OkCupid’s new gender and sexuality options are a really big deal
For some people, trying to date on OKCupid used to feel like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole — it. just. did. not. work. Until recently, the site only allowed users to select from two genders (man or woman) and three sexual orientations (straight, gay, or bisexual). Now though, OKCupid is rolling out nine additional sexual orientations (including lesbian, asexual, demisexual, and queer) and a whopping 19 new genders (including agender, androgynous, bigender, and genderqueer). This isn’t your grandma’s OKCupid anymore!
What’s even more exciting is that you can select multiple descriptors for your gender and sexual orientation as opposed to just one for each: you can be a demisexual lesbian androgynous woman, for example. After all, why shouldn’t your online dating profile be more customizable than a Chipotle burrito? These new options will allow users to clearly communicate all of the specifics about how they identify without having to post lengthy explanations at the top of their profiles. That’s right, now you can save your writing skills for your tear-jerking mini essay about the six things you could never live without.
OKCupid’s decision was probably motivated by users who boycotted and petitioned the service, asking them to create more gender options for transgender and gender non-conforming people, and more sexual orientation options for queer folks. Some users even blacked out their profiles in protest. And honestly, after Facebook dropped 50 new gender terms on us out of nowhere earlier this year, the pressure was ON for OKCupid to pick up the pace. Hopefully other popular dating sites will take the hint and follow in Facebook’s footsteps.
Who will these new options help? For starters, those who identify outside the gender binary (as something other than a man or a woman) can now use OKCupid the service without having to pick a label that doesn’t feel quite right. And people who feel restricted by traditional labels like “straight” or “gay” can now communicate who they’re attracted to more precisely. Do you primarily identify as straight but feel comfortable being with people of the same gender under certain circumstances? Just check off “heteroflexible.” Square peg, meet square hole.
Transgender users, too, will have the option to choose “trans man” or “trans woman” as a gender. Some transgender people were specifically petitioning OKCupid for this feature so that they could identify themselves as transgender on their profile. But it’s also important to note that a lot of transgender people (like one transgender woman who was interviewed about OKCupid by The New York Times) won’t select these options because they don’t see themselves as being any different from cisgender men and women, nor should they be expected to choose them just because they’re there.
Overall, OKCupid seems to be taking a huge step forward into the world of 21st century dating. Now, even more people can spend their “typical Friday night” cozying up to some quizzes and maybe even meeting a cutie.
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