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back to article Facebook adds 50+ gender options: Stalking your 'Friends' just got more LGBT-friendly

Facebook has introduced more than 50 gender options its users can select when choosing how they wish to identify themselves. The Social Network revealed the new feature to The Associated Press, where a story features Brielle Harrison, a Facebook staffer who is "undergoing gender transformation, from male to female". It's also …

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Sex is Not Gender

I hope they have "don't know" on the list. As for pronouns, there aren't enough to go around.

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Re: Sex is Not Gender

I doubt they'll ever put "Don't know" on the list. Americans love labels. You might get "Decline to say" if you're lucky.

Honestly, they could have five-hundred options and it still wouldn't cover everyone because gender is a fluid thing. Some people go through phases, some people might be gay but have a specific type (e.g. a man who might conceivably sleep with a masculine man if the circumstances were right, but finds effeminate and camp gay men really irritating). There aren't really a finite number of options, only a finite number of people.

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TRT
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Re: Sex is Not Gender

<form> <select width=180><option value="Stewie">A man who might conceivably sleep with a masculine man if the circumstances were right, but finds effeminate and camp gay men really irritating</option></select></form>

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Re: Sex is Not Gender

"a man who might conceivably sleep with a masculine man if the circumstances were right, but finds effeminate and camp gay men really irritating"

Correct me if I'm wrong but aren't you talking about sexuality not gender?

"Occasionally gay for the right sort of dude" isn't a gender, it's a sexual orientation.

Or have the definitions changed around again? I can't keep up.

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Joke

Re: Sex is Not Gender

We're gonna need a bigger Acronym!

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@ h4rm0ny

"Americans love labels."

Just like everyone else on the fucking planet. And it doesn't take much of an understand of the way the human mind works to understand why.

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Re: @ h4rm0ny

I always thought the labels were not much to do with people but more to do with getting another piece of information out of you with which to target you with advertising.

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Re: Sex is Not Gender

Or have the definitions changed around again? I can't keep up.

People who say gender is fluid haven't ever tried to keep up with the politically correct terms that surround gender.

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Childcatcher

WTF!

So, now I can man up. or woman up, or trans up, or whatever up to being whoever or whatever I want to be?

Surely they could have gotten this down to seven choices

Male

Female

Both

Neither

Undecided

Outcome pending

To be confirmed

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Re: WTF!

My first thought was much the same, but then I pondered, hell what do I know – maybe there are 50-plus unique ways people relate to their reproductive organs, and it's just me that haven't been keeping up. Guess I'm just an old fart that can't let go of the outdated ways of yore...

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Re: Extend to "Post visibility options"

Friends

Friends of Friends

Female Friends

Male Friends

Female Friends of Friends

Trans Friends

Cross Friends

Wanna Be Friends

Friends To Enemy

"FB respects your privacy and gives you total control."

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Re: WTF!

Oh but gender is /so/ much more complex and nuanced than the relation between a person* and their reproductive organs - it's a social construct, doncha know. Or that is what those involved in the academic pusuit of Gender Studies would have us believe.

*Please forgive what could be seen as personist language; I wasn't trying to exclude those who self-identify as not being people, or as not having identities, or not existing.

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Re: WTF!

>>"Oh but gender is /so/ much more complex and nuanced than the relation between a person* and their reproductive organs - it's a social construct, doncha know."

Gender is a social role. You might be thinking of sex (you probably are), which is a biological characteristic.

And if you actually don't think social expectations based on sex make any difference, then you really have led a very sheltered life and should meet more people from different backgrounds. If you don't think gender is a social construct then how do you explain major differences in the roles sexes play in different cultures? Because it's a sure thing that there isn't a gene that says Indian women are more likely to be interested in a career in programming than Caucasian women, or which turns on and off whether pink is seen as a masculine or feminine colour between different generations.

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Gav

Re: WTF!

You've forgotten;

None of your business

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Re: WTF!

I was told that one large UK Gov't department has several values for gender: male, female, male was female, female was male & I think 'unknown' & a couple more where people had decided to revert to their original gender.

None of this is about preference of sexual partner - and is (or should be) of no interest in a corporate database.

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Re: WTF!

" how do you explain major differences in the roles sexes play in different cultures? ... "

Well that's a three-pint conversation, and certainly not something that's suited to being conducted in anonymous text boxes.

Personally, I think that gender roles are the expression of a number of mostly biological factors and gender is loosely coupled to sex and sexuality, so I must respectfully disagree, but with the emphasis on "respectfully".

It is, after all, the weekend.

