was the lead data architect for a commercial jail/prison information management system.
    After a lot of discussions, we realized that there is NO universal unique and unchangeable physical attribute about a person. Basically, every physical attribute was instead implemented as an “as of date/time range” property, and even there we used client-modifiable (and often multi-selection) pick lists.

    Reply
  • I believe this post belongs in that group of “every database designer/programmer needs to read this” posts, along with the “falsehoods programmers have about names” and others along those lines.

    Thank you for sharing, despite the personal risks

    Reply
  • Jim Van Allen
    May 24, 2022 4:23 pm

    I am here for the knowledge (and thanks for that) what you do in your personal time is your business, well unless the day comes and I don’t see a Porsche in your garage then I will have to re-evaluate your (vehicle) choices.

    Sooo, if a person only likes themselves are they Asexual ?

    Reply
  • Bill Rivers
    May 24, 2022 4:23 pm

    Thanks for being so brave and forthright Brent. I think your visibility and high status in the DB community will help others feel safer in presenting their true selves. My respect for you just doubled.

    Reply
  • Congrats and well done for doing yet another thing for the community

    Reply
  • (Okay – just because I work at MongoDB now doesn’t mean I don’t still keep tabs on what you are writing. 🙂 )

    It is a real mark of bravery when there are actual high stakes involved. Vulnerability is strength and you’ve made it easier for the next person. Big respect Brent.

    Joe

    Reply
  • Coll post and very good explanation of gender field. This can be covered in many other data situations.
    But you know what? I hate you, because you did not acknoledge my kind and at same time I love you, because I’m very attracted to intelligent people. You know, my kind of sapiosexual 🙂 (I hope you felt a bit of sarkasmus on that “hate” part.) As i always say to everybody “Enjoy what you are doing and live your life as you want to.” #GoBrent!

    Reply
  • Hi Brent,
    I’ll not be at all surprised if this post doesn’t hit the all time high for number of responses! How you define yourself or how others define you is always secondary to who you are. You are a great person who is doing so much for other people. Thank you for being you!
    Simon

    Reply
  • Sheeley, Rick
    May 24, 2022 4:33 pm

    Can’t argue with that…that one UGLY flag!!

    Reply
  • Chase Marler
    May 24, 2022 4:33 pm

    Rad post – thanks so much for sharing so much; including your personal journies. Super proud of you!

    Reply
  • Katy Wilson
    May 24, 2022 4:33 pm

    Congratulations for speaking up and flying the ugly flag (although i quite liked it).

    It’s great that people we think of as “having made it”, speak up about such things, many people aren’t in a position to do so. I’ve recently seen other SQL Superstars speak up about depression, anxiety and neurodiversity, and am proud that the SQL community is so inclusive.

    Well done for speaking up and using your influence to spread the word, and best of luck in your new relationship.

    Reply
    • Katy – thanks ma’am! I agree – this community has been so open, inclusive, and sharing. It’s inspiring, and it makes it easier to write posts like this.

      Reply
  • James O'Doherty
    May 24, 2022 4:33 pm

    Awesome post Brent

    Reply
  • One more reason to admire you, Brent, and your blog/emails/videos.

    I’m already reading your stuff and have already attended some of your classes for the knowledge, the wit, the sarcasm, and the entertainment. I didn’t need another reason to keep coming back, but here it is.

    Thanks for all of your work!

    Reply
  • Trans DBA here, thank you so, so much for sharing. I’ve always loved your content; your posts are always informative and filled to the brim with personality. But this post… I am currently sending this to everyone who I know that uses SQL. The first thing I send to new developers is your “how to think like the engine” series. I’ll still be sending that, of course, but this will be the post that I send them with it.

    Every time I think “man, I don’t think that Brent could get more awesome if he tried”, you prove me wrong <3

    Reply
  • Bob McLaren
    May 24, 2022 4:37 pm

    On behalf of heterosexuals, I’m sorry that we make things so difficult and that it still requires so much courage to “come out” and be yourself. Because of inspirational people like you Brent, I am encouraged that future generations will have an easier time of it. Thank you!

    Reply
  • From the wonderful Schitt’s Creek:

    David Rose : I like the wine and not the label. Does that make sense?

    Reply
    • Johnny Rose
      May 24, 2022 7:50 pm

      Stevie Budd: So, just to be clear, um… I’m a red wine drinker.
      David Rose: That’s fine.
      Stevie Budd: Okay, cool. But, uh, I only drink red wine.
      David Rose: Okay.
      Stevie Budd: And up until last night, I was under the impression that you too only drank red wine. But I guess I was wrong?
      David Rose: [nods knowingly] I see where you’re going with this. Um… I do drink red wine. But I also drink white wine.
      Stevie Budd: Oh.
      David Rose: And I’ve been known to sample the occasional rosé. And a couple summers back, I tried a merlot that used to be a chardonnay…
      Stevie Budd: Uh… okay.
      David Rose: …which got a bit complicated.
      Stevie Budd: Yeah, so… you’re just really open to all wines.
      David Rose: I like the wine and not the label. Does that make sense?
      Stevie Budd: [smiles] Yes. That does.

      Reply
  • Kudos to you. As the father of a trans child I know it can be difficult in so many ways in this effed up world. My wife and I decided right away to accept her and let her be who she wants to be.
    I’ve learned a ton being her father and continue to learn everyday. Thanks for sharing Brent.

    Reply
  • Jason Hasner
    May 24, 2022 4:43 pm

    Great post!

    Reply
  • As a cishet ally with a bisexual child, and a DBA/ BI Engineer of 20+ years, I absolutely love the heck out of this post! Don’t worry, this subscriber is here to stay.

    Reply
  • I love this post! But honestly I believe it matters not what you are in gender or sexual orientation as well as skin color in order to communicate and relate to another human being on this planet. IN my world I am open arms to all. I am coming to Pass Summit for one express reason that you alluded to in another post which is to meet people and say hi. You happen to be one of the key people I want to meet. Just a bummer you won’t allow hugs! I’m a southerner and we ALWAYS hug!!!

    Reply
  • Bravo Brent

    In this metadata crazy society people love labelling other people, aiming to limit their potential, opportunities and happiness. It’s time for people to throw away labels or if that’s not possible, then own the labels and be the best that we can be. Be limitless!

    Reply
  • Good for you Brent, and as Ringo would say “Peace and Love!”

    p.s. Thanks for all your help over the years too as you have taught me a lot which has not only helped my career but also my families financial position too.

    Reply
  • Thank you for this great post, Brent! Cheers!
    BTW: I had no idea that my birthday is #PansexualVisibilityDay.

    Reply
  • Paul Randal
    May 24, 2022 5:01 pm

    Bravo. This reminds me a bit of my post on being depressed last year. These things aren’t admissions, they’re statements. Happy Pansexual Visibility Day my friend!

