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Facebook Debuts New Gender Options, Pronoun Choices 462

Posted by Soulskill
from the support-enabled dept.
beaverdownunder writes "Facebook has recognized it's a gender-diverse world — at least in the U.S. In addition to Male or Female, Facebook now lets U.S. users choose among some 50 additional options such as 'transgender,' 'cisgender,' 'gender fluid,' 'intersex' and 'neither.' 'Users also now have the ability to choose the pronoun they would like to be referred to publicly: he/his, she/her, or the gender-neutral they/their.' A post on Facebook's Diversity page said, '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. An important part of this is the expression of gender, especially when it extends beyond the definitions of just "male" or "female." ...We also have added the ability for people to control the audience with whom they want to share their custom gender. We recognize that some people face challenges sharing their true gender identity with others, and this setting gives people the ability to express themselves in an authentic way.'"
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Facebook Debuts New Gender Options, Pronoun Choices

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  • Honestly, what is the difference between "Trans Person, Gender Variant, Gender Questioning, Bigender, Androgynous, Pangender and Transsexual."?

    • by thesandtiger (819476) on Friday February 14, 2014 @10:38AM (#46245259)

      I don't know, but it seems important enough to some people to make the distinction, and it's reasonably easy to accommodate them if they ask, so why not just roll with it?

      • This is kind of the same feeling I've always gone with. I think the vast number of names can get a little excessive, but I guess if the LGBTQ community needs that level of granularity in how they define themselves, might as well go with it. How other people decide to live their life, as long as it doesn't impact mine adversely, is their own business - as is what they call themselves.
        • If all of them are going to become mainstream, LGBTQ is going to need a whole lot more letters. I think it'd be best if we picked a handful of definitions and allowed for ranges within them. Vegetarianism has done this - sure, there's various names like octo-lacto-vegetarian for different degrees of it, but most of the time getting that specific only matters in the context of certain situations. I have no problem with recognizing different genders, but the more you try to granularize it, the more trouble yo

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by sexconker (1179573)

            If all of them are going to become mainstream, LGBTQ is going to need a whole lot more letters. I think it'd be best if we picked a handful of definitions and allowed for ranges within them. Vegetarianism has done this - sure, there's various names like octo-lacto-vegetarian for different degrees of it, but most of the time getting that specific only matters in the context of certain situations. I have no problem with recognizing different genders, but the more you try to granularize it, the more trouble you're going to run into defining them until every person on Earth uses a slightly different definition.

            Vegetarian - doesn't consume animal products.
            Vegan - doesn't consume or use animal products.
            Hypocrite - claims to be a vegetarian but eats dairy, or fish, etc.
            Moron - claims to be vegan but has a leather satchel.

            "Vegetarians" who eat dairy or fish are absolutely not vegetarians and would never have called themselves vegetarians a few decades ago. But LA and New York hipster shits decided it was in vogue, then idiots who weren't vegetarians wanted to claim to be one, so they did, and now the word has been r

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        TMI, that's why. It's sexual exhibitionism, and it's gross.
        • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Friday February 14, 2014 @12:10PM (#46246589) Homepage

          Ok, everybody. Self-classification is gross, because misexistentialist says so.

          In the interest of public decency, you are now "poor" if you're unable to afford food or clothing, and everyone else is "rich". There is to be no further differentiation, so we can forget all of that "middle class" nonsense.

          It you were born within the bounds of the United States of America, you are an American. Everyone else is a foreigner, regardless of immigration, heritage, or temporary circumstances.

          Whenever the ambient temperature is above 32 degrees Fahrenheit, it is "warm", and for the sake of avoiding disgusting differentiation, everyone must wear their state-issued "warm" clothes. At 32 degrees Fahrenheit and below, it is "cold", and we all must wear the appropriate "cold" clothing.

          Of course, not everyone will want to follow these new rules, but we have a suitable and tasteful classification for that as well. Those who conform will be considered "comrades", and those who violate these basic rules for a civil society will be deemed "unpersons" and will no longer be welcome here.

      • Storing arbitrary strings in my database is hard! *Emo Tears*
      • by kruach aum (1934852) on Friday February 14, 2014 @10:54AM (#46245477)

        Because the thing that allows language to be a communicative tool is that words have the same meaning for almost everyone. Rather than providing clarification, this glut of undefined terms destroy the ability of language to convey meaning.

      • by pla (258480) on Friday February 14, 2014 @01:02PM (#46247235) Journal
        Because people want to know your gender for a reason, not just as an abstract set of meaningless adjectives you wish applied to you.

        In most cases, I really don't care about your gender. If I bother to look it up or ask, though, I damned well want an answer like "male", "female", "indeterminate", or "undisclosed". And if I bother to inquire about it, I want your answer of "male" to mean the genotype XY, not "it's complicated but I tend to wear men's clothing and take top during sex". In that case, just go with "undisclosed".

