Awesome. Facebook now offering 50 choices for “gender” in profiles

posted at 7:01 pm on February 15, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

I first learned of this story from Dr. James Joyner, who apparently had little to say beyond… it’s complicated. In the short version, web giant Facebook is constantly trying to create a more helpful user interface for all of the people employing the service. One aspect of that concerns the various profile options you can select when identifying yourself, specifically your gender. It seems that the boring old two choices of Male or Female weren’t enough for today’s quickly evolving world, so they added a few more.

You don’t have to be just male or female on Facebook anymore. The social media giant has added a customizable option with about 50 different terms people can use to identify their gender as well as three preferred pronoun choices: him, her or them.

Facebook said the changes, shared with The Associated Press before the launch on Thursday, initially cover the company’s 159 million monthly users in the U.S. and are aimed at giving people more choices in how they describe themselves, such as androgynous, bi-gender, intersex, gender fluid or transsexual.

“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,” said Facebook software engineer Brielle Harrison, who worked on the project and is herself undergoing gender transformation, from male to female. On Thursday, while watchdogging the software for any problems, she said she was also changing her Facebook identity from Female to TransWoman.

By way of full disclosure, I don’t have a Facebook page. I did briefly back in 2010 when I’d read about it being an effective tool for campaign management, but it quickly turned out (for me) to be a tiresome time sink with shockingly invasive tendencies and little value to me, so I deleted it. (Which took a lot more effort than I had originally imagined.) I barely have time for my twitter account.

Still, I’m having a bit of trouble imagining how you can get anywhere near fifty for a number of gender selections, and that’s ignoring the fact that I’m an old fuddy duddy. Even assuming the default of two isn’t enough, I guess you’d have some sort of crossover category, but where do you go from there? In any event, there are clearly some people who are really excited about this.

“I love that I can choose Gender Neutral,” said Debon Garrigues of Asheville, N.C., who is transitioning from female to male. “I’m going to change it immediately.”

Garrigues also appreciated the opportunity to change pronoun preferences.

The idea of expanding gender choices percolated at Facebook for about a year and started to come to fruition during an in-house brainstorming four months ago, project manager Lexi Ross said.

Transgender activist Nori Herras-Castaneda, a spokeswoman for the Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center in San Jose, said her community has been waiting for this to happen for a long time.

“We always talk about how gender is a spectrum,” she said. “I can see a lot of people being extremely happy about this.”

A … spectrum. Well, Facebook is clearly a full service outfit, you’ve got to say that for them.


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Keep your moral code away from me, I don’t want to hear it.

liberalrules on February 15, 2014 at 8:46 PM

Terrific post by a member of the ‘party of science,’ the same people who think chromosomal sex determination can be chosen like the outfit you choose to wear for the day.

It’s basic biological science and has NOTHING to do with morality. Your sex isn’t determined by your parts, whether sewn on or lopped off. It’s determined by your chromosomes. Period.

Back to school, proggy.

xNavigator on February 15, 2014 at 10:25 PM

Anyway, like most societal annoyances, I place the blame on the great “self esteem” movement.

anuts on February 15, 2014 at 10:34 PM

Posted much of this in the Green Room on this topic, so here it is again:

The ‘party of science’ wants to deny chromosomal sex/gender determination with the addition, or elimination, of external body parts. You can no more change your gender through the surgical manipulation of your ‘packaging’ than you can make a McDonald’s burger a Ruth’s Chris steak with a fancier plate and the subtraction of the bun.

Additionally, individuals who lose body parts due to disease and/or injury are no less male/female than before (for example, a woman with a double mastectomy and hysterectomy from cancer), any more than a man whose chest grows/sags with weight gain becomes a woman.

The entire concept of choosing one’s sex/gender, then surgically pretending to be that sex/gender, would be ridiculous if it weren’t so perverted and rife with potential for abuse of others’ right to privacy in single-sex bathrooms, locker facilities, etc.

Progressive insanity.

xNavigator on February 15, 2014 at 7:07 PM

Well said.

glidingone on February 15, 2014 at 10:40 PM

I don’t see how that should affect anyone’s life.

If your “God” deems it offensive, don’t use Facebook…very simple.