    Reply
    • Paul – thanks sir! I totally agree – the more we share about the journeys we’re on, the easier it is for other people who are on these same journeys.

      Reply
      • Paul Randal
        May 25, 2022 1:31 am

        Absolutely. That’s what made me post last year. I didn’t care if people looked down on me – it was those who were struggling in silence I wanted to help and let know that others felt the same. I’m thick-skinned, just like you. Again, great post, and bravo for it.

        Reply
  • Kimberly L. Tripp Randal
    May 24, 2022 5:02 pm

    That flag is damn ugly but you fly it high Brent! A fantastic post all around. I’ve always thought of you as a wildly open and fun guy… now we learn there’s even more – it’s Brent+!

    Love and hugs and happy Pansexual Awareness Day!

    Reply
  • Awesome. Thank you.

    Reply
  • Rick Anderson
    May 24, 2022 5:05 pm

    I’m absolutely shocked and disappointed that you decided to put something so controversial in a post like this.

    I mean, seriously. How could you make the table names plural and the field names singular but not follow that convention with the Gender table?! Does consistency mean nothing nowadays? That’s just disgusting and wrong. You should be ashamed.

    j/k, in case it’s not obvious. In reality, fantastic post, Brent! Keep up the great work.

    Reply
  • Thiago Timm
    May 24, 2022 5:09 pm

    Congratulations Brent!

    Reply
  • Justin Onstot
    May 24, 2022 5:12 pm

    Thanks for being you and being willing to risk authenticity! I remember when I opened up to others about my Bipolar 2, and how it freed up those around me to be authentic with me and others in their lives about their own struggles and identities. Beautiful!

    Reply
  • Asking for a friend: if you need a field with 3 values, as you had at some point in the article, how wrong is to use a bit for that with 0, 1 and NULL as the 3 possible options, assuming you know how to properly make comparisons? Any big watchout for such design?

    Reply
    • No, never.

      First, some believe that booleans should never be nullable, myself included.

      Second, if it is two different values, it is an incorrect use of the bit value.

      Reply
      • to follow up – I am ok with a nullable boolean if it is added to a table when the application did not record it before, but never should be added while it is a value actively being used

        Reply
    • I’d say no, but for a different reason. Let’s say the column shows the user’s T-shirt color of the 3 available options (Red, Blue, Green) you’re almost always going to have other non-conforming options… user has a shirt but you don’t know what color, user might have a shirt? User doesn’t have a shirt, etc. I’d plan to support the other scenarios (ideally with their own unique lookup values)… and be flexible to changes that may happen down the line.

      That said, great post Brent! Always up for data modeling posts, personal stories, and I look forward to all the puns 🙂

      Reply
  • Applause!

    Reply
  • You may want to consider creating your identity column as bigint instead so that you don’t have to rebuild your table later. 😉

    Reply
  • Thanks for being so brave and open about this! I’ll always look up to you and now there is an extra level of awesomeness 🙂

    Reply
  • Great post! Thank you Brent.

    Reply
  • I hadn’t seen the flag until now, but I quite like it. Thank you for sharing and being so open and honest. Bravo!

    Reply
  • Best post ever. Love you and your stuff!

    Reply
  • Please don’t make data political. BTW, I’m bi… And it’s sad that I feel like I have to tell you (and everyone else) that just to have my opinion not dismissed by you.

    Reply
    • What part of this post is “making data political”??

      Reply
      • Possibly using these social considerations as reasons for why you shouldn’t use bit as a value. These social considerations are not the reason why you shouldn’t use bit for them. You shouldn’t use them because it is incorrect data design even if there are only two possible values for each of those data elements.

        Brent has politicized issues before in the past, to me this seems on the border between political and sloppy delivery. The ultimate result of this is that someone who doesn’t understand why you shouldn’t use a bit data to store a value that has two potential values when those values are distinct values and not properties of a single value, but has maybe been politically awakened?

        Reply
        • Keith & Mike – I don’t think you quite finished the post. Make sure you read the part that starts with “Gender isn’t really a bit flag.” and click the links.

          I put a lot of work into writing that post: the least you could do – literally – is to read it.

          Reply
        • There’s nothing political about being true to yourself and finding happiness.

          Politicizing individual identity is a weapon of homophobia. I challenge you to tell me a concrete way that I make society worse by being married to another man, and being as open and honest about my family as my heterosexual peers.

          I’ve spent 30 years exploring that reality, researching it, studying it, and living it.

          There’s nothing political about finding happiness and love. The politics are all yours.

          Reply
  • C. Mullican
    May 24, 2022 5:44 pm

    Thank you.

    Reply
  • There is a lot of noise in this blog post that I think glosses over the reason why to or to not use bit/boolean values.

    The reason to not use a boolean value for “gender” isn’t because 0.02-0.05% are born hermaphrodite, and do not fit in to male and female, its that the only thing a false value for isFemale tells you is that they are not female, it cannot indicate anything else. I think this is an important distinction to make because there may be other data design conditions where it is just assumed there may only be two possible data values (don’t even get me started on people who use nullable booleans as a value), even if that assumption is true, a boolean value ONLY contains data for a single attribute. Whatever the topic of the data is, it doesn’t matter. You could be a farmer cataloging the ripeness of your crop, and if the record for isRipe is 0, it does not mean that the crop is also not rotten, it only means that it isn’t ripe. The practicality of the data never matters, using a bit value incorrectly is always incorrect even if it doesn’t create immediate data problems.

    Also a nitpick here – gender and sex are not the same thing. A huge amount of the discourse around this topic comes from the conflation or lack of differentiation around these two separate but commonly related things. As data people we should be more precise with our speech where possible (some things are just standardized wrong that we dont have a choice about, like most authoritative entities listing hispanic as a race) and our data and the rest of the world would be better off as well. A lot of pissing matches would be avoided, most importantly, very few people know what the difference between the two are, and our databases have absolutely no idea what the difference between the two are. I see that a misunderstanding cropped up in this comment thread already. Its not the fault of this blog, its the fault of decades of imprecise speech and conflation of unrelated attributes, all we can do as DBAs is do it correctly, and speak precisely with our stake holders. Simplifying something like this to the layman only allows for the layman to come to conclusions that the data does not support, but doesn’t contradict either.

    Reply
    • Thanks. Good points that go well beyond the example used in the blog post.

      Reply
    • Keith – I do cover the difference between gender & sex in the post.

      Reply
      • It was ambiguous. It starts with ‘Gender isn’t a bit flag. Then you go on to refer to sex in regards to ambiguous sex, and then at the end gender sometimes not matching the most commonly correlated biological sex.

        Gender is a property. Sex is a property. The two are entirely separate pieces of data.

        Sex is first non-binary because it isn’t a property that can change states. Presuming male and female were the only two possible values for sex, it still would be non-binary as the bit could never be in the other state. (if you wanted to consider post-op transition in sex, this would be additional value) Ambiguous sexes only add a practical requirement for additional values where there was already a theoretical requirement to store them as something other than a single value property with two states.

