Facebook gives users new gender options

Posted on Feb 24 2014 - 12:34pm by Guest Writer

By Tahlia Terhune, Columnist

Facebook users no longer have to be subjected to just two gender choices.

The company has added a vast number of alternative genders and gender identifications for users creating profiles. While previously offering a limited female or male option, Facebook has released a selection of more than 50 gender-identifying — or in some cases unidentified — choices.

ABC News reports there will be options for pronoun use such as him, her and their as well.

Facebook’s own diversity page released the statement, “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.”

While this decision may not affect everyone, the community it does affect is speaking volumes on behalf of those who have been advocating for change.

In an age where online identity is so prominent in daily life, the demand for choices available for some of the 1.23 billion active monthly users was exceedingly high.

For those that may be in opposition, Facebook’s representatives said they simply considered the underlying fact for an individual’s need of expression. Alex Shultz, Facebook’s director of growth, said, “It was simple: Not allowing people to express something so fundamental is not really cool, so we did something.”

This quote is critical in understanding the decision made by Facebook. Whether people believe it was a good business move for Facebook or not is irrelevant.

In its market, Facebook is catering to the consumer, who in this case was demanding options. Facebook representatives said this did not personally affect other users who would only identify with the previous male or female options.

A petition for a variety of options was the initiating spark to create this new stride in social change. While companies such as Google+ have had options such as female, male and other, Facebook has placed itself as frontrunner, providing the most diverse collection of expressing your gender.

While a handful of users may need some explanation on what the vast number of different genders even mean, the only people personally affected by this new addition are those who lobbied for it in the first place.

Overall, it seems as if users are happy with this decision.

“It’s good that a social media site with the global reach that Facebook has is taking the initiative of providing people with the option to express who they want to be and who they identify as,” sophomore Christian Dilworth said.

Facebook has done an excellent job of maintaining itself as a business and meeting the demand of its users.