The Facebook gender options have launched and now people have had a chance to check out all 50+ options. Beyond the terms normally associated with the LGBT community, some of the terms might seem confusing to many people. For example, what does gender fluid even mean?
In a related report by The Inquisitr, the Facebook gender options were developed by software engineer Brielle Harrison, who is currently about to have a surgery to go from being a man to a woman, which explains the motive for introducing this new functionality:
“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.”
So, no, gender fluid does not refer to an actual liquid or something naughty. This Facebook gender option is intended to reference fluidity in thought, meaning the person who self-identifies as gender fluid either can’t make up their mind what sex they are or they are currently shifting between genders like a fluid. Other sites describe the term as meaning the person has a dynamic mix of boy and girl, so even the terminology itself is fairly fluid in meaning.
There are also many other terms people are unlikely to be familiar with. For example, FTM isn’t an insult aimed at men, it means female to male. Thus, MTF is female to male. Neutrosis means a neutral gender, which is similar to the term non-binary (the term binary itself means there only two options). Transmasculine describes those who are female at birth, but identify as more male than female.
Two-spirit is a native American religious reference and it’s actually been used for years outside of the Facebook gender options. It’s supposed to mean a person has both a male and female spirit inside them, but it can also refer to contrasting spirits like a Clan Mother or someone who embodies different animal spirits.
The term cisgender is potentially politically loaded term. In short, it refers to a person who identifies as the gender they were born as and it’s supposed to be an alternative to non-transgender or “normal people.” Cisgender was invented as a way of proclaiming there isn’t any such thing as a normal gender, thus making it controversial. It’s possible some people may choose one of the several Cis- options as a show of support for the LGBT community’s political goals.
What do you think about the Facebook gender options? Personally, all I can say is that I was very disappointed I couldn’t set mine to superman or he-man…