The 58 Genders Of Facebook

CustomGendersFirstTwo650Last week, Facebook announced that its users would be able to pick genders from a custom list, instead of choosing either “male” or “female,” like they did before.

A list of genders has the potential to be problematic, considering how complicated gender identity can be, but Facebook has certainly done all that it can to be inclusive. In addition to the original two gender options, Facebook users now have the choice of another 56:

  1. Agender
  2. Androgyne
  3. Androgynous
  4. Bigender
  5. Cis
  6. Cisgender
  7. Cis Female
  8. Cis Male
  9. Cis Man
  10. Cis Woman
  11. Cisgender Female
  12. Cisgender Male
  13. Cisgender Man
  14. Cisgender Woman
  15. Female to Male
  16. FTM
  17. Gender Fluid
  18. Gender Nonconforming
  19. Gender Questioning
  20. Gender Variant
  21. Genderqueer
  22. Intersex
  23. Male to Female
  24. MTF
  25. Neither
  26. Neutrois
  27. Non-Binary
  28. Other
  29. Pangender
  30. Trans
  31. Trans*
  32. Trans Female
  33. Trans* Female
  34. Trans Male
  35. Trans* Male
  36. Trans Man
  37. Trans* Man
  38. Trans Person
  39. Trans* Person
  40. Trans Woman
  41. Trans* Woman
  42. Transfeminine
  43. Transgender
  44. Transgender Female
  45. Transgender Male
  46. Transgender Man
  47. Transgender Person
  48. Transgender Woman
  49. Transmasculine
  50. Transsexual
  51. Transsexual Female
  52. Transsexual Male
  53. Transsexual Man
  54. Transsexual Person
  55. Transsexual Woman
  56. Two-Spirit

With the list being so long, it seems strange that Facebook didn’t just give users the opportunity to type in their genders themselves. In some ways, this would seem much more sensible — if the “custom” option was completely custom, the social network could never be accused of neglecting or excluding anybody.

But that would also open the gender field up for abuse, with users typing offensive or transphobic comments in the box. It would be naive to assume that wouldn’t happen — because, inevitably, it would.

It seems that the decision to use a list was a wise one, and by enlisting the help of various LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) organizations to build it, Facebook did as much as possible to make this work.

There’s also the option to choose which pronoun, out of “he,” “she,” and “their” users would prefer to be referred to as on the site.

What really remains to be seen, though, is how this will affect Facebook targeted ads. Are users identifying  themselves as one of the custom genders now free from gender-specific advertisements, and, if so, what will they have to deal with instead?

Readers: Let us know what you think!

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