        Gender is of course more complicated – I hadn’t thought of data from a person who may be gender fluid or in dysphoria (I am not equating the two, they are listed as two separate possibilities) so maybe gender could be considered a state (?) but would mostly just be one, or be one and then transition to another.

        In an EMR system, it would be dangerous to just go in and update a lookup table with additional values for gender, then update someone’s gender and not have their recorded biological sex. a care provider would end up monitoring for colon cancer, prostate cancer etc when they should be monitoring for breast cancer, osteoporosis etc or vice versa or other post-transition-specific needs.

        Reply
        • Hi. I’ve worked with several EMR databases. None of them use binary sex, because sex isn’t binary. They sometimes have quite a few options.

          In a medical setting, healthcare providers consider sex assigned at birth, current sex, medically relevant nuanced details about a patient’s nonbinary sex, sexual orientation, gender, monogamy, the sex of one’s sexual partners, and other things.

          They do that because from a scientific and medical perspective, all those things are important.

          But as a society it’s impolite to talk about all those things. Society does tell us that love, romance, and who is part of your family are important. Nothing in this post strays from societal norms. It’s basically a Disney level approach to data modeling.

          Reply
        • > Sex is first non-binary because it isn’t a property that can change states

          I think you might have misread a lot of information in the blog post. Gender can, and does, change states as people undergo surgeries.

          If you disagree with that, we’ll need to agree to disagree.

          Reply
          • Brent, you continue to conflate gender and sex. they are not the same thing. They are separate properties that are not interchangeable.

          • If you’re saying sex doesn’t change, again, as I stated repeatedly, we’re going to need to agree to disagree.

            I explained why in the intersex section of the blog post.

            Further replies will not be productive. Your best bet there will be to read the post more carefully.

  • Wow. Love is love. I wish we would get to a place where people are just people. There are those who like Turkish coffee and hate dub step music, others who keep reading Itzik Ben-Gan’s books but their T-SQL still sucks, and ones who have a father who was 7% Nigerian, 17% Persian, 37% Maori, etc. and a mother who was 34% Panamanian, 23% French Swiss, and so on…. so what are they? Who the hell cares?! To me sex at birth, gender, race . . . should only be thought of or matter when it actually makes a difference, such as in disease treatment. In the world it would be bliss if we could just present ourselves however we wish, and be seen for our personality, experiences, and accomplishments.

    25 years ago I worked for awhile at Citizens Bank in Rhode Island and their loan applications had boxes for “Applicant” and “Wife”. I raged over it and advocated for change. I rode my bicycle to a Saturn dealership to buy my first car. I was a young woman wearing crappy shorts and a t-shirt, but had just inherited some money so had cash for the purchase. Most of the salesmen ignored me. The one who greeted me warmly and took lots of time to show me all the features and give me a test drive etc. showed me his desk when we signed the deal. The whole back side was covered end to end in sales awards. There are benefits when you treat everyone with respect.

    I hope that with ever greater intermingling of races and expansion of gender identities eventually no one will care. They will simply like or dislike whoever it is and enter the world however it pleases them. Love and absolute best wishes for continued success and happiness Brent.

    Reply
    • Ash – thanks for the kind words!

      Reply
    • @ASH, that was perfect. While reading Brent’s post and these comments I was thinking about saying something, but you said it better than I could have. Humans are generally way too obsessed with other humans’ sex, gender, and sexual preferences. We are individuals, and categorizing us is unhelpful. Categorization can lead to discrimination, repression, and violence. Wish we could just leave the value as a NULL (unknown or missing data) and forget about it.

      Reply
  • Speechless. I had to spent some time processing this- not because I disagree but because of the bravery it took to write this post in such an uncertain climate. Thank you for that. As an cisgender woman, exvangelical but robust Christian, I spent several years wrestling with questions surrounding sexuality & gender identity before coming down on the side of this Biblical truth- if we are, as the Bible says, made in God’s image, we are all God’s image bearers- all of us. Be blessed, as you are a blessing to this community.

    Reply
  • Great post Brent !
    Thanks / Gracias
    ??

    Reply
  • Bruce Pratt
    May 24, 2022 6:00 pm

    Michael Valentine Smith
    “Stranger in a Strange Land” Robert Heinlein, (c) 1961
    Respectfully, Bruce

    Reply
  • danielle.paquette-harvey
    May 24, 2022 6:22 pm

    Wow! I love this post!
    * First, I didn’t know May 24th was pansexual day + I had to google what pansexual is
    * Second, you made me learn something I didn’t know and I’m grateful for that.
    * Third, might I add that we could make our database even more complex as to add other complex things, like the marital status 😉

    I also absolutely love how you did your post and related it to SQL at the same time! And I hope it helps bring more visibility to pansexuality! I’m a boring bit on my gender identity and sexual attraction 😉 But I’m happy to see we’re going more and more into a more open society (at least I think we are in some places, like where I live).

    Reply
  • MetalGearUDF
    May 24, 2022 6:26 pm

    Thank you Brent for being so open and sharing this with your readers, you rock!!

    Thanks to your courses I got my first job as a Dba some time ago and it changed my life for the better. Really can’t thank you enough.

    Happy if you are happy 🙂

    Reply
  • Excellent post Brent, done with sensitivity and good humour as always.
    I’m still concerned that you are allowing for ambiguity though.
    Where is the Foreign Key Constraint !

    Reply
  • All the best for your future loved the article

    Reply
  • I have so many of your posts bookmarked but this one might be my favorite to date. Thank you for always using your platform and voice to help others and keep us learning.

    Reply
  • I’m a firm believer that people should be able to do anything they want as long as it does not harm another person, or their belongings. So, good on you for being who you want to be and using your platform to promote inclusivity across all industries.

    Reply
  • Great blog post, and so glad you’re finding happiness.

    Reply
  • Great post, thank you! and happy coming out day! Congrats! and good for you!

    I’m old enough that I predate the term Pansexual, and am panromantic demisexual, but I usually just say Bi because people know what that is and I’m tired. 😉 That said, as a panromantic demi I find the “anything that moves” stereotype particularly alienating. 😉

    Reply
  • I really don’t care what a person’s sexual proclivity or orientation is, but I just don’t understand the burning desire to announce it to the world.

    By the way, the dictionary and even Siri says the primary definition of gender means: either of the two sexes (male or female). It has been the definition since they have been writing dictionaries (at least here in the U.S). Only recently has the ” well gender can be anything you want or however you feel on a particular day ” been added as a alternative meaning of gender.

    Reply
    • Bill – are you okay with people talking about hobbies that you’re not interested in?

      Reply
      • Brent, I usually don’t go out of my way to listen to things that I’m not interested in.

