Facebook’s next big update allows users to stray from the norm by choosing from many new types of genders.
Before, users had to choose from male or female. Now, they are able to choose from a multitude of options such as transgender, intersex, and fluid.
This allows Facebook users to be more true to themselves and explore their options. Users no longer have to be bound to the social norms. Now, users can list themselves as who they perceive themselves to be.
“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,” said Facebook software engineer Brielle Harrison, from the Associated Press news agency. Harrison is undergoing a gender transformation from male to female. With this new update, he believes he will be able to express himself more accurately.
However, not everyone is happy about the change. Blogger Meitar Moscovitz said, “This isn’t about Facebook being inclusive, it’s about Facebook making sure people remain ignorant of the exactly that facet; that they are categorizing you anyway. The more information you give Facebook, the more money you’re worth to Facebook.”
What Moscovitz means by this, is that Facebook shows you ads based upon your gender. When Facebook starts allowing people to declare different genders they will be able to reach across the gap and advertise to them as well.
For now, Facebook users who use US English will be allowed to create custom genders, yet in the future Facebook plans to expand this to the world’s youth whose sexual identities do not conform to standard social norms to express their true selves.
“I believe being able to identify yourself online is the first step to truly accepting yourself in reality,” said Lindsey Daniels, avid Facebook user. “If things go well there, you’re more likely to start being comfortable with it and start being who you believe you are.”