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, genderf*ck, 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


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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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