Keep your moral code away from me, I don’t want to hear it.

Thank you.

liberalrules on February 15, 2014 at 8:46 PM

One does find the progressive mindset interesting…”you keep your moral code away from us while we infuse ours everywhere.”

Ricard on February 15, 2014 at 10:40 PM

Those cisgender fascists at Facebook are prohibiting me from fully self-actualizing by refusing to allow me to designate myself “shemale.”

steebo77 on February 15, 2014 at 10:40 PM

Gender fluid? Does that mean you double or even triple you chances to score on Saturday night?

Techster64 on February 15, 2014 at 10:54 PM

Hot Air has 51 ways of posting redundant material.

corona79 on February 15, 2014 at 10:58 PM

Who cares. Don’t like it? Don’t use Facebook. Must be a slow news day.

NoStoppingUs on February 15, 2014 at 11:30 PM

All those years of biology for not!

desmo11 on February 15, 2014 at 11:51 PM

You are correct, in the context of grammar.

MichaelGabriel on February 15, 2014 at 8:50 PM

But grammar defines culture. It constrains thought to cultural norms.

The Romans had masculine, feminine, and neuter — and genderless nouns which could assume any of those genders.

Hence, it was impossible to define 50 genders in Latin — the language itself would push back by requiring you to choose one of the three genders in order to construct valid sentences describing your new gender.

English is far simpler — it is genderless, except for singular pronouns, so if you want to build such an overlay, it’s a bit easier. You are no longer fighting, in the language, male and female concepts.

Now that Facebook has 50 genders, they need 50 gender pronouns so the language used on Facebook can adequately reflect their new world-view.

unclesmrgol on February 16, 2014 at 12:18 AM

I’ve always called it “Fakebook”.

Texyank on February 16, 2014 at 12:47 AM

Sure I can see an argument for adding in more than just male/female – it’s cheap for a website to do (compare to, say a national census or similar) & nets them lots of brownie points with LGBT groups, but… fifty? Sheesh.

Teleros on February 16, 2014 at 4:59 AM

“We always talk about how gender is a speculum,” she said.

Fifm. It just seems to fit better than spectrum

Squiggy on February 16, 2014 at 6:28 AM

FB demonstrating that The Stupid is on the move!

There are reasons I don’t really get social media and this is about #3,126 in those reasons. That timesink business is in the top 5.

ajacksonian on February 16, 2014 at 6:45 AM

“We always talk about how gender is a speculum,” she said.

Fifm. It just seems to fit better than spectrum

Squiggy on February 16, 2014 at 6:28 AM

I never have, granted any spectrum of speculums. FB vying for the Basken & Robbins of social media just earns a big scoop of banana nut fudge. My take.
Wait was that a gender option?

onomo on February 16, 2014 at 7:23 AM

gender fluid

WTF… some people can’t make up their minds what kind of inflatable doll they wanna spend Friday night with?

roflmmfao

donabernathy on February 16, 2014 at 9:16 AM

This gender garbage is the biggest nonsense on the planet and our kids have been indoctrinated in it.

My little sister wanted to grow up to be a horse when she was about three years old. My parents told her that that was not possible and she got over it. Now I wonder, does FB have an equine category?

No? Speciests.

Fallon on February 16, 2014 at 9:42 AM

I tried to choose “muppet”, and they didn’t have it. Discrimination!

damage done on February 16, 2014 at 10:28 AM

Those cisgender fascists at Facebook are prohibiting me from fully self-actualizing by refusing to allow me to designate myself “shemale.”

steebo77 on February 15, 2014 at 10:40 PM

Funny. (:

SparkPlug on February 16, 2014 at 11:17 AM

From the day it appeared, I have said Facebook is gay. It’s the digital equivalent of walking around all day wearing a sandwich board that says “Look at me! Please, please, please look at me! I need your validation! Approve of me! Please!”

That’s as emotionally weak as you can get. And that’s gay.

M240H on February 16, 2014 at 11:30 AM

These people are seriously f’d up…

dpduq on February 16, 2014 at 11:40 AM

Yeah, just think, they used to run a commercial years ago..

went something like this:

Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie, and Chevrolet…

Oh the Horrors!!

