Facebook’s attitude to gender and sex is a little mystifying.
You can go to your profile and change your sex by clicking “Update Info”. But once you’re there, there’s nothing about gender or even non-binary sex. Not only does that totally mess with people whose gender and sex don’t match, it rules out anyone with non-binary gender who can overlook the gender vs. sex conundrum.
You can check a box that lets you hide your gender on your profile, but FB continues to use gendered pronouns throughout the site as long as you have a sex selected. (Correct me if I’m wrong, there?)
And while many people have blogged about how to “deselect” sex in the profile to make FB use singular “they”, that’s not really good enough for those of us who want to specify our gender as queer or nonbinary. We have to be binary or in the closet.
This is not okay.
And there’s no reason for FB to not implement this, since singular “they” can be used by default for anyone who’s not got a binary sex/gender listed.
It’s worth adding that DeviantArt have got an “other” option for sex/gender.
I’m pretty sure that all of this is because FB is an advertisement machine and we’re the fuel; I’ve been told before by other survey providers that anything that’s not male or female is unknown, and advertisers don’t know what to do with the information, so they just don’t give it as an option.
Anyway, to get to the action bit.
Things you can do:
I cannot find anything anywhere about complaints or actual postal addresses. What the hell.
Anyway, here’s what I’m writing. I’m using the violation of rights form to see what happens. There’s a bit that says: “Please identify the content on Facebook that you allege is violating or infringing your rights.” That’s for Facebook URLs only, so scroll down a little way to “Provide information sufficient for us to locate the content on Facebook (1,000 character limit)”
It’s on every Update Info form for every profile/timeline. Sex is a biological thing, and gender is a social thing. Your profile form asks for sex, but someone can be biologically female and present as male and be known by friends and family as male, for example. So the form label “sex” should be changed to “gender.” And next is that not everyone’s sex *or* gender is binary, ie: male/female; sometimes people are intersex or genderqueer/nonbinary. Your website lets someone select male, female, or neither. This means that genderqueer and intersex people have to pick an inaccurate gender or stay “in the closet.” The solution is to provide the third gender option of “other” (as DeviantArt have), or “nonbinary”, and have pronouns for these choices on the rest of the site default to singular “they” as happens when no sex is selected. It’s important to include your gender minorities, no? I want to know what you think. Thank you.
Another question further down says, “How does the content violate or infringe your rights?” I’ve said:
It is someone’s right to be recognised for their gender. Your website allows only sex, and has only two options.
I then got a message saying “Thanks for contacting Facebook.” It said they’d get back to me. I will let you know what happens.
Blog your messages and where you send them. Blog the responses you get. I will reblog them here if you tag them with mxactivist.
If you think Facebook should allow more than two genders, do this stuff here. :)