        I go to your blog and site because I’m interested in SQL not your “gender” or “sexual orientation”.

        It seems very odd to me that you would post this on a blog and site about SQL learning.

        But in the end it is yours to do with what you want.

        Reply
        • Bill – it’s not a site about SQL learning. It’s *my* site. It’s about the things *I’m* interested in. If you go back through the ~20 years of archives, you’ll find that I’ve covered all kinds of topics.

          Reply
        • Bill, I thought about this myself when I first read Brent’s post. I was taken aback too and think yours is a important question. Brent Ozar Unlimited is a business, specializing in SQL Server, offering SQL performance tuning training and services, and the company owner’s blog nearly always covers databases, data performance, database training or related topics, so that’s what one generally expects to find here. Brent can write what he wants, but he also has a personal blog, so why not post on this topic there?

          Pansexual Visibility Day. Without visibility, there isn’t inclusion. People have been ostracized for their sexuality in countless industries. Others see that and hide. Rock Hudson couldn’t be himself. When Ian McKellen came out publicly as gay, it was a huge risk to his career. Because of him, the handful that came before and the hundreds that have come after, being publicly known as gay today is not a guaranteed career killer. Visibility matters. Being unable to be yourself for fear of retribution or dismissal is a burden. Each person who steps up and publicly announces something personal that could lead to retribution, and the closer they all get to being free to be themselves without that fear. I don’t pretend to know Brent’s thoughts or reasons, but I appreciate that visibility is knowledge and freedom.

          Someone at the absolute top of any industry coming out with something personal, immediately expands awareness, education and inclusion of that personal thing in a massive way. After Angelina Jolie wrote an op-ed about her family’s history of breast cancer and her pre-emptive double mastectomy, literal thousands of women flooded doctors offices with questions about testing for the specific genes Jolie wrote about. They penned countless posts and blog stories and wrote to her about their new-found confidence to have breast removal surgery and still feel sexy and desirable. Jolie saved lives sharing something tremendously private. Visibility matters.

          Reply
    • Well, Bill, part of the burning desire is that…

      I fear I have to share for the reason to make sense.

      I thought I might be a lesbian as a teen and all media and all adults around me assumed that I was going to grow up and marry a man and have children with him, and all the “when you grow up and get married and have children” talk just felt alienating and like I was invisible and invalid. The fact that people didn’t really talk about not being straight except in hushed voices or as part of a scandal didn’t help. I thought that boys were yucky and I didn’t want to date them, which probably sounds normal until you hear that I was 16-17 and I thought some girls, on the other hand…

      (Later in life I discovered that some boys are also attractive, but most of my emotional connections as a teen were with other girls so that’s whom I was attracted to.)

      So Brent is doing a favor to anyone else out there who feels invisible and invalid. It’s a lot less lonely if there are other people like you out there.

      For myself, I generally keep it to myself unless there’s a reason. I mean, on the one hand it’s kind of none of your business. 😉 On the other hand, if I mention having a significant other in casual conversation it helps if I don’t feel like I need to avoid using pronouns so I can obscure their gender, or whatever, because that’s sad and makes me feel like I’m ashamed when I’m not. That’s another way Brent is doing a community service, by normalizing it so I can just say “my girlfriend and I went to a movie” and it’s not some big deal.

      I hope that’s helpful!

      Reply
    • Bill, I’d encourage you to look at the science behind anatomical sex, and the sociology around gender. The “only two sexes” myth is not supported by science. Same goes for gender. Brent provided some sources in his post to get you started.

      The problem isn’t Brent. It’s the folks who are hanging on to an old, inaccurate dictionary definition and ignoring the reality that is backed by science and society.

      Reply
      • Andy,
        So now two sexes are a “myth”. Yikes!
        I’m sorry but biology says there is. X and Y chromosomes have not changed. Better check your sources.

        How a person feels about their sexuality mentally is a whole different matter then their biological sex.

        But in the end, you do you.

        Reply
        • Bill – again, this is covered in the post in the section about intersex.

          Further comments without reading the post will not be productive. I’m going to mute you for now on the comments. After you’ve read the post in its entirety, email me at help@brentozar.com and we can discuss enabling your account again.

          Reply
  • I loved this post, thank you for being so honest. All the very best.

    Reply
  • 1-Thanks for both the openness and a great blog post.
    2-Sorry about the divorce and hoping it was the best for both of you.

    3- I wonder who truly needs that damn field outside of (some) medical purposes.

    Reply
  • Kevin Kelso
    May 24, 2022 8:29 pm

    You’ve been one of my professional role models for a very long time. Today, you’re my hero. Thank you for writing this and sharing. If we ever meet in real life, I hope I can buy you a beer (or preferred beverage). Your work has changed my life and I want you to know how much I appreciate you.

    Reply
  • Alejandro Leguizamo
    May 24, 2022 8:33 pm

    Ok, I cannot help it:

    So your partner choice is not SARG-able on gender?

    (?)

    Proud of you!!! Yay to happiness and love!

    Reply
  • Ian G (@SQLSevorg)
    May 24, 2022 9:26 pm

    WOW, what a beautiful post, so open and relevant to the Data Community in so many ways! You have shared so much of your life over the years (and cars, oh the cars) and you remain one of my very favorite people (out of a lot!) in the SQL family. From the openness of your training site (in 2015 I was able to go from “never ever” to “pretty good” at AGs in 2 months via the wonderful free stuff on your site). You are open about your amazing travels and life, and I usually take at least one training a year from you because even if it is only 25% relevant, I am going to for sure learn so much!

    I continue to learn from you and today it was about being a wonderfully open human, and that these topics are no longer taboo, they are who we work with, live with, love and are and it is all beautiful.

    Reply
  • First time commenter, but couldn’t help myself seeing such a great, open and personal post!

    Keep it up and keep em coming!

    Reply
  • Kenneth Fisher
    May 24, 2022 10:05 pm

    ?

    Reply
  • TheVansInOz
    May 24, 2022 10:08 pm

    Thanks for all you do Brent!
    Sorry to hear about you and Erika, but wish you the best with your new partner mate!

    I love the blogs and look forward to them with my morning coffee.

    Reply
  • Charles Hearn
    May 24, 2022 10:20 pm

    Kudos on speaking your truth Brent and leading front from the front.

    This is such a good data modeling topic. So many things that we take for granted as binary aren’t. And I think that’s a wonderful thing.

    Reply
  • caroline.wise
    May 24, 2022 10:23 pm

    I love your ability to explain things so that they just make sense. Thank you for being you.

    Reply
  • I’m here for the thought provoking and well written content as I have been since 2010 when I found you when you were posting about taking the MCM.

    All the best

    Reply
  • Brent, you will no doubt be an inspiration to so many. Thank you for sharing and for being ‘you. We live in a strange world, but honesty will always be king.

    Reply
  • David Brock
    May 24, 2022 11:54 pm

    Good on ya, mate!

