By Torilynn Qualls |Staff Writer|
Facebook has taken a step toward recognition of the transgender rights movement by adding over 50 new gender identifiers for users to classify themselves.
Transgender is a term for people whose gender identity does not conform to the sex they were given at birth.
Non-binary gender are people who feel their gender identity does not fit within the stereotypical definitions of male or female.
I believe that this is an improvement to the website because it will allow everyone to embrace their gender identity. It will also help users become more aware of transgendered and non-binary gender types.
“There was no debate within Facebook about the social implications at all,” said Alex Schultz, director of growth at Facebook. “It was simple: Not allowing people to express something so fundamental is not really cool, so we did something about it.”
Those opposed to Facebook’s new gender options believe there are just too many options which may cause further confusion.
Todd Starnes host FOX News & Commentary condemns the change on his Facebook wall, “What if you identify as a pine cone or a chicken or a weed whacker? Facebook doesn’t offer those options.”
Views similar to Starnes’ helped push Facebook to change its gender options in order to support their transgendered and non-binary users.
Some are concerned that Facebook is just using the new identifiers as an advertisement platform.
Blogger and computer coder Meitar Moscovitz stated, “Facebook is categorizing you. The more information you give Facebook, the more money you’re worth to Facebook.”
According to the Associated Press, changing gender is not registered as a “life event” on Facebook and won’t post on timelines.
Therefore, Facebook said advertisers cannot target ads to those who declare themselves transgender or have recently changed their gender.
Before writing this article, I was unaware of all the different gender types that people classify themselves as.
I feel that in the past I may have ran the risk of offending someone by gendering them wrong without even being aware of it.
I believe that this Facebook update personally helps me to be more socially aware of those around me.
Facebook has also added the option for users to select the correct pronoun for the website to use when referring to them.
For example, the website prompts the user to choose between “wish her a happy birthday,” “wish him a happy birthday,” or “wish them a happy birthday” for those who don’t identify with the she/he pronouns.
“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,” stated Facebook software engineer Brielle Harrison.
Gender is a delicate topic for some, especially if the world around them does not recognize their gender preference.
I’m glad that Facebook is taking this positive step to support and affirm these 50 plus gender types.