Facebook Lets You Pick Almost Any Gender, But Extraterrestrials Get Left Out
February 14, 2014 8:21 PM
Among the more interesting options include "two-spirit", "neutrosis", "non-binary", and "gender fluid"
"Back in the day", Facebook, Inc. (
) had a couple of rather humorous options that you could submit when it came to "What I'm interested in". Alongside more dignified answers such as “a relationship" or "friendship," users used to be able to respond "
whatever I can get
" or "random play."
Those options went the way of the Dodo back in 2008, but
fresh off its tenth birthday celebration
, Facebook is getting back to the kind of flexibility it saw in its early days in terms of how users chose to represent themselves. Under the new policy users gain a number of profile tweaks that they can use to describe their sexuality in today's crazy and complicated world.
Under the new policy
Facebook's billion-plus users
no longer have to describe themselves as "male" or "female". Instead they can pick a new third option "custom". That option allows the user to type up to 10 gender terms of their choosing.
Facebook software engineer Brielle Harrison is perhaps an appropriate pick to demo the new technology as she herself identifies as a trans-gendered woman. [Image Source: AP]
Obviously some of the more common deviations include
the not-so-heterosexual side of the spectrum
, such as:
But apparently Facebook itself has generated a rather broad list which it (believes) describes just about any sexuality.
[Image Source: Slate]
A spokesperson comments:
While to many this change may not mean much, for those it affects it means a great deal. We see this as one more way we can make Facebook a place where people can express their authentic identity.
[Image Source: The Los Angeles Times]
In total the site offers
Does not identify with either gender
Looking a bit male and female
Apparently this means being a stereotypical member of your gender
Female to Male
Feels like a boy some days, a girl on others
We're guessing this sort of the opposite of cisgender, within a given gender
People with unusual/atypical genital anatomy due to mutations
Male to Female
Often used similar to asexuality
Not exclusively male or female... sort of the digital age bisexual
Someone who sees themselves as a "third gender
Based on a Native American belief that some people are born with two spirits, one of each gender
Of course the list isn't exactly complete -- it doesn't include those who
identify themselves as extraterrestrial genders
, people that aren't "binary fluid" but are attracted to such folks (so-called
), demisexuals (those who express gender traits only when they are in love), heteroflexible (those who are homosexual only in certain circumstances such as boarding schools or prisons), or polysexual (attracted to men, women, and gender-neutral/third gender people), and bi-curious (straight, but want to explore otherwise).
And then of course there's
refers to as a gender identity, but apparent Facebook draws the line at polygamy.
The Human Rights Campaign
, an advocacy group,
that roughly 10 percent of LBGT youth identify with less-common genders. And we've already heard about how nearly a quarter of young Japanese men and half of young Japanese women in some sociological surveys identified themselves as asexual, a troubling trend researchers are trying to fight with robots that mimic human babies.
HRC President Chad Griffin praised Facebook's decision, commenting:
Over the past few years, a person's Facebook profile truly has become their online identity, and now Facebook has taken a milestone step to allow countless people to more honestly and accurately represent themselves. Facebook’s action is one that I hope others heed in supporting individuals’ multifaceted identities.
Users can change genders by Navigating on their profile to About > (bottom of the page) > Basic Information > (edit) > Gender.
[Image Source: AP]
Aside from genders, people can also pick which gender pronoun they want to be referred to by in birthday announcements and other automatically generated messages/suggestions.
Of course, it should be noted that all this gender stuff may not be all about equal rights and good vibes on Facebook's end. The new profile information allows them to perhaps
better market ads towards you
, based on your sexual description. It's all about the Benjamins, baby.
Human Rights Campaign
The Washington Post
The LA Times
"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home
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