Thursday, April 24, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Facebook users, others react to gender options

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook announced Thursday that its 159 million U.S. users now have dozens of options for completing the gender question on their profiles. The social media giant has been working with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights groups to expand the choices beyond male and female. The result: a “custom” option that lets users pick from about 50 terms, including transsexual, androgynous and intersex.

The Associated Press asked Facebook users and others for their reactions:

Jay Brown, 35, of Maryland, changed his gender on Facebook to Trans Male on Thursday once the option became available.

“Looking at my Facebook profile, people see photos of my 3- and 5-year-olds, my love for running and that my wife had a birthday yesterday,” Brown told the AP. “They saw a dad, a runner, a husband. The ‘male’ selection was right but it wasn’t all there was to me. Today, Facebook is letting me bring more of my identity to the table.”

Jeff Johnston, issues analyst for Focus on the Family, an influential national religious organization based in Colorado Springs, Colo., said just because people lobbying for the change say there are an infinite number of options, that’s not true.

“Of course Facebook is entitled to manage its wildly popular site as it sees fit, but here is the bottom line: It’s impossible to deny the biological reality that humanity is divided into two halves – male and female,” Johnston told the AP.

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said the array of options represents an important cultural shift symbolizing the progress transgender rights activists have made in educating their fellow Americans.

“At a time in which transgender people still face high rates of bullying, disrespect, harassment, and violence, this welcome change is another step in the recognition of transgender and gender non-conforming people. As one of the most visited sites on the Internet, it’s a significant sign of progress to have the realities of transgender and gender non-conforming people reflected on the platform.

Chiyerre Echie and Jasmine Jefferson are both 18-year-old freshmen at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. Both are from Memphis and say they are occasional users of Facebook.

Interviewed at lunch on campus Thursday afternoon, they said they don’t know anyone who is transgender, but they approve of the additional options on Facebook.

“I think it’s progressive. It needed to happen since there are so many different options for people nowadays,” Jefferson said.

Echie said, “I agree, I guess, if it makes people happy to be able to come out in public and say, ‘This is who I am.’”

Shiv Pruthi is a 20-year-old junior at Loyola University in Chicago, says he’s been a regular user of Facebook since high school. Speaking from campus Thursday afternoon, Pruthi said he doesn’t know anyone who is transgender, but it wouldn’t stop him from accepting a Facebook request from someone who identified themselves as something other than male or female.

“I probably would be kind of shocked at first. But if they did choose (a different option to identify themselves by), I would support that. Good for them, not being afraid to put that on a public social interaction site,” Pruthi said.

Elizabeth Garcia, 48, of Miami, said that while she has friends who might want to use one of the new gender options, she wishes Facebook had left the choices at male and female.

“I think it’s too much,” Garcia said while walking with her daughter (who doesn’t mind the change). “It doesn’t bother me what people are or do, but they want to give too much information.”

Selecting the word “transgender” in a dropdown box isn’t quite so simple for some trans people, who may prefer to continue using the “male” or “female” designation, said Carrie Davis, 54, who works at The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in New York City.

“A transgender woman who is seen by the world as a woman isn’t going to want her primary identity to be ‘transgender woman,’” Davis said. “She’s probably going to want to be seen, most of the time, as a woman.”

Since the term transgender often implies some sort of medical intervention, some people may not want that information to be shared with their Facebook community, Davis said.

“I think the challenge here is that these words are loaded words,” said Davis, who lives in Brooklyn with her partner. “So they may be accurate for some people and not accurate for others.”

Mike Munoz, 27, of Boulder Creek, Calif., was reached after he posted a comment on the AP’s Facebook page. He said he thinks the feature “is a great one to offer” but lamented that people feel the need to label themselves at all.

“Purely by categorizing yourself with these gender labels you are restricting yourself from personal growth, you paint yourself into corner so to speak. The amount of options does seem a little overkill, but it’s understandable as you wouldn’t want to leave any group or individual out. I am grateful Facebook has implemented these changes and hope they’re beneficial to those who will be using them; who knows, maybe I’ll switch to something more appropriate to my liking.”

Rachel Kinsey, 25, a nursing student at the University of Texas at El Paso, said she was less likely to accept people as Facebook friends if she saw they identified with a gender other than male or female.

“I have more conservative views. I don’t think people need more than male or female. It doesn’t bother me because things have changed … if that*s what makes them happy,” Kinsey said.

Tajei Harper, 20, another University of Texas student, had no problem with the change but found the sheer number of options eye-opening.

“They said 50? I can’t think of 50!” Harper said. “But it’s all the same to me, if it makes people happy.”

