Social media giant Facebook is adopting a staunch liberal attitude by adding a customizable option with about 50 different terms. Now, the question is what those terms are all about. They are gender options that people may use for the identification of their gender. They may use three preferred pronoun choices as well: him, her or them. Generally, when a male user celebrates a birthday, friends get alerted with, “Write on Matt’s wall for HIS birthday.” The Facebook message would change to – “Write on Matt’s wall for THEIR birthday”, if the person chooses to be identified as gender neutral.
Facebook said it came up with this idea, as a result of its extensive research, on the issue as they had worked for a couple of months with a group of leading gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender advocacy organizations to come up with the new gender categories. It added that the changes will initially cover the 159 million monthly U.S. Facebook users and they are aimed to give people more choices of describing themselves. But, the company’s users around the world will still have the privilege to have their gender identity private.
Facebook engineer Brielle Harrison, who herself is undergoing gender transformation, from male to female, 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,”.
To edit their gender, people will need to choose “custom” from the drop-down menu beside gender after clicking on basic information in their profile. As of present, those who have ‘English US’ set as their preferred language will only be able to access the new gender options.
However, a lot of work still needs to be done. It has been pointed out to Facebook by a concerned guardian that besides ‘son’ and ‘daughter’, no other option is there with which parents can identify their relationships with their queer kids.
It is obvious that issues will and are already cropping up. 50 different options may seem like a lot now, but is having more options i a viable solution to anything? Do you self-identify as gender fluid, gender questioning, trans, FTM, gender non-binary or Cis gender female?
While the company has put its foot forward in the right direction, and may give a more welcoming feel for gender fluid and trans individuals, perhaps what is really needed at this moment is that we all just need to self-identify as exhausted by the need to incessantly discuss others’ gender and sexual preferences.