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Re: WTF!

One more option needed.

"It's complicated"

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Re: WTF!

Personally, I think that gender roles are the expression of a number of mostly biological factors and gender is loosely coupled to sex and sexuality,

I would say very loosely. While most peoples' gender does indeed match their sexual equipment there are many who don't. Furthermore not all people who are biologically gay have gender identities that don't match their sex. There are, for example, some very masculine gay men. Where it gets confusing is when you start dealing with asexuals, bigendered people, and true transexuals (as opposed to a transvestite -- there is a lot of crossover, but not all transvestites suffer from gender dysphoria).

I do believe that there are certain things which, for whatever reason, are more interesting to one gender or the other. For instance men like to hunt more than women do in general(which is probably a holdover from way back when hunting was a necessity of survival and usually handle by the physically stronger men). There are things women are attracted to universally across cultural lines similar to hunting for men, but its late and none come to mind. However a lot of it is socially ingrained. Why, for instance, are men interested in cars? Or, even better, why aren't men interested in sewing (almost a necessary survival skill since everyone has damaged clothes at times that could be saved by rudimentary sewing skills).

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Anonymous Coward

I applaud with all three hands ! To make things more fun they should also widen & blur all other categories... And why not introduce parallel time lines, and time loops (otherwise tardis users could not use facebook properly).

Not sure how they could monetise the data though....

Some options....

What kind of being are you? - Conscious / Drunk / Distributed / Cyborg / Machine / Ravenous beast / Vegetable

Gender? - Male / Female / Emale / Transgender / Who cares / Werechicken / Asexual / Vegetable

Birthday? - Yes/ No / don't remind me / Unbirthday / every year / 20th century / a long time ago in a galaxy far away....

Religion? - Only in emergencies / hedonist / tory / Grauniad reader / pseudo scientist / football fan

Education? - Pardon? / Wot? / Work in Progress / Classical / Over Educated for his own good / School of hard knocks .

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Anonymous Coward

They won't even let me put my location on Facebook! Mars to them is not a real place...

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I know you posted AC but you've got to be "amanfrommars", who else could you be?

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What kind of being are you? - Conscious / Drunk / Distributed / Cyborg / Machine / Ravenous beast / Vegetable

You forgot "Meat Popsicle". I am also faily positive you left "Bugblatter" and "Of Traal" out as well

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The original internet

If men are kids, women are men, and kids are undercover FBI agents, what are all the other options?

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Trollface

bigender

I would have thought this was a question of size or boasting to be honest rather than one of gender.

(Bad joke alert)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: bigender

I read it as "big-endian" at first.

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Facepalm

Re: bigender

So did I.

(genuinely)

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Anonymous Coward

WFT

Penis size appears to be covered by big-ender!

Why would anyone fill this type of information in, has their been a really big change in the gene pool?

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Re: WFT

has there been a really big change in the gene pool?

It's the gender pool which has exploded.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: WFT

There hasn't been a change in the gene pool, just a growing awareness, respect and tolerance that everyone is born different. Of course you are right, unfortunately a lot of people won't fill this in because of a social stigma associated.

There will be others who say this list is ridiculously long but people don't always fit into neat little roles and through no fault of their own so this is progress.I'm far from a fan of the site but this shows a good level of respect from Facebook.

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Re: WFT

> has their been a really big change in the gene pool?

No, but political correctness has reached critical stupidity.

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Re: WFT

Other than the desire to label everything and everybody, it's also attempting to merge biological identification with orientation into one label.

Biologically, there are "male", "female", "both" and "neither". The occurrences of the latter two are very low in comparison but they do exist. To further complicate this, questions such as "is a female who is 'born' with no ovaries truly a biological female?". Best not to answer this one unless you want a very long discussion, but it's an example of how things are complicated.

Beyond the straight biology, for many thousands of years humans themselves have blurred the lines, starting with eunuchs and cross dressing and moving on to trans-sexuals in various applications and stages (surgical, hormonal, etc).

This is before the complication of sexual preference comes into play where the basics are accepted as male-female, male-male and female-female however these basics only take into account the two primary biological sexes. Expanding just the biological side and sticking to pairings there are ten distinct combinations. Add in those who are interested in more than just one partner type and it becomes quite a mess. Next include the non-naturally occurring "genders" and it's one hell of a matrix. Lastly, don't forget those who have no sexual desires at all and are happy that way therefore they shouldn't be identified as one of the others.