ToddPA on February 15, 2014 at 10:12 PM

Todd,

I think they’re going more for this:

“Cut the pickle

Hold the lettuce

Special genders don’t upset”

ZeusGoose on February 16, 2014 at 11:46 AM

gender is a spectrum

This country is screwed. So hard. The future is extremely bleak.

ButterflyDragon on February 16, 2014 at 12:04 PM

gender is a spectrum

This country is screwed. So hard. The future is extremely bleak.

ButterflyDragon on February 16, 2014 at 12:04 PM

And Facebook is a medium, rare in a world where the stakes are high :(

onomo on February 16, 2014 at 12:12 PM

… Because it’s extremely important to to make absolutely sure that .08% of the population can precisely express their queerness while the country is following Detroit down the progressive crapper …

Whitey Ford on February 16, 2014 at 12:43 PM

Facebook is getting a lot of press over this stupidity.

The only honest change they could make in my honest opinion is to include hermaphrodites, people who are actually born with male and female gentials. The rest is pure hogwash.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/True_hermaphroditism

SC.Charlie on February 16, 2014 at 1:12 PM

Facebook is getting a lot of press over this stupidity.

The only honest change they could make in my honest opinion is to include hermaphrodites, people who are actually born with male and female gentials. The rest is pure hogwash.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/True_hermaphroditism

SC.Charlie on February 16, 2014 at 1:12 PM

PFFTT! (milk, nose, across the room) Okay why don’t we just open the door all the way! Next thing you know they’ll be let’n Hoosiers in!
Where’s Brutus? Can we discuss limits here?!

onomo on February 16, 2014 at 1:19 PM

What about the following:

I possess:

_____ Indoor plumbing

_____Outdoor plumbing

Seems simple enough.

Actually this is one way you can figure out pretty quickly who’s a freak/homo/pervert/queer/wacko so you can “defriend” or “unfriend” or whatever it is you need to do to keep them off your computer screen.

I don’t see how that should affect anyone’s life.

If your “God” deems it offensive, don’t use Facebook…very simple.

Keep your moral code away from me, I don’t want to hear it.

Thank you.

liberalrules on February 15, 2014 at 8:46 PM

OFFENDED ARE WE?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
POOR BABY CAN DISH IT OUT BUT CANNOT TAKE IT EH!!
IT IS CALLED THE FIRST AMENDMENT!!!!!
DON’T WANNA HEAR IT THEN CLOSE YOUR EARS!!

Bubba Redneck on February 16, 2014 at 1:24 PM

gender is a spectrum

The stupid id strong here.

Bubba Redneck on February 16, 2014 at 1:29 PM

The only real third option that is needed is: Confused.

Blue Collar Todd on February 16, 2014 at 1:32 PM

PFFTT! (milk, nose, across the room) Okay why don’t we just open the door all the way! Next thing you know they’ll be let’n Hoosiers in!
Where’s Brutus? Can we discuss limits here?! – onomo on February 16, 2014 at 1:19 PM

There is nothing laughable about being an hermaphrodite. And, If you know your American History Thomas Jefferson planted the story that John Adams was a hermaphrodite in the election of 1800. You can do your own Google search to confirm my story.

SC.Charlie on February 16, 2014 at 1:39 PM

I couldn’t even come up with 50 different political ideologies. Would be interesting though:

Post-industrial urban quasi-Marxist mercantilist

Christian national anarchist

Democratic monarchy oligarchist

Dr. ZhivBlago on February 16, 2014 at 1:41 PM

Eunuchy sissies

Schadenfreude on February 16, 2014 at 1:42 PM

Are there that many types of cereals?

Schadenfreude on February 16, 2014 at 1:43 PM

The feud between the founding father’s Jefferson became extremely bitter. Adams left Washington before the inauguration of Thomas Jefferson. This is the only time a former president was not at the inauguration of the incoming president.

Question: What were John Adams’ last words?

Answer: “Thomas Jefferson still survives.”

