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Gender is a Spectrum: It’s FB Official

This is a sponsored feature. All opinions are 100% from Her Campus.

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Kenyon chapter.

If you haven’t already heard, on February 13th, Facebook unveiled its customized gender options. There are now 56 options for gender identity and expression, not just male and female. Not only can you now choose from a multitude of gender identities and expressions, but when you select a gender other than “male” or “female,” Facebook allows you to pick which pronoun fits you (either female, male, or neutral). Also, you can customize who can and cannot see your gender, which gives a sense of protection for those who might be worried about others’ reactions.

On the Facebook Diversity page, the social media company posted this 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. An important part of this is the expression of gender, especially when it extends beyond the definitions of just “male” or female.” So today, we’re proud to offer a new custom gender option to help you better express your own identity on Facebook.”

Let’s all give a round of applause to Facebook. The thoughtfulness of the people behind this project is apparent, both in their collaboration with multiple LGBT+ advocacy organizations and in the breadth of the options that are now available to users. Such a large-scale, public recognition that gender is a spectrum is exciting to see. Before this, you might see the occasional “other” option when a site asks you to select your gender, but it was never on a site as widely used as Facebook, and there was never the specificity of everything that is considered “other.”

With as many selections as Facebook not provides, there are bound to be some lesser-known terms, so here is a comprehensive list of all the gender identity and expression options and a definition for each.

Will this change completely eradicate the gender binary? Unfortunately, no. There will always be naysayers, those who don’t understand the importance of inclusion and acceptance. Beyond that, there’s still more that Facebook can do. Right now, this feature is only available to U.S. English users. Also, it’s important to include the multiple gender options to sections such as family relationships (for example, to get rid of the limitations of having to select son or daughter for a child who doesn’t fit the gender binary) and “Interested In” (for individuals who are attracted to a non-binary gender).

However, this is a wonderful step in the right direction. It sets an example for other social media sites and for the Internet as a whole. It creates a safer, more comfortable space for those who don’t fit the gender binary. It allows people to more effectively express themselves online, and in our technology-focused era, this is hugely important. Let’s hope that other sites follow Facebook’s example.

Class of 2017 at Kenyon College. English major, Music and Math double minor. Hobbies: Reading, Writing, Accidentally singing in public, Eating avocados, Adventure, and Star Wars.
Ally Bruschi is a senior political science major at Kenyon College. She spent this past summer interning as a writer with both The Daily Meal, a digital media group  dedicated to "all things food and drink" and The Borgen Project, a non-profit organization that partners with U.S. policymakers to alleviate global poverty. Before entering the "real world" of jobs, however, Ally spent many summers as a counselor at an all-girls summer camp in Vermont, aka the most wonderful place on earth. A good book, a jar of peanut butter, a well-crafted Spotify playlist, and a lazy dog could get her through even the worst of days.