Dr. Scout, 48, directs an advocacy program called The Network for LGBT Health Equity and raced to change his Facebook profile on Thursday from male to the option of “trans” with an asterisk after it. He said the change sends a powerful message to young gender-nonconforming people.

“For many of us, when we see bathrooms, forms, or Facebook profiles, not seeing any option for us just reinforces this “other” status. This consistent reinforcement of how “other” you are is a very real burden on our sense of self and on our health. My strongest praise to Facebook for realizing not everyone fits into two boxes, and realizing everyone should be able to fit somewhere,” he said.

Laurel Ramseyer, 50, of Massachusetts, said she kept her gender blank because the Facebook options did not include her preferred term: human.

“Having the first decision point as a choice between male, female and what is essentially ‘other’ is still stigmatizing,” Ramseyer said in an email. “You could place male and female at the top of an otherwise alphabetical master list if you want to appease the majority who may be offended to be forced to pick their way through a list like we ‘custom’ folk are forced to do. It’s probably too late now, but it shouldn’t be called ‘custom’ if the user can’t create their own term. It’s simply an elongated list that someone(s) else came up with.”

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
Congressman talks Travis, water

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

Travis lines up 2 days of aviation excellence

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Appreciate how good we have it now

By Angela Borchert | From Page: A2

Garamendi talks love, pro football and Peace Corps

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Author to sign books at Vacaville Museum

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Kroc Center women schedule inaugural Taster Tea

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
 
Dixon May Fair has deals on advance tickets

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Juneteenth committee extends vendors, exhibitors deadline

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

Congressional Art Competition is back

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Spilled tomato juice case set for trial

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

 
Theme park welcomes seal pup

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A4

 
Docents to lead paddling tour in marsh

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A4

 
Weather for Thursday, April 24, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B12

 
Fairfield police log: April 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: April 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: April 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: April 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Syrian activists accuse Assad of new gas attacks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Murder charge for Vallejo man in head-on crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

California bill reignites affirmative action fight

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Andy Lopez protest leads to school campus lockdown

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

Navy Cross bestowed on heroic Marine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Airport official: Teen had no clue he was in Maui

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

First lady announces one-stop job site for vets

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
Rail safety effort marred by squabbling

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Small Wyoming town evacuated after gas explosion

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Bashtag: NYPD Twitter campaign backfires

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Soldier convicted in WikiLeaks case gets new name

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
US weighs clemency for inmates jailed for 10 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Gun carry rights expanded in Ga. under new law

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 3 Comments

 
Palestinian rivals to try again for unity deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Camilla’s brother dies in US after head injury

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Lawyer: US man held in Cuba seeks to go home soon

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Captain who left doomed ferry had 40 years at sea

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Russian social media CEO quits, flees country

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Amid Russia warning, Ukraine is in a security bind

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

 
State senators get ethics training after scandals

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 4 Comments

.

Opinion

Be the first and give specifics

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

 
What we can do about crime

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A11, 7 Comments

Castro at odds with mentor on deportations

By Ruben Navarrette | From Page: A11

 
Some Earth Day boos and cheers

By Jay Ambrose | From Page: A11

Question of the week: Will Flight 370 be found?

By Daily Republic | From Page: A11

 
.

Living

Today in History for April 24, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: April 24, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

When Joe’s mad at me, he also ignores my 7-year-old son

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscopes for April 24, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Singer Chris Brown’s DC trial delayed for months

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Performing dogs go big after $1 million TV prize

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Amazon snares classic shows in deal with HBO

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Jodie Foster weds artist Alexandra Hedison

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
.

Sports

Girls soccer update: Armijo, Vanden on way to playoffs

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Mustangs swim to sweep of Indians

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Warriors, Clippers to meet in Oakland for Game 3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Sharks confident with chance to sweep LA Kings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Prep softball: Vanden rolls to 14-0 win over Fairfield

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Prep badminton: Unbeaten Mustangs cruise past Crushers

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

Prep boys golf: Vikings suffer SCAC loss to Panthers

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Sanchez’s slam in 11th helps Giants beat Rox 12-10

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Prep track: Armijo girls get win in MEL 4-way meet

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Perez helps Rangers sweep A’s with 3-0 win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Party a century in the making for Wrigley Field

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
A’s reject 10-year Coliseum lease offer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Seahawks to open NFL season vs. Packers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Emmert supports more efficient, effective NCAA

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Phelps having fun in his return to swimming

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Suns’ Dragic honored as NBA’s Most Improved Player

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Oldest living ex-MLB player dies in Cuba at 102

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

 
.

Business

Wellness programs grow more popular with employers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Buffett disapproves of Coca-Cola’s pay plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