Good news for the LGBTQ community! With the help of its Network of Support, everyone’s favourite marketing machine, Facebook, has now fully recognised the fact that we live in the 21st century. You’re no longer required to choose either ‘male’ or ‘female’, and you have the option to customize the gender section with over 56 different gender identities. However, if you’re considering an alternative to the default setting, a lot of the options listed might come out as confusing, so let’s take a look at some of them.
For those who aren’t keen on being constrained by any kind of gender, the category of agender or neutrois will fit you well. Next up, for those who can identify but have a hard time pinning it down, Facebook has tried to include all spectrums of uncertainty – from the gender questioning to the androgynous and the bigenders who feel they’ve got the best of both worlds.
Though why stop at just masculine and feminine? The genderqueer like the pangendered would strongly disagree with this binary tradition, as they describe themselves with all genders, while some gender fluid folk just don’t have it in them to stay in one spot. But wait, it doesn’t end there, just type in the word Trans (pick one with the asterisk) and you’ll find yourself safely tucked under an umbrella term that embraces all forms of gender nonconformity.
Although, intersex people know it’s not all about feeling it, as sometimes your own biological makeup doesn’t allow you to distinguish yourself between the two sexes. In cases like these, some decide to take matters into their own hands and, through the magic of surgery, transform themselves into trans men or trans women.
Despite all these colourful choices, you still might be struggling to find the group you belong to. Well, if you have a bit of Apache in your blood, maybe you’ve been looking to join the two-spirit people – a mystical group of highly esteemed transsexual Native Americans, who are said to embody the very essence of the two main genders.
Before you rush to ask your grandma if her father was dancing with the wolves, maybe you should sit down and consider the possibility that your sex matches your gender identity. Maybe you’re a woman who likes men after all, but you don’t see it as though this is the norm. Facebook has got you covered – you’re a cis, literally meaning ‘non-transsexual’, a term coined by German sexologist Volkmar Sigusch, which has come to challenge the notion that ‘male’ and ‘female’ are the standard.
This sort-of guide that might help you to venture into some of the more uncommon gender identities is certainly not exhaustive, as the sexuality and gender identity of people vary immensely across cultures and societies. What some of us might see as homosexual, others might perceive as being ‘two-spirited’. All of this goes to show just how intense the search for our own identities has become, and Facebook’s new policy seems to be but a symptom of this new mental revolution.