Sex is Not Gender
I hope they have "don't know" on the list. As for pronouns, there aren't enough to go around.
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 …
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.
"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.
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.
>>"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.
" 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.
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).
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.
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....
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 .
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.
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...
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).
"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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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!!
A lot of trans people find 'cis' awkward too.
The trouble is that, lacking a description like 'cisgender', the only other handy term would be 'normal'.
And trans people arent abnormal, we're just different...
As far as I've managed to glean so far, other trans people seem to feel (as I do) that Facebook have gone spectacularly over the top on this one. Most trans people either describe themselves in terms of the gender they identify as (regardless of physical sex), as transsexual, or transgender. 'Transgender' is the widely used generic term, although 'trans *' appears to be becoming popular. Which reflects how many of us are techie/geeky types, I guess.
But to the T in LGBT cis is used as perjorative. I have heard it used as a put down.
And never ever use any form of gender designation if talking to a T. Just avoid the issue if you do not want to be yelled at, borded to death, listen to cod psycology or have your eyes scratched out
Oh shit, I need to go HR and confess again.
The NHS Data Dictionary defines 2 sets ([gender at] Birth, [gender at] Registration) of four values (Unknown, Male, Female, Unspecified) leading to 16 combinations*. It looks like FB are extending this, although not in a formal way, to include 'current identification' which should lead to 64 combinations.
This seems overly complex to me: only medical records need to know what Gender you were born with, I can't see that FB needs anything more than your current self-identification; to me that seems to be a matter of M, F or Other (optional specification in text field). Maybe it's just the developer obsession with using drop-down lists, so you can select a pre-defined value. But I think it's quite likely that many people not wishing to chose M or F might want more freedom to describe their gender than a list gathered up by whichever developers have made a mini research project of it.
*Although, despite this all being known, some companies who shall remain nameless, think they can write medical software with straight M/F choice for a gender
> According to the list on the ABC news page, "male" and "female" seem to be missing
Apparently we're the "cis" options?
> Or maybe I'm in a minority nowadays
Have you read "The Forever War", by Joe Haldeman? I always felt that aspect of the novel was ridiculous. It seems I was wrong.
Honestly they could have kept everyone happy (except for the fuddy-duddies who bristle at the idea that there are more than two genders) with this list:
I've never met anyone who wouldn't be satisfied with one of those five, and I know a ton of people who'd fall into one of the last three. In fact most of the people I know who have equipment not matching their identity (again, a lot) would still choose one of the top two as they still want others to see them as male or female. There's no need to have 50 choices. This is politically correct nonsense taken to an extreme level.
Anon to avoid awkward questions from people in my life who don't know about other people in my life.
All they need to say is "How do you like to be referred to?" and give options of Him, Her, or It.
I know a few trans people, and all of them prefer the traditional "him" or "her". I'd like to hear from anyone who objects to both of those, and what word they would like instead.
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