Facebook adds new options for gender identifiction

By: Megan Lowry Email
By: Megan Lowry Email

EAU CLAIRE, Wis (WEAU)--A small change on Facebook is helping create a discussion worldwide on gender roles in society.

Next time you log on to Facebook, look at your profile setting and click on the gender selection tab. Instead of having two gender options, there are three; female, male and other.

“Having Facebook add this as an option is incredibly important," said Christopher Jorgenson the director of UW-Eau Claire’s Women's and LGBTQ Resource Center.

He says too often people confuse someone's gender with their sex.

"Even on job applications when it asks for your gender. Your choices are male or female and that’s actually incorrect. Gender refers to a much more complex piece of identity. It is generally what society will expect of you once it knows whether you are a male or female so for gender there are so many variations that can constantly change that exist beyond just whether you are a man or woman,” said Jorgenson.

Thanks to Facebook the gender conversation is going viral. With more than 1.23 billion active users Jorgenson says the social media site is a great platform to spread a message of acceptance.

“I think what it’s doing is finally acknowledging that there are a lot of people who don't identify as a man or woman. It acknowledges that there are a lot of people who are somewhere in between that binary,” said Jorgenson.

Facebook will still allow users to hide their gender identity or limit who sees it. You can also choose what pronoun like him, her or them you would like to be referred as.

So far the move is getting a thumbs up from its users.

“I think it’s cool that people who don't seem themselves in the basic ways can express themselves,” said Charles Kransberger.

“I think it makes it more out in the open and people will,” said Bryanna Rothwell

Facebook unveiled the change last week. The change was sparked by a petition started on the social media site.


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