    I’m still dealing with my unhappiness towards forms that want to know if I have ‘sex’. Sex: ___

    Reply
  • Marlon Ribunal
    May 25, 2022 12:16 am

    Brent,

    (re-posting this because I accidentally post it as a response to an existing comment)

    Congrats Brent! I had to google pansexual. I learned something new today. You’ve been an inspiration to my career. Your blog has been a great resource in my day-to-day job. And will continue as such. Period. That linkedin message is disappointing, to say the least. They probably never respected you in the first place.

    Here’s wishing you more success!

    Reply
  • Great post, brought a tear to this old DBA’s eye.

    In all your posts I love the “by the way”s and off-topic meanderings, life’s too short to be boring.

    Full support here!

    Reply
  • Shawn Johnson
    May 25, 2022 12:50 am

    I came here for the data and stayed for all the life lessons and humor. We love you Brent and you are awesome!

    Reply
  • Ron Dameron
    May 25, 2022 1:22 am

    Dear Brent,
    Please don’t schedule a post like this after a 9 PM softball game.
    This is my brain reading it the next morning…
    Brent’s going to talk about data modeling. Pffft, I don’t care about data modeling. I do DevOps now. Keep skimming. Haven’t had much coffee yet.
    Missed first pansexual reference in the blog title. Still not enough coffee loaded yet.
    Then, my brain reads “I’m pansexual from a data modeling perspective.” Didn’t see the word “and” in the first statement. Ummm, okay. Need more coffee.
    Brain finally has WTF moment, when I get to the “Wait, Brent – is that Erika?” part of the show.
    Goes back to top of blog post after refilling coffee and reads SLOWLY.
    Now I get the message.
    That being said, I have two daughters each with their own DISTINCT sexual preference. (Pun intended) 😉
    All, I care is that they are both HAPPY and SAFE.
    Same to you.

    Reply
  • Dayton Brown
    May 25, 2022 2:58 am

    Always learning from your blog posts. And today I learned that the pansexual flag is really ugly. Someone needs to fix that. Brent, beautiful job as always. And still jealous of your Cabo condo.

    Reply
  • Matt OConnell
    May 25, 2022 2:59 am

    Thank you for your courage and continued awesomeness. Much love!

    Reply
  • I understand how readers may find this news stunning. What I find stunning is your consistency and commitment to telling your audience how the world is, consequences be damned. That’s Brent, and that’ll always be Brent, no matter what you shared in this post, or any other post. Love you, man.

    Reply
  • I’ve always respected you as a professional, an influencer and a role model…
    Thank you for writing this post and being yourself.
    Thank you for being Brent Ozar, a recognized brand and person that is not afraid to write about gender and sexuality.
    I hope this post resonates, and enables others not to be afraid to openly be theirselves.

    My respect for you was already high; didn’t expect it could go even higher!

    Reply
  • James Lutsey
    May 25, 2022 3:56 am

    Your best, and most important post EVER. I love it when people with a voice in a position of influence and education to a wider audience, discuss openness and inclusion on socially “sensitive” topics. Thank you for helping to bring topics like this into more conversations.

    Reply
  • Hi, I respect all you have to say or think, your lifestyle or sexuality.
    But, having a long marriage, you may have considered other options first. Have you consult with a psychologist? Maybe some medication like anti-depresants can help you with your feelings. I know because I’ve been on the same path , don’t want to go in details but after some anti-depresants and antipsychotics (very very low dosage) now I feel much “in-order”, that means I don’t have “gay” thoughts anymore. I just wan’t to share.

    Reply
    • Phil – great, I’m glad you found something that works for you.

      I’ve also been to psychologists, psychiatrists, and therapists, and I’ve found something that works for me too. I hope you can respect that.

      Thanks!

      Reply
  • Brent++ – always knew you were multidimensional. Happy that you can be so open about your life and journey. It is definitely not a disease and you don’t need cured.

    Reply
  • Hi Brent,

    I almost cried this morning when I came into work and read your email. As a non-binary person, it is sometimes difficult to be felt seen, especially in this industry at times. As such a powerhouse and big name in the industry, seeing you come out and talk about gender and sexuality representation has had a profound effect on me and will hopefully help raise more awareness and acceptance on the subject.

    I appreciate the work that you do and have always had great respect for you, which made this post even more impressionable to me. It can’t have been easy to do, knowing the kind of responses you would get from some small-minded individuals. So, thank you for doing this, it has made my day.

    Happy belated Pan-visibility day to you! <3

    Reply
  • Wojciech Sawicki
    May 25, 2022 7:34 am

    Long time ago I encountered another list
    male, female, possibly male, possibly female, unknown. These were the sex determinations in prenatal testing in medical systems. And that was seriously.

    Reply
  • Eric Simbozel
    May 25, 2022 7:35 am

    Yes, there ared subjetcs that annoy, but we know you brent Brent, we know you are benevolent.
    long live brent

    brent++

    Reply
  • Sotiris Karras
    May 25, 2022 8:03 am

    Excellent choice of topic, great technical tie-in and an awesome article overall. Congrats!

    Reply
  • Lowry Kozlowski
    May 25, 2022 8:15 am

    Sorry about the marriage. Glad you have found your voice in saying who your true self is. Still love you. Biggest question is “ Am I the only one who in reading your posts and blogs hears your unique voice reading to me?”

    Reply
  • Stephen Plant
    May 25, 2022 8:48 am

    I’m all about the data so thanks for this blog! A worthwhile read.

    Take care and be good to one another.

    Reply
  • Prathy Kamasani
    May 25, 2022 8:50 am

    Yor are you; I learned a lot from you and your blog. You are an inspiration, and love you.

    Reply
  • Peter Tilsted
    May 25, 2022 9:20 am

    Hi Brent,

    It allways fills me with admiration when someone has the guts to share their lifedefining decisions/cognitions, fully knowing that it will be disturbing to some. I am not really sure i would be able to do the same if needed.
    At the same time it saddens me that i get that admiration, because it shows that we still have a long way to go as a society.

    hopefully we learn in the end

    regards

    Peter

    Reply
  • imagine somebody stops learning from you because your sexuality … well. its sad, but their loss

    Reply
  • James Reeves
    May 25, 2022 9:42 am

    Love you Brent, you do you.

    Haters can hate, lovers can love, meh can meh.

    Reply
  • It makes no odds to me what your, or anybody else’s , sexuality is. I’ve learnt and used so much from your blogs, emails, website, videos, Blitz etc over the years that the only thing about you that matters to me is you carry on in your own unique presenting style and fun way of making things understandable – and you’ve done just that with this topic in your blog post. If anyone treats you different or stops following your work then they are the losers and “we” are better off without them!

    Reply
    • Brent , You are the best ! You will always be a favourite, because I am sure there are many like me who just wait for your creative style blogs and topics and have gained immense knowledge and expertise and excelled in their careers by just following your fun filled technical posts !! Cheers !

