‘Gender is Too Binary’ for Facebook, Site Adds 48 More Options

Facebook’s transgender software designer praises new feature allowing users ‘customize’ their gender.

Being male or female is too exclusive, according to Facebook. Starting Feb. 13, Facebook unveiled a new option in each U.S. user’s profile customization to “customize” their gender, according to Associated Press.

Users now have about “50 customizable options for gender” which include “preferred pronoun choice” -- he, she, or them -- that Facebook will address you as. According to the AP report, users will be able to identify as many different gendered terms, such as “androgynous, bi-gender, intersex, gender fluid or transsexual.”

Brielle Harrison, a transgender Facebook software designer who worked on the project, defended the changes telling AP:

“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,” Harrison said. “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.”

Interestingly enough, the designer admitted that this new decision would only help “a few [people.]” “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," Harrison said.

If it wasn’t any more clear that Facebook was catering to a special interest minority group, AP noted that Facebook decided on the terms “after consulting with leading gay and transgender activists.” According to CNN, a former vice president of GLAAD worked on the project with Facebook too.

The question of whether or not it was appropriate to promote a social agenda was not given a second thought by Facebook. Alex Schultz, director of growth, told AP, “Really, there was no debate within Facebook about the social implications at all.” Schultz also said, they hoped it would make “this a more understanding and tolerant world.”

Yet, tolerance only works in liberal’s favor on Facebook. The social media platform’s history shows how hypocritical they can be. In the past, Facebook has banned and taken down content from pro-life groups and individuals, conservatives, and those in favor of traditional marriage, while allowing graphic and offensive comments from abortion providers, gay groups, and anti-religious groups.

— Kristine Marsh is Staff Writer for MRC Culture at the Media Research Center. Follow Kristine Marsh on Twitter.