Written by: Olivia McLean
Facebook finally took a step in the right direction.
Last week, the website added the option for its users to select from over 50 gender options to be displayed on their profiles.
Since Facebook was created in 2004, the gender options have always been “male” and “female,” but it seems the social media giant has gotten a bit more conscious.
Some options made available include “agender,” “cisgender,” “intersex” and “genderqueer.”
Although a number of people may be overwhelmed by the variety of choices on the drop-down list, it can be an eye-opener for those who don’t know the definition of “pangender,” for example.
With the heavy influence that Facebook has on society (yes, Facebook still has influence, believe it or not), the new options are important additions. They shed light on groups of people who are often glanced over.
Gender has never been, and never will be, a binary concept. The main reason people only think of “man” and “woman” when talking about gender is because they are taught at a young age that there are two opposite genders. People tend to group boys with girls, men with women and males with females.
Perhaps if parents educated their kids about the many gender identities out there, Facebook’s alteration wouldn’t be such big news (and people wouldn’t have trouble explaining their gender to others).
Yes, Facebook brought attention to the numerous possibilities, but the variety of genders is not some new, 21st century creation. It has been around probably since the beginning of human existence, and according to Merriam Webster, some of the terms we use today have been used for centuries.
Hopefully this change leads to other websites allowing the choice of more than two gender options. An even greater option would be to offer boxes where applicants can write in their own gender instead of having to check a box.
We are always told to think outside the box, so why should people’s genders have to stay inside of a box?
Instead of singling out and excluding people whose identities may be slightly different than ours, let’s include them and treat them with the same respect we expect.