Facebook says, happy and gay, the way you want to stay!
While constitutions around the globe are still pondering over gender issues, cyber king ‘Facebook’ has already declared its verdict; not just one, two or three, they have come out with more than four dozen ways for any individual to publish their gender identities.
This Feburary the 13th, Facebook unveiled new gender option for its profile, as requested by many transgender users. The social media giant has added a customizable option of about 50 different terms people can use to identify their gender, as well as three preferred pronoun choices: him, her or them.
Facebook said the changes, as shared in the Associated Press before the launch , initially cover the company’s 159 million monthly users in the US and are aimed at giving people more choices in how they describe themselves, such as androgynous, bi-gender, intersex, gender fluid or transsexual.
“There are going to be a lot of people for whom this is going to mean nothing, but for the few it does have an impact, it means the world to them,” said Facebook software engineer Brielle Harrison in The Associate Press, who worked on the project and is herself undergoing gender transformation, from male to female. On Thursday, while checking the software for any problems, she said she was also changing her Facebook identity from Female to TransWoman.
The change to the gender selection is a big step for people who don’t recognize themselves as either male or female. There are people who are completely criticizing this step of facebook and who only recognizes two genders.
Ansh Bakshi, a student in DU who is openly gay, says: ” I’m delighted that facebook is in support of LGBT. After Supreme Court has criminalized gay marriage in india, facebook has taken this big step. We are no aliens, we have our own identity and I am happy to change my gender on facebook as gay. “
“Facebook is a social networking site where people like to connect with others. It is better to be aware of the personal preferences of people wanting to make friends. If I do not subscribe one or the other I will not entertain such a request. So in some way it may not be a bad idea. How you look at it. Also you can’t have Facebook catering to Indians.”, says DU history professor, S.K Srivastava.
” There is nothing wrong with FB extending the gender identity beyond simple male/female. It now depends on the person concerned whether to what extent he/she reveals their identity. It also helps people in the social media to interact with these communities more discreetly.” says Sunil Kumar Jha, professor(phonetics and business communication), BLS institute of management.
The official diversity page of facebook made the following 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.”
Kudos to technology, once again