      Reply
  • Top post, one of your best, thank you for sharing, thank you for normalising, thank you

    Reply
  • Brent , You are the best ! You will always be a favourite, because I am sure there are many like me who just wait for your creative style blogs and topics and have gained immense knowledge and expertise and excelled in their careers by just following your fun filled technical posts !! Cheers !

    Reply
  • Richard Jones
    May 25, 2022 10:32 am

    Thanks for being able to post this Brent. I’m sure you don’t want to be seen as brave but I think you are & I hope someone who is possibly currently confused and having a hard time with their identity reads it and feels a little more comfortable in their own skin from it. Kudos in being able to fit it around a data-based example too.

    Take care.

    Reply
  • Wait, What?!, You’re still one of the very best SQL trainers in the business right!, excellent post Brent I’ve learnt more than just SQL today and look forward to the classes as always. Brave and Smart deadly combination!

    Reply
  • RenegadeLarsen
    May 25, 2022 10:59 am

    Hi Brent

    Thanks for yet another great Blog post. As you know i’m from Denmark and here we have about 72 genders. I will always consider you as a friend. Keep doing what you do and i’m sure people will see the professionel/uprofessionel person you are 🙂 No matter what, I still love the work you do for the rest of us.

    With love and peace

    René Larsen

    Reply
  • Alex Whittles
    May 25, 2022 11:42 am

    Very sorry to hear about you and Erika, however am delighted that you’ve found a new partner. And I have no doubt this post will provide real help for many others in our industry.
    Kudos to you Brent.

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  • What a fantastic post! Thank you for sharing your insights, Brent, no matter what the subject, you’re always an excellent teacher.

    Your post accurately demonstrates why gender/identity shouldn’t be hidden away. This is a tech issue, because some industries need ways to capture this information! Your experiences enrich the ideas behind how this data should be recorded in a database.

    Thank you for standing up on #PansexualVisibilityDay. Even though the flag is ugly. 🙂

    Reply
  • Great post, very brave. I just have one question…. is your new partner…. CLIPPY?

    Reply
  • David Martin
    May 25, 2022 1:33 pm

    Great post, great Man… or whatever you want :-), great Mom, great technical stuff… you’ll always be our best teacher!
    F**k racism and ignorance

    Reply
  • Mr David Tovee
    May 25, 2022 2:02 pm

    Wow, Brent what an honest post.
    Life is too short and it’s important to be who you are and not pretend.
    Posting blogs like this helps to ‘normalise’ how varied we are and these differences make life more interesting.
    I have only gained respect for you and it seems life must have been tough recently.
    I hope you can find peace and happiness and thanks for all the training – I know I’m much better from your training.

    Reply
  • All I know, Brent, is your teachings have given me the ability to excel in my role as “accidental DBA”. You’ve impressed me with your knowledge, your awesome talent as a teacher and your generosity with your experience and skill. Plus, you seem like a genuine nice guy. Not all ego and such as some folks can be at your level. Personally, I couldn’t care less about about who you’re attracted to or what you do in your private life. That’s your business and you’re not hurting anyone. Like you said, you may have lost some folks with this post. But the smart ones will stick around, my friend!

    Reply
  • Bravo! What an awesome (and brave, honest and illuminating) post on a lot of levels.

    Reply
  • Teresa Butler
    May 25, 2022 4:18 pm

    Hell yeah. I love this.

    I think that, if there’s room anywhere in the world for people who don’t fit the mold, it should be tech. But there should be room for us everywhere! And speaking your truth is one way to help make room in people’s hearts who didn’t realize they needed to make that room. Thanks for this post.

    Reply
  • Simon Holzman
    May 25, 2022 5:21 pm

    You’re still wrong about (nolock) hints on most databases.

    Your blog is an interesting discussion of the data issues involved when addressing gender and sexuality.

    I work on Medical Charts where Gender is very relevant and yet horrendously complicated – Some procedures are simply not available for people with the “wrong” gender – how do you do a vasectomy on a woman or chart a pregnancy on a man ?

    If the answer is that someone who is biologically female might present as male and want to be addressed as Mr, that is fine… but the gender field starts to become meaningless and, if “male” doesn’t always mean “male”, what’s the point in collecting that information in the first place ? Why not simply skip gender or sex altogether, prompt for preferred honorific, and allow all procedures for all patients ?

    Similar for sexuality – it should not actually matter to a healthcare worker who their patient lusts after unless the patient has a concern about it. And then, it only matters as far as the concern goes. Plenty of “110% heterosexual” men have had homosexual experiences so recording the sexuality serves no purpose.

    In effect, what’s the point in collecting data that is not actually providing any information ?

    In practice, both of these fields have been useful in the past and, if the data can be trusted in the future, there is a place for them – heart attacks often present differently in women than in men, for example. Similarly, AIDS was first recognized because it was affecting a particular sexuality – there weren’t many cases in the community at large but the relatively small gay community had a lot of cases so people serving that community became aware of the disease much sooner than if they had not known the sexuality of their patients.

    Finding a way to balance accurate data with personal identities is an important factor that needs to be understood both by the outsiders and by the members of marginalized communities.

    And, while those fields are plausibly useful in Medical Charts, why does my email service, or my bank, or my utilities need to know my gender ? Heck, even a dating service doesn’t need to know my sexuality – It doesn’t matter whether I call it Homosexual, Heterosexual, Bisexual, Asexual, Pansexual, Sapiosexual, or Furry… Which profiles do I want to see ?

    If it doesn’t count, don’t count it.

    Reply
    • YES!!!! I’ve said this elsewhere, but all too often we should be asking ourselves, “why are we even collecting this data? Do we need to?” And honestly, I think in most cases it’s simply “we’ve always done it that way” which we need to break out of!

      Reply
  • Angie Rudduck
    May 25, 2022 5:29 pm

    I miss you, and am very impressed with your willingness to share. Using our platforms and voices to normalize and advocate for minorities is one of the most important and difficult things we can do.

    I had a dream last night after reading this that I saw you sitting at a table at PASS Summit, and just walked up and hugged you mid-sentence. I probably won’t be there this year to do this IRL, but know that I would if I could! Also, next time you visit Orlando, I’m here now near the parks!

    Reply
  • Alex Hatcher
    May 25, 2022 6:00 pm

    “Lemme get two things out of the way first:
    I’m pansexual”

    me: cool. what am i going to learn today from Brent??

    Great post. i shared with my IT hating child and they loved it.

    Reply
  • My logic is that there are males, there are females, and then there are genetic defects. And there is a spectrum of males that have “feminine” characteristics and visa versa; with various extremes to consider. But I don’t believe in someone being less of a human for believing in all the stuff you mentioned today. However, what I am curious about is how someone can be “straight” for 21 years and then become “pan”. To me that’s the most interesting part of your post today. As a believer in Jesus, I can’t accept your lifestyle choices, but I can accept you as a person. I wish you the best.

