Facebook Now Offers More Gender Options
March 31, 2014
Last month Facebook unveiled a feature that allows people to choose from more than two genders on their profile. Up until recently the only choices available for gender were male and female, which actually refer just to sex. These two options excluded many people who didn’t identify either of these ways.
Gender has to do with whether someone is masculine, feminine, a combination of both or neither. Gender identity is how someone experiences their gender—how they feel inside as masculine or feminine or something else when they close their eyes. Thanks to Facebook’s new gender options, there are now over 50 options to choose from, such as androgynous, transgender and two-spirit. In order to create the list of gender identities to choose from, Facebook worked closely with various LGBTQ advocacy groups.
This change has been well received. Facebook has also included the option to make one’s gender public to other users or private. This change, however, is only available to people in the United States, so if your language is set to anything other than English (U.S.) then you can’t use these new gender options. The option to change your gender can be found in your profile information. There you can select the custom option and type how you identify, which will prompt suggestions Facebook has approved, sort of like Google’s autocomplete. You can also choose which pronoun you prefer.
It can be very discouraging for people who don’t fall into one of two gender boxes, guy or girl, to have to constantly choose from only two genders. More gender options give people who don’t identify as a guy or a girl an opportunity to identify themselves in a way that feels right for them. For a notable networking website like Facebook to acknowledge the spectrum of gender identities out there shows progress. Hopefully this will usher in a new wave of acceptance for various gender identities.