        And yes, before some pedant chimes in, I know the difference between genotype and social gender identity - I just don't care if your self-image involves referring to yourself as a translucent cloud of neon green glitter.
        • by Obfuscant (592200)

          And if I bother to inquire about it, I want your answer of "male" to mean the genotype XY,

          So if someone asks you where the bathroom is and you can't immediately tell from how they are dressed whether they want the Gents or the Gals version, you think the proper way to determine the answer is to know their genotype? You'd really tell a post-op trans XY now-woman to use the men's room?

      • Because after a point you have to draw the line somewhere when it comes to being politically correct. I mean we already have to write "he or she put on his or her hat" where we used to just write "he put on his hat" when writing about an unknown person, because the later method might offend somebody when no offense was ever intended.

        I mean what, now we have to go back and rewrite every personnel database management system to include every new form of gender that somebody can philosophically surmise in order

    • the difference? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Cruciform (42896) on Friday February 14, 2014 @10:42AM (#46245315) Homepage

      Transgender vs. Transsexual generally refer to someone who hasn't had surgery, and someone who has, respectively.
      An androgynous person doesn't present as one gender or another.
      Gender questioning is pretty obvious, with the individual in the process of working out inner feelings and unsure how they're presenting.
      Bigender, I'm not sure of. Maybe someone who is comfortable switching gender roles in a culture with 2 or more genders. (Some cultures have several)
      Pangender sounds like a lot of work.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The only real difference is that if you don't acknowledge the existence and the validity of these various identities names, you're going to get yelled at by feminist and equality extremists groups from all over the internet... but mainly tumblr.

    • by tsqr (808554) on Friday February 14, 2014 @10:44AM (#46245343)

      Honestly, what is the difference

      Obviously, you are one of the 50-odd varieties of insensitive clod!

      But what I want to know is, what does "Neither" mean when there are 50 other choices?

      • by fche (36607)

        Whatever "neither" means, it's certainly different from "other".

        They should've added "potato" and "potaahto".

    • A lot of this comes down to sex vs gender.

      Sex is your biological status: what organs and hormone levels do you have, and how have they developed? Sounds straight-forward, at least at first.

      Gender might be defined as a social role and group identity you take on which is influenced most significantly in most people by their sex. So most people pick from one of the two massively dominant genders, wind up pretty content about it, and have organs matching everyone else in their camp.

      But what if you have tes
    • by Hognoxious (631665) on Friday February 14, 2014 @11:22AM (#46245867) Homepage Journal

      what is the difference between "Trans Person, Gender Variant, Gender Questioning, Bigender, Androgynous, Pangender and Transsexual."?

      Not much. None of them like beta, that's for sure.

    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      Is there also a "Don't want Facebook to know" option?

  • I've used these for a long time. It's almost natural to use the neutral plural as a neutral singular: when you say "he or she", you're implicitly referring to two possible states of gender, so using "they" to stand for the superposition of the two makes sense.

  • Well, there are open minded when it comes to gender but don't you dare to upload a picture of a mother who is breast-feeding her child.

    Beheading, on the other hand are OK.

  • If you can make it this easy for people to share who they share their gender preferences with, why can't you let me customize which advertisers and apps can and can't see what portions of my data, my friends list, and can post on my behalf? I guess I will continue to not like anything on Facebook and not use apps.
  • I wonder how they are storing the gender in the database. Most databases allocate a single character for gender -- M or F in most cases. I had joked that a company could easily offer Neuter and Transgender and still use the single character space. How are they storing 50 different choices in a single character? Either that, or create another linked table for the multitude of choices, and use X in gender to indicate a lookup in the auxiliary gender table. Would some countries limit what choices their citizen
  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Friday February 14, 2014 @10:47AM (#46245381)
    The people you _really_ know (as opposed to merely have "friended") will already know your gender, preferences, propensities and how you wish to be known. For all the rest, it shouldn't even matter. If you want to refer to a person, use their name, initials (e.g. PP) or online nickname.

    Either that, or let each individual FB-er choose a unique description for themselves - in their own language.

  • ....overcompleifabulocation it.

  • There will always be someone claiming to not fit into any of the classifications you supply, and now they can claim you are specifically hurting them.

    These new genders are for hipsters, as soon as they become mainstream they will switch to something new and yell foul that you are not accommodating them.

    • by blueg3 (192743)

      It's just a blank field that you can fill in arbitrarily (just like most of the other profile fields).

      The recognition of most of these new genders predates the rise of hipsters.

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      It's true, gender was completely locked down and unambiguous until 2007, and none of these terms pre-date the second-generation iPod.

  • "... we want you to feel comfortable being your true, authentic self."

    I wonder if they include things like Futa, Loli and Trap with their many gender-obfuscating references...

    It just seems to me that many will abuse the whole Net-Annonimity thing, and post their Fantasy selves, as opposed to their "true, authentic" self-image.

    What's to keep people from having alts, anyway? There's plenty of those already.

    Well, Good Luck with all that, FaceBook! I hope you can last long enough to make a Graceful exit when the Next Big Thing gets here.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Friday February 14, 2014 @11:19AM (#46245837)

    "Not your fucking business"

Live within your income, even if you have to borrow to do so. -- Josh Billings

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