Jefferson and John Adams had rekindled their friendship through correspondence after they both had left the presidency. Adams and Jefferson had been fierce political rivals. While Adams supported a stronger federal government with the new Constitution, Jefferson was a staunch advocate of state’s rights. Ironically, due to the wording of the Constitution, Jefferson became Adams’ Vice President in 1796. He then defeated Adams for reelection in the significant election of 1800. Later in life, Adams vowed to survive until the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. He and Jefferson formed a friendship as elder statesmen and wrote each other for years. At the age of 92 he died on July 4, 1826. Ironically, Jefferson had died earlier that day.

http://americanhistory.about.com/cs/johnadams/f/adamswords.htm

SC.Charlie on February 16, 2014 at 1:51 PM

E

unuchy sissies

Schadenfreude on February 16, 2014 at 1:42 PM

Even if you are neutered, you are still male, female or an hermaphrodite.

SC.Charlie on February 16, 2014 at 1:58 PM

Keep your moral code away from me, I don’t want to hear it.

liberalrules on February 15, 2014 at 8:46 PM

Keep yours away from me.

hawkdriver on February 16, 2014 at 2:23 PM

Who cares. Don’t like it? Don’t use Facebook. Must be a slow news day.

NoStoppingUs on February 15, 2014 at 11:30 PM

Don’t like our comments. Don’t read Hot Air. Must be a slow day in the village.

hawkdriver on February 16, 2014 at 2:26 PM

PFFTT! (milk, nose, across the room) Okay why don’t we just open the door all the way! Next thing you know they’ll be let’n Hoosiers in!
Where’s Brutus? Can we discuss limits here?! – onomo on February 16, 2014 at 1:19 PM

There is nothing laughable about being an hermaphrodite. And, If you know your American History Thomas Jefferson planted the story that John Adams was a hermaphrodite in the election of 1800. You can do your own Google search to confirm my story.

SC.Charlie on February 16, 2014 at 1:39 PM

I’m not laughing about being a hermaphrodite. Well, I wasn’t. But just because you had both shouldn’t mean you get to choose both locker rooms. (Although couldn’t I clam that as a gender choice in California?)
I don’t really intend to berate anyone’s fate in life, just the left’s insane exploitation of it. And I’m not so sure in this day and age when so many of us aren’t sure what the earth rotates around, being accused of being one would be a negative at the ballet box. “Ooh, have you heard about onomo? He’s a…whisper whisper whisper”
“…He’s from Indiana!?”
50 gender profiles? 50 degrees of being eat up with dumb ass.

onomo on February 16, 2014 at 3:02 PM

I see they still offer “male” and “female” as options, so this doesn’t affect me at all. Meh.

iceybloop on February 16, 2014 at 4:48 PM

I’m not laughing about being a hermaphrodite. Well, I wasn’t. But just because you had both shouldn’t mean you get to choose both locker rooms. (Although couldn’t I clam that as a gender choice in California?)
I don’t really intend to berate anyone’s fate in life, just the left’s insane exploitation of it. And I’m not so sure in this day and age when so many of us aren’t sure what the earth rotates around, being accused of being one would be a negative at the ballet box. “Ooh, have you heard about onomo? He’s a…whisper whisper whisper”
“…He’s from Indiana!?”
50 gender profiles? 50 degrees of being eat up with dumb ass. – onomo on February 16, 2014 at 3:02 PM

Well, it appears we are on the same page. I was being sarcastic about the 50 or so choices of gender when I suggested that the only true other sex would be someone who is an hermaphrodite. But let us all be empathetic to the plight of people who are born with this birth defect.

SC.Charlie on February 16, 2014 at 5:14 PM

This is asinine. There are two genders. The rest are all states of mind.

EdmundBurke247 on February 16, 2014 at 5:14 PM

This is asinine. There are two genders. The rest are all states of mind. – EdmundBurke247 on February 16, 2014 at 5:14 PM

I guess that hermaphrodites could check both boxes, male and female. :)

SC.Charlie on February 16, 2014 at 5:19 PM

I guess that hermaphrodites could check both boxes, male and female. :)

SC.Charlie on February 16, 2014 at 5:19 PM

Chromosomes for hermaphrodites are still either xx or xy…

Pattosensei on February 16, 2014 at 5:20 PM

If you like your gender, you can keep your gender.