    P.S. I’m not leaving.

    Reply
    • Adrian,
      I’d like to speak to your question about someone being straight for decades and then not. Although people can change their preferences over time, sometimes drastically, being pansexual means being able to be sexually attracted to anyone. Anyone includes . . . well, anyone. Being sexually attracted to someone of the opposite sex doesn’t mean you have to be heterosexual to feel that way.

      Reply
      • Yes, but there is still a question of how it happens. Was it a series of relationship issues? Was it always there? Was it something that just happened one day? Was it external, internal factors, or both? Is it the same for others or just you. Entirely rhetorical questions, I was more just speaking generally. The bible talks about a time long ago and a place that had people who would probably had these same desires. It’s very interesting, and I’m curious, how even though it feels like these are new ideas, it certainly is not.

        Reply
  • Ray Bouknight
    May 25, 2022 7:20 pm

    At the end of the day, we’re all humans. We should only want the best for our fellow humans. Thank you for all you do!

    Reply
    • Cynthia (Brent’s Mom)
      May 27, 2022 9:49 am

      Spot on. Kindness matters. I thank you and all of the commenters who posted kind words. Trust me; I have read each and every comment. Words matter. Countless-flowered-thank-yous to all of you kind humans!

      Reply
  • Respect brother. Well done for living life your way. I came for the SQL content, but I am staying for the life lessons. You are an inspiration.

    Reply
  • Great post Brent, we all learn so much from you, keep them coming!

    Reply
  • KALEN Delaney
    May 25, 2022 10:42 pm

    Hi Brent

    I’m not completely on board with your initial definition of ‘asexual’. I have been attracted, sometimes VERY attracted, to people that I wished would die in a fire.

    And thinking about storing the data, I am reminded of one of my early regular training clients, who produced medical software. When mentioning storing a data value for sex, I always (with any clients) mentioned that it probably shouldn’t be a bit column. The people at this company laughed when I said that. I asked why. They said they allowed 14 different values in the ‘sex’ column. And this was decades ago. (At that time, I didn’t think to separate sex from gender. But that was then. )

    Reply
  • Great stuff. I blogged something similar two years ago: https://blog.greenms.com/2020/06/30/giving-blood-and-pride-month/

    I’d suggest as DBAs we should go further sometimes and even ask “why are we collecting this data? Is it even necessary?” And yet another “what if it changes”.

    I love the intersection of personal revelation and data here. We’re often called upon to model “reality” and it’s a good reminder that reality is not “binary” in all the senses of the world.

    Thanks, and best wishes in your journey.

    Reply
  • Bruno Fonseca
    May 26, 2022 11:32 am

    Brent, thank you for the share and thank you to remember us to think a little bit more about these questions.
    As always, you are great!

    Thank you!

    Reply
  • Alin Selicean
    May 26, 2022 12:33 pm

    I subscribed to most of your channels *exactly* for these reasons. I respect anyone who has the guts to go its own way, no matter how the mainstream is flowing. I’ll unsubscribe when this charm of yours is gone :). Oh, and keep ’em coming

    Reply
  • Scott from hivemasters club
    May 26, 2022 1:27 pm

    So…does this mean Erica’s available? I always liked her more than you, and there was that time, on your couch in Chicago when she handed me a drink and our fingers briefly brushed…it seemed like her pinky lingered just a smidge too long… I think we had a moment. She looked at me. I looked at her. Our souls CONNECTED. So what, I already have 6 wives…so what, so it was 10 years ago, I REMEMBER, DAMMIT! Our love is ETERNAL!

    But seriously, good for you.

    Reply
  • Drew Skwiers-Koballa
    May 26, 2022 2:09 pm

    In spring 2015, a reasonably famous individual announced publicly that they are transgender and was subsequently featured on the cover of Vanity Fair. At the time my workplace was rife with the sorts of folks who make nasty jokes about every minority they can find. My colleagues didn’t know I’m a trans man and it was terrifying to see the things they were saying about the celebrity, including changing their desktop backgrounds to mocking images.
    I got your weekly newsletter at the time and in it you included a basic primer on human decency towards trans people. I don’t recall exactly what it was – a link on respecting pronouns, perhaps – but I recall exactly how I felt about it. I knew I had a place as a data professional regardless of what was being said in my immediate surroundings. Thank you for this post now and the previous times you’ve helped folks not feel alone in the industry.

    Reply
  • Love and support from the Daves.

    We always appreciate your friendship. Love the blog and kind of awareness you bring to the world.

    Reply
  • LOL – “the pansexual pride flag is ugly”. I love that comment.

    Brent – you have always, ALWAYS impressed me. Your ability to take a complex topic and make it relatable to a wider audience is truly amazing. I learn from you, thank you so much for that.

    Reply
  • Eric Humphrey
    May 26, 2022 4:27 pm

    I’m appalled, offended even…. it’s spelled “gray” dammit. I haven’t read your posts in a while as I don’t do much with SQL anymore, but thanks for posting this. It’s a good reminder that people change and find out more about themselves as life goes on. Rock on Brent.

    Reply
  • Everybody who thinks that there are more than two genders is an idiot.

    Reply
  • I had heard the term several times before and was confused by how it was different than bisexual. I honestly thought maybe it has something to do with liking animals or furries or something (“pan” meaning all). I really appreciate you made this post so I can know what it actually means. I probably would have said something really dumb at some point.

    Reply
  • Jack Burkhalter
    May 28, 2022 2:00 am

    Who gives a single fuck about YOUR sexual preferences. They only care about Ms or Mr for the address. Why are you posting this? Are you trying to drum up some business? I know that no one I know gives a fuck about who you want to be with. Are you running a dating site or something? If not then shut the hell up about any and all of this.
    No one gives a fuck!

    Reply
  • Marco Wobben
    May 28, 2022 6:54 am

    Hi Brent,

    Nice article, but I tend to agree with @Jack about the pronoun. (Not his tone, or rant).

    Data Modeling is to design a structure in which data can be stored and managed. The need for data storage/retrieval should support the business need of the employee/business/organisation.

    I’ve not found a company as to date which needed your sexuality, but a lot who store the old-school binary Male/Female indicator simply for pronoun generation on welcoming emails etc.

    Therefor the data modeling part is probably more current/fitting if you would’ve used the pronoun as an example instead of sexuality.

    Keep up the good work.

    Reply
  • Bookmarked for sheer awesomeness and inspiration.

    Reply
  • Genuinely great post Brent. Done with your typical wit and guile.

    Ignore the negative comments on here as you typically do.

    Keep up the good work.

