Facebook recently added a new twist to its gender options on user profile pages: there are more options than being either male or female. In fact, there are now more than fifty different gender options on Facebook! Strange as it may sound to those who aren’t well-versed in gender studies, many people don’t identify themselves within the typical male-female binary. And Facebook decided it wanted to accommodate those perspectives.
According to CNN, Facebook executives worked with “a group of leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy organizations to come up with the new gender categories.” Facebook’s diversity page elaborates on its goal, speaking directly to its global users: “When you come to Facebook to connect with the people, causes, and organizations you care about, we want you to feel comfortable being your true, authentic self.”
According to many professionals in psychology and pundits in gender research and equality, gender is not something you are born with. Biologically you have a sex, but gender, according to these perspectives, is something we learn culturally–through what we’re told and what we see.
Whether you agree with these ideas or not, it’s at least worth learning how a growing number of people identify themselves. If they’re not male or female, then what are they?
In Facebook’s profile options under “gender,” you can now choose the option to “customize.” While you can type in whatever gender category you want, Facebook’s autocomplete function provides roughly 50 gender options for you, gender identities that these leading LGBT groups have come up with.
Here’s how we might define the 50 different genders on Facebook: