Facebook now offers over 50 genders to choose from in your profile

In a nod to “diversity,” Facebook is now offering users some 50+ different genders to choose from, beyond male and female.

50+ different genders – I counted 54 – are probably going to come as a bit of a surprise to most Americans.  The whole list, as best as I could piece it together, is below.

What’s even more surprising is that even among the obvious non-obvious genders, such as trans people labeling those who aren’t trans “cis” or “cisgender” (a term many gay people find offensive), even amongst those who use that term, there seems to be some discord, necessitating both options “cis” and “cisgender,” which would appear to be the same thing.

Other options were a bit confusing, such as the difference between:

Trans Female
Trans Woman
Trans* Female
Trans* Woman

You might also think that “MTF” and “Male to Female” were the same thing, and would be the same as the four options above. Yet both options, “MTF” and “Male to Female,” are included.

It gets even more complicated.  Not only do the trans variants come with and without an asterisk, there is also the option between using the word “trans” or “transgender” for each variant.  So you end up with at least this many options for defining a trans person’s gender:

Trans
Trans Female
Trans Male
Trans Man
Trans Person
Trans Woman
Trans*
Trans* Female
Trans* Male
Trans* Man
Trans* Person
Trans* Woman
Transgender Female
Transgender Person
Transmasculine
Transsexual
Transsexual Female
Transsexual Male
Transsexual Man
Transsexual Person
Transsexual Woman
Male to Female
MTF
Female to Male
FTM

I found an explanation for the trans-asterisk (“trans*), though it didn’t totally clarify things:

Trans* is an umbrella term that refers to all of the identities within the gender identity spectrum.  There’s a ton of diversity there, but we often group them all together (e.g., when we say “trans* issues).  Trans (without the asterisk) is best applied to trans men and trans women, while the asterisk makes special note in an effort to include all non-cisgender gender identities, including transgender, transsexual, transvestite, genderqueer, genderfluid, non-binary, genderfuck, genderless, agender, non-gendered, third gender, two-spirit, bigender, and trans man and trans woman.

I looked up “neutrois” as well:

Neutrois is a non-binary gender identity that falls under the genderqueer or transgender umbrellas.

Definitions
There is no one definition of Neutrois, since each person that self-identifies as such experiences their gender differently. The most common ones are:

Neutral-gender
Null-gender
Neither male nor female
Genderless
Agender

And I still don’t understand the difference between a trans man, a trans* man, a trans male, a trans* male, a FTM, and a Female to Male.  And shouldn’t there be categories for FTM* and “Female to Male”*?

Then there are the options that were entirely new to me:

Agender
Androgyne
Bigender
Gender Fluid
Gender Nonconforming
Gender Variant
Genderqueer
Neutrois
Pangender
Transfeminine
Transmasculine

Part of what also gets confusing is that I thought the “gender” of a trans person was male or female (or intersex), and that the only confusion of late was which gender a trans person was as birth (though recently I learned that some don’t think they’re born either gender). I had no idea there were 22 variants (that I could find) of being trans.

I’m not sure people are going to accept that there are 54 genders.  And while it’s fine to say “this is simply letting people define themselves,” I suspect there will be some annoyance with anyone who thinks otherwise.

Facebook is already being criticized for not being inclusive enough:

by-default-2014-02-13-at-10.29.08-PM

Here’s the full list (though there may be more – Facebook doesn’t list them all):

Agender
Androgyne
Androgynous
Bigender
Cis
Cis Female
Cis Male
Cis Man
Cis Woman
Cisgender
Cisgender Female
Cisgender Male
Cisgender Man
Cisgender Woman
Female
Female to Male
FTM
Gender Fluid
Gender Nonconforming
Gender Questioning
Gender Variant
Genderqueer
Intersex
Male
Male to Female
MTF
Neither
Neutrois
Non-binary
Other
Pangender
Trans
Trans Female
Trans Male
Trans Man
Trans Person
Trans Woman
Trans*
Trans* Female
Trans* Male
Trans* Man
Trans* Person
Trans* Woman
Transgender Female
Transgender Person
Transfeminine
Transmasculine
Transsexual
Transsexual Female
Transsexual Male
Transsexual Man
Transsexual Person
Transsexual Woman
Two-spirit

Here are some examples from Facebook’s drop down list:

Screen shot 2014-02-13 at 1.50.14 PM Screen shot 2014-02-13 at 1.50.33 PM Screen shot 2014-02-13 at 1.50.48 PM Screen shot 2014-02-13 at 1.51.03 PM Screen shot 2014-02-13 at 1.51.18 PM Screen shot 2014-02-13 at 1.51.30 PM Screen shot 2014-02-13 at 1.51.41 PM Screen shot 2014-02-13 at 1.51.56 PM Screen shot 2014-02-13 at 1.52.13 PM

Screen shot 2014-02-13 at 1.54.01 PM Screen shot 2014-02-13 at 1.52.31 PM Screen shot 2014-02-13 at 1.52.43 PM Screen shot 2014-02-13 at 1.52.57 PM Screen shot 2014-02-13 at 1.53.08 PM Screen shot 2014-02-13 at 1.53.19 PM Screen shot 2014-02-13 at 1.53.31 PM Screen shot 2014-02-13 at 1.53.41 PM
Screen shot 2014-02-13 at 1.54.10 PM Screen shot 2014-02-13 at 1.54.21 PM Screen shot 2014-02-13 at 1.54.30 PM Screen shot 2014-02-13 at 1.54.41 PM Screen shot 2014-02-13 at 1.54.50 PM Screen shot 2014-02-13 at 1.54.58 PM


(I’m told that in order to better see my Facebook posts in your feed, you need to “follow” me.)


