For many of us, there’s no need to think twice when filling in profiles on social networking, dating or other sites. The choice is easy: male or female. You click the button that applies, hit enter and never consider it again.
However, that’s certainly not the case for many. When it comes to gender, male and female certainly do not fit all, and for those who identify as anything other than one of the two, it can be frustrating not to be able to find a proper representation of who you are. Facebook wants to change that, however, and will allow the millions of site members to choose terms such as androgynous, bi-gender, intersex, gender fluid or transsexual in the gender field.
While this option will first roll out to the 159 million monthly users in the US before rolling out worldwide. As Facebook software engineer Brielle Harrison told ABC News::
“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.
“All too often transgender people like myself and other gender nonconforming people are given this binary option, do you want to be male or female? What is your gender? And it’s kind of disheartening because none of those let us tell others who we really are. This really changes that, and for the first time I get to go to the site and specify to all the people I know what my gender is.”
Personally, I think it’s wonderful that Facebook is taking the first step to become more inclusive for all users to populate the site. While the change is sure to spark controversy by those who disagree with (or are plain ignorant of) alternative lifestyles, we’re big fans of Facebook’s big step forward.