    Reply
  • Francesco Mantovani
    May 30, 2022 7:43 am

    Once I was working on a platform that was selling tickets online for public events. Every time you buy a ticket you were supposed to enter name, surname, gender and address. We received an e-mail that asked us to remove the gender form. Because the platform was multi-tenant that meant to change this for every single customer.
    The usual reply would be “no, sorry, we cannot”.
    …but it turned out that the event was about LGBTQ stuff and we ended up removing the gender for every single customer. For 1-2 weeks.

    I would like to have your advice here: wouldn’t be just easier remove the gender in every single form? Because if I’m selling you a ticket name, surname, e-mail are maybe the only important stuff, right?

    Maybe this is what the grumpy guy was trying to tell you on LinkedIn? But his brain went into short circuit. I’m trying to be as much positive as I can, I tend to think there are no bad people in this world, and maybe he was just very sad…

    Reply
  • Richard Sharp
    May 30, 2022 11:49 am

    Brent, thank you for being you. You’re a great teacher, about SQL and about people -yourself included. Keep it up !

    Reply
  • Hi Brent

    Always enjoyed your work, I’m sure I watched all your videos and read all your posts, and will continue to do so! You really helped me starting my DBA carrer and have nothing but respect for you.

    Although, this post could be resumed to 2 sentences:
    1. If you have more than two choices don’t use bit data type;
    2. I’m a pansexual!
    🙂

    Continue the awesome job that you have been doing so far.

    Reply
  • So… you’re saying I have a chance?

    Seriously though, full support and much respect!

    Reply
  • Oh man how big this happen. Don’t know how to react.

    Reply
  • Adam C Jacobson
    June 2, 2022 5:47 pm

    So, if you were really attracted, but then found out he/she/they/zeh, thought that Access was a real database, it would that be too much?

    Reply
  • Diogo Lopez
    June 3, 2022 9:49 am

    Great post Brent! I’m a cis gay man, and I still learned a little bit more about diversity today.
    We spend most of the day in a professional environment, being able to be ourselves and feeling free and comfortable to bring up sometimes personal things once in a while make our workplace way more enjoyable. We are human beings, whenever or wherever we are.

    Reply
  • So if you’re not going to bring it up, why did you bring it up? I suppose because it’s your blog and you can. I’ve commented on many IT blogs and forums over the past 40+ years (yes there were IT forums back then on IRC and usenet) and never felt the need to bring up my sexuality and I don’t appreciate it when others do t. The LGBTQ+ community always tells us not to push heterosexuality on them but you cant get away from them pushing their agenda on others – non-stop, everyday, everywhere. I’m tired of it so I am unsubscribing.

    Reply
  • william.yeager
    June 6, 2022 5:38 pm

    Thanks for being true to yourself Brent! Thanks for all you do!

    Reply
  • Phil Hummel
    June 8, 2022 1:42 am

    Just goes to show the power of write about what you know. Great post on data and diversity, thanks.

    Reply
  • Excellent Brent, i am here to be educated and entertained even when the education isn’t what i thought it would be. The post cleared up a few things i didnt know i was wondering about until i saw it written down… like what does non binary mean anyway. Keep up the good work and keep enojoying yourself along the way, you only get one life (probably).

    Reply
  • A past lecturer auditing a class on relational modelling once remarked that over time all relations evolve to be many-to-many optional. Gender and sexuality – welcome aboard.

    Reply
  • Sheeri Cabral
    June 16, 2022 8:10 pm

    As a bisexual former-database administrator, I LOVE THIS.

    (My only comment is that I identify as bisexual and not pansexual because gender IS a factor for me, but I don’t limit myself to people whose gender matches their assigned sex. Butchness in a woman-presenting person is HIGHLY attractive, but in a male-presenting person it’s a huge turn-off. For me, it’s the difference between “facial hair, no facial hair, whatever” – pansexual – and “I love the smoothness of no facial hair, I love the prickliness of stubble, and I love the softness of longer facial hair” – bisexual.)

    Reply
  • Hi Brent! I just want to say I’ve. been aware of you for awhile due to your first responder kit, but had not subscribed to your emails/blogs. Recently I finally stopped by your site and subscribed. I’m still catching up on things over the last couple months, but all I can say is I wish I had subscribed sooner! Thank you for sharing a great personal and professional story. Hopefully the personal side drives some to think of the importance of being aware of our bias when coding. Keep up the great content!

    Reply
  • willem.stander
    July 13, 2022 9:52 am

    Hi Brent! I’d like to say thank you for everything. I’m just some random guy on the internet but you have helped me tremendously, from absolute SQL newbie to Senior DBA at a reasonably large financial institution. Your work, dedication to teaching and willingness to help are immensely appreciated. Once again, thank you very much Brent and always be who you are and never change! It’s why we’re here! <3

    Reply
  • You made me feel feelings! You made me have tears! Thanks so much for putting this out there. I was beyond surprised to see this when casually browsing your blog to soak up some knowledge. And, yes, I feel seen. Nothing irks me more than a bool gender column haha

    Reply
  • ‘Gender is non-binary.’ I respectfully disagree. A little uncomfortable, and disappointed, with a computing celebrity speaking out authoritatively on bottom-line biology. There’s a massive debate regarding this subject. Taken to the extreme, which some do, gender non-binarism suggests that males and females are entirely socially constructed, and negates the biological markers, which do exist. And, if there’s no gender non-binary, how do you define ‘male’ or ‘female’ in the first instance (see the incisive, – and horrifying – ‘What is a woman?’ scenes on YouTube)? Sex refers to biological level: Male or female (or intersex where complications have emerged). I think there’s much confusion between gender: Confusing ‘social sex identity’ with personality or temperament. For example, a biological man with a higher-than-average level of traditionally feminine qualities, or a man who feels/thinks that he’s a woman. The latter may be due in many individuals to gender dysphoria (which especially worries me when preferential surgery is permitted). Just because you feel something doesn’t mean that it’s true. Finally, this article is an admixture of different (although overlapping) topics: Sex, gender, sexual preferences, gender-non-binary, intersex, etc. (N.B., No concerns regarding whatever your sexual preferences are, and otherwise a huge fan. 🙂 )

    Reply
    • On one hand, you say there’s a massive debate.

      On the other hand, you say you’re disappointed that I joined in that debate.

      I wonder why you’re allowed to talk about it, and I’m not? Interesting.

      Best of luck on your journey.

      Reply
  • To add to my previous comment: To note that in psychology (my secondary field at PhD level) and also in biology (some good background also at postgraduate level), the opinions of professionals can be biased towards their personal feelings and views. For example, university psychology is predominantly dominated by the left-wing. I’m not interested in left or right wing views here in themselves (N.B. again); however a sort of collective bias in the fields of psychology and possibly in some fields or domains of biology can sometimes prove to be misleading dangerous for understanding truth, however undesirable it may (or may not) be. There’s danger here, and at the free speech level if we’re required to change our words – and therefore ways of thinking. Agree with Jordan Peterson on this specific issue.

    Reply

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