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

Share This Post

  • charlie-imac

    Most of the straight people still think being gay is a choice how does help homosexuals? You know gay men and lesbians?

  • kandy830

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  • Hue-Man

    After seeing some of the extreme far-right hate-filled commentary – usual suspects – I wanted to come back with some comments.
    1. The FB descriptor is both for the individual and for the people who might visit that person’s Facebook page. MTF may be understood by the indvidual but might be interpreted as days of the week by someone else. More choices are better than no choices and I would imagine FB got input from individuals and organizations when they developed the list.
    2. The German birth certificate story was included in a Deutsche Welle Spectrum piece which mentioned that there are something like 40 different medical conditions that give rise to a child being born intersexed. The prevalence of these conditions is surprisingly high; the first on the list is “Not XX and not XY” at 1 in 1,666 births. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersex (One of the people interviewed believes that “they” are the result of a mixture of a male and a female twin in the womb as “they” are both XX and XY.)

    3. Many of these people have suffered horribly either physically by well-intentioned surgeons or mentally from being “different”. These outrageous insults from what is normally the Leave-Business-Alone crowd telling FB what it should be doing are particularly galling.

  • Hue-Man

    Germany’s laws were amended last year to allow a third gender on birth certificates. Advocate explains why this might not be a good idea and also explores the Australian approach. An example “…marriage rights are also now denied to intersex people, as only males and females can legally marry…” http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2013/11/06/op-ed-germany%E2%80%99s-third-gender-law-fails-equality

    And to make school family tree projects nearly impossible for some kids, British Columbia’s Family Law has been amended to allow three or more parents on a newborn’s birth certificate. “The act allow [sic] donors to be listed as additional parents, if the parents sign a written agreement before conception.” http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/della-wolf-is-b-c-s-1st-child-with-3-parents-on-birth-certificate-1.2526584 The new forms provide for up to 4 parents to be named. (“That’s my Dad3′s ex-sister-in-law.” translation: “My married Dads arranged for a sperm donor (Dad3) and a surrogate mother. Dad3′s sister divorced her wife.”)

  • 2karmanot

    Exactly, Facebook is solely interested in transcontinental $$$$$$$$. Let’s simplify: GLBT$

  • 2karmanot

    Is a trans nun, nothing?

  • The_Fixer

    This is good to hear. Took ‘em long enough, but better late than never.

    Still doesn’t make me want to join, though.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    That is exactly it. There’s nothing more to it. Facebook as a company serves no other purpose than to figure out new ways to serve advertising to its users. That is their entire business model.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Facebook did remove the two profiles either late Wednesday or yesterday.

  • The_Fixer

    Well, that’s all very fine and good. I applaud the change, although perljammer’s observation below is particularly apt.

    The lack of gender options is not keeping me off of Facebook, however. There are a few reasons; I don’t have the time for fake friends, and I don’t have the time to contribute to a corporation that is extremely nosy and serves ads (while artificially enriching some people). Add to that, their trickery regarding constantly changing privacy settings and defaults that give the world access to stuff that is private. The company has the air of being a nest of conniving jerks, always trying to trick their users into sharing more than they intend.

    Now can we talk about the Russians who have been using Facebook to connect with their fellow conspirators? Are their profiles gone, are they banned? Being all-gender inclusive doesn’t make me smile much when there are hate groups using the service who would horrifically abuse anyone who doesn’t identify as “straight male” or “straight female”

  • nicho

    Bingo. No more calls, please. We have a winner.

  • nicho

    And exactly what do you have against us airplanes? Are you an aerophobe?

  • perljammer

    Seeing as how this is Facebook we’re talking about, the idea is most likely about how to aim specific advertising at people who self-identify in particular ways. Anyone who interprets this as Facebook caring enough to treat everyone as a special snowflake, is kidding themselves.

  • Guest

    These terms don’t all signify different things (MTF versus Male To Female), but that’s not the point. The idea is to give people the option of expressing their gender in the way that they prefer without making the field an entirely open text box where someone could enter things like “airplane” or “nun.”

  • perljammer

    What does “neither” mean when there are 48 other choices? Maybe “none of the above” would be a better fit. As far as the entire list is concerned … is Facebook being inclusive or sarcastic?

  • http://buddybest.tripod.com/index.html BuddyNovinski

    Put me down as virgin male with no gender confusion!

  • Indigo

    “Neutrois” as in -oy or -trwa?

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