Facebook gender options are about to change dramatically. The social networking site has vowed to add nearly 50 different options under the “gender” category. Although the change has not happened at this time, the launch is planned for today.
In addition to male or female, Facebook is adding numerous other choices, including androgynous, bi-gender, intersex, gender fluid, and transsexual. The entire list will include around 50 preset choices and the option to create a custom gender. With the option of customization, the possibilities are endless.
Facebook software engineer Brielle Harrison said “there’s going to be a lot of people for whom this is going to mean nothing, but for the few it does impact, it means the world.” Harrison identifies herself as a TransWoman, as she is currently undergoing a transition from male to female.
As reported by Associated Press, those who identify as transgender are often limited to choosing “female,” “male,” or “other,” when filling out forms. Facebook’s decision may be controversial. However, it was meant to provide freedom of expression. Harrison said she is excited about Facebook’s new gender options:
“All too often transgender people like myself and other gender nonconforming people are given this binary option, do you want to be male or female?… it’s kind of disheartening because none of those let us tell others who we really are… for the first time I get to go to the site and specify to all the people I know what my gender is.”
As sexuality and gender continue to be topics of heated debate, some users will certainly oppose the change. As reported by ABC News, Focus on the Family analyst Jeff Johnston acknowledges that Facebook has a right to add as many genders as they wish. However, he argues that “it’s impossible to deny the biological reality that humanity is divided in two halves — male and female.”
Facebook staffers came to the decision after discussing the issue with LGBT activists. The list was compiled using terms suggested by those organizations. Although the options will be exclusive to users in the United States, they will be expanded to other countries at a later date. Facebook officials are currently working with international activists to compile similar gender options for other countries.
While the new options will most likely cause some backlash, Facebook executives hope other social networking sites will follow their example to create “a more understanding and tolerant world.”
The new Facebook gender options are expected to launch before the end of the day.
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