On Feb. 13, Facebook added an additional 50 options for selecting gender on their website.
Since its conception, Facebook has allowed users to select one of two genders when creating their profile: male or female. In addition, Facebook only allowed users to use the pronouns him or her.
The change that Facebook made now allows users to choose from a much larger pool of options. These options include bigender, transexual, gender fluid, and many more.
Users can also choose to use ambiguous pronouns such as them and their.
Brielle Harrison, a member of the Facebook team, was in charge of the project.
“There’s going to be a lot of people for whom this is going to mean nothing, but for the few it does impact, it means the world,” Harrison said in an Associated Press article.
Alyssa Oltmanns, the Gender and Sexuality Outreach Coordinator at UWSP, is very supportive of the change.
“For those who proudly claim a gender identity other than male or female, they are not made invisible any longer. It’s a step in equality to recognize that gender goes beyond just male or female,” Oltmanns said.
This change has the potential to greatly impact the life of students. College students are amongst one of the biggest demographics of Facebook users, and having on campus organizations such as the one Oltmanns works for, means that there are students at UWSP that this impacts directly.
“I think Facebook, a medium that most of America uses to communicate, a website most of us log onto daily, is taking a huge stance towards equality, and challenging others to follow. Now it’s up to others to catch up,” Oltmanns said.
This stance has the potential to affect the lives of a very large group of people. Facebook has acknowledged these groups and taken the time to provide something not available in other social media.