Mazz on February 16, 2014 at 5:34 PM

SC.Charlie on February 16, 2014 at 5:14 PM

Cool.
There must be 50 ways to render gender. (Help me Paul Simon-please)
50 ways to render… eh supper’s ready.

onomo on February 16, 2014 at 5:43 PM

FIFTY gender choices???

If this keeps up, all those “Gender Studies” departments at major universities may yet become relevant!

Adjoran on February 16, 2014 at 6:01 PM

Chromosomes for hermaphrodites are still either xx or xy…Pattosensei on February 16, 2014 at 5:20 PM

Wrong. Read the following lint to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersex

The following is from that website:

The passports and identification documents of Australia and some other nationalities have adopted “X” as a valid third category besides “M” (male) and “F” (female), at least since 2003.[9][10] In 2013, Germany became the first European nation to allow babies with characteristics of both sexes to be registered as indeterminate gender on birth certificates

SC.Charlie on February 16, 2014 at 6:04 PM

Facebook now offering 50 choices for “gender” in profiles ways to leave your lover

OH WAIT, Paul Simon already got that one.

Marcola on February 16, 2014 at 8:01 PM

SEE!!! THIS explains why no-one has seen O’Bozo’s birth certificate.

WryTrvllr on February 16, 2014 at 9:28 PM

Do you suppose lists to the right is one of the choices?

WryTrvllr on February 16, 2014 at 9:31 PM

Why 50 choices?

Too complex in this day and age; it should be narrowed down to six selections:
(1) Male
(2) Female
(3) Shim
(4) Animal
(5) Plant
(6) Democrat

Simple.

StubbornGreenBurros on February 16, 2014 at 9:58 PM

Anyway, like most societal annoyances, I place the blame on the great “self esteem” movement.

anuts on February 15, 2014 at 10:34 PM

Believing in yourself sure does create a lot of fallacies.

Gatekeeper on February 16, 2014 at 11:18 PM

I don’t see how that should affect anyone’s life.

If your “God” deems it offensive, don’t use Facebook…very simple.

Keep your moral code away from me, I don’t want to hear it.

Thank you.

liberalrules on February 15, 2014 at 8:46 PM

Didn’t make the list did you? Again. Tell ya what. I’ll gladly put you on mine. Freak.

Bmore on February 17, 2014 at 8:05 AM

Just more data for them to capture for building a user profile and targeting ads.

BrunoMitchell on February 17, 2014 at 9:25 AM

gender fluid

For goodness sake, I’ve had disgusting roommates before who needed to be told this…

CLEAN UP YOUR GENDER FLUID when you’re done.

Oh, that’s not what you meant? Sorry… I might be confused here.

gekkobear on February 17, 2014 at 12:15 PM

There is, of course, one obvious response: Take them up on the offer. Change your Facebook gender every day or two.

Of course, I’m not responsible for any … umm, interesting new spam you might get.

There Goes the Neighborhood on February 17, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Everyone enjoys long drop down menus.

lorien1973 on February 17, 2014 at 12:33 PM

Why don’t we go by the more accurate scientific method of using chromosomes to determine ones sex/gender?

There’s XX & XY and also XXX, XYY, XXXX, XXYY….etc. There is even XO, Turner Syndrome in which there is only one X chromosome and no other X or Y.

Simply put, a gay man has one more XX female chromosome than that of the straight man = XXY and a gay woman has one more XY male chromosome than the straight woman = XXXY.

But it gets even more complex for if you do the research you’ll find that there is many more chromosomes than strait male, straight female, gay male, or gay female.

JustTheFacts on February 17, 2014 at 1:13 PM

A friend who is a geneticist said that the hardest conversation he has ever had to have was with a very hirsute, manly marine who came to him for some testing to see if he could find out why he and his wife could not have children. Turned out the marine was chromosomally a woman, but presented as totally a man. I think this stuff is not well understood, by most of us. I figure we give compassion to the confused, but that does not mean we transform our whole society to reflect their confusion.

Kristamatic on February 18, 2014 at 11:23 AM

Awesome. Facebook now offering 50 choices for “gender” in profiles

What is this facebook of which you speak?

rukiddingme on February 18, 2014 at 3:58 PM

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