Facebook expands gender options

This is very cool.

As always, Facebook has been quick to adapt to changing social attitudes by adding 50 new terms that people can choose from when identifying their gender. According to Al Jazeera America, the options include identifiers like gender questioning, bigender, transexual and intersex.

Facebook image
AP Photo/Noah Berger

Facebook software engineer Brielle Harrison is currently undergoing a male-to-female gender transition. She was part of the team that brought this project to fruition.

“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 said.

Of course, it wouldn’t be social equality without criticism from a conservative religious organization. Jeff Johnston, an issues analyst for Focus on the Family, released the following statement:

“Of course Facebook is entitled to manage its wildly popular site as it sees fit, but here is the bottom line: It’s impossible to deny the biological reality that humanity is divided into two halves, male and female,” Johnston said.

However, as the transgender movement gradually becomes part of the national conversation, companies– like Facebook — that are popular with the younger generations will have to adapt to the changing social landscape or will receive significant backlash. In fact, Facebook’s new gender options are the result of years of petitioning by the site’s users. And when your business model relies on the support of 83% of 18-29 year old Internet users (Business Insider, 2013), you will keep up with the times.


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