Facebook Unveils Wides Variety of Gender Options for Users

In mid-February, Facebook changed their gender options, adding over 50 different gender options to identify with. Since the start of the popular social media site a little over a decade ago, the options for gender were limited on the sex of the person being either male or female. While most of us tolerate these options, identifying our gender with the sex we were born with, there are many who identify with another gender.

Facebook previously had two options for gender: male and female. People, while being very different from one another, were all grouped together in a category that didn't truly define who they are. With the changes to Facebook, the options opened up for many that would eventually update their gender. From cis male or cis female, a term for those that are not transgender or do not have a gender diverse identity, to bigender, someone who identifies as a combination of both male and female, but not necessarily a full half-and-half split, people are now able to share their own identity more openly.

Reasons behind the change center the difference between sex and gender. Sex is based on things such as a person's biological makeup, their reproductive organs, hormones and anatomy. Gender, on the other hand, is a person's sense of who they are in terms of being a man, woman, or with aspects of both or neither. While the new gender options are vast, with some unknown to most, it is nearly impossible to cover every gender of every person. That being said, this is a great improvement for those whose gender isn't defined by their sex. This also shows that acceptance of varying genders is becoming more common, and that while there are people that will have their own personal problems about the subject, there are changes being made to move forward with gender equality. 

Already, controversy has arisen, however. Clayton Morris of "Fox and Friends" made a joke about changing his gender to intersex, someone whose chromosomes and anatomy are not necessarily the same as typical male or female bodies. While it was an offhand comment and he apologized for it afterwards, it does not excuse the fact that the comment was made while there are people who genuinely identify as such.

Even with some negative feedback and with many not even noticing the addition, to the handful that will be switching, this is a huge step towards a more gender equal world. With over a billion people on Facebook, it is estimated that thousands will be impacted in the change, finally being able to express who they are, feeling more accepted now having the option to clearly define their gender in the manner they want. It is still too early to tell the full effects that these gender options will have and how many actually have made the change to their profiles since it became available, but this shows that the world is a little less bigoted than some would like to think.