Even attempting to refactor the single label into a few becomes an exercise in pointlessness as no single label will fit all unless there are n! combinations. So in essence, it's a multiple choice list and not a single selector, after all your work colleague could be a heterosexual man during the week and a cross-dresser that is only interested in other cross-dressers at the weekend...

50+ doesn't seem too insane a number considering...

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TRT
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Re: WFT

I haven't even reached the gene pool yet. I couldn't decide which changing room to head for.

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Re: WFT

"...a good level of respect from Facebook."

??

Facebook is only respecting its ability to tag you with ever-more-focused labels for its own marketing benefit -- not yours or mine.

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Joke

Someone's been reading Gulliver

Bigender? I'm sorry, I was raised a Littleender, and will die a Littleender!

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Headmaster

ReferenceError: invalid assignment left-hand side

I see a problem on the left-hand side of the equals sign. The definition of the entity to which all of these politically correct attributes are being assigned should be "sex" rather than "gender". The former relates to the characteristics of the whole person, the latter pertains to the physical characteristics of objects. (At least this used to be the case, but since we all started giggling and writing "three times a night" when official forms asked us our sex, the two words have started to be used more interchangeably).

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Re: ReferenceError: invalid assignment left-hand side

Other way round:

Sex is the biological term for the physical attributes.

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"Changing gender is simple"

If only ...

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Anonymous Coward

"Changing gender is simple"

Changing gender is currently impossible, you can do the cosmetic alterations, and they are getting damned good at it but unfortunately they cannot change your biological gender, your internals will always be the gender your born with. Eventually organ printing will let us really do functional sex changes, but we're not quite there yet.

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What saddens me is not that facebook have done this - I applaud them for that, (it's about the only thing I do applaud them for admittedly) - but I just know what the reactions will be.

Technology and medicine have come a long way in the last 2000 years. It's a shame that culture and behaviour don't seem to have caught up.

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I'm all for not discriminating against people who like to say they are whatever gender they want but this seems like a little strange way to go about it. I'd have just replaced the dropdown with a tag based textbox so it covers all bases while still remaining elegant.

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I think it's fine. Clearly there's a significant amount of people who want to describe themselves a bit more than the standard blunt "male" or "female" choices so let them, it's their profile page.

It's also a bit like the "race" question you sometimes see on things such as job applications. I'm fine with the choices myself, but as the list is usually very short sometimes you do wonder how people can choose when they may not identify with the blunt choices they are presented on the form?

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Anonymous Coward

The race question...

I find that question itself racist and I NEVER answer it for me or my children.

Why do you need to know my race?

The ONLY person who needs that information is my Dr, because there are differences in genetics between the various breeds of humans...

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the amazing race

I think it's sometimes asked to make sure there is no discrimination or something like that.. not entirely sure on the details... like the details of how it helps determine that they aren't discriminating.. maybe its like - if I put out adds for a job-position, and then maybe I had a review bit of the application process (for next time or whatever) to see what genders/races replied to ensure that I had put out the adverticements in areas sure to reach a wide demographic.. to avoid situations where I would be left with applicants from only a certain subsection of genders/races/nationalities/all people from the same pub.

edit: spelling and clarity.

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@ Semaj

Let us not forget FB will USE the gender info. That is why there is no textbox.

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> The ONLY person who needs that information is my Dr,

Also dating sites. On a related note: I knew there were a lot of weeabos, but I didn't know there were enough to skew dating site statistics.

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Absolutely, they knew it would make a nice attention grabbing headline that blogs would all jump on.

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To make sure that you see advertising featuring characters matching your race. The industry doesn't like to admit it, but it's known to work. It's common in radio advertising to segregate by region just so you can always use a local accent.

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race: [x] human

Ditto about gender: if you ain't my doctor or bedroom activities partner it is not your concern. Period. However, having said that selecting 'male' for web- based stuff generally gets one shown somewhat less- insipid adverts (big dumb trucks and military recruiting -v- weight loss products and cosmetics). Curious to see what adverts come up with the different options, I see much facepalm in future.

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And even more ridiculous...

Hermaphrodite is not on the full list but Cisgender is.

I had to look up the designation Cis (as in cismale or cisfemale), and basically it breaks down to "individuals who have a match between the gender they were assigned at birth, their bodies, and their personal identity"

So using myself as an example: Born male, lives as a male, identify myself as a male

So that's male then.

Major kudos to the research psychologists who managed to get funding for this research!!

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Re: And even more ridiculous...

Initially I too found the term 'cis' a bit awkward, but I couldn't come up with a term I knew that didn't seem a bit pejorative in some contexts. So I think it's a good term to have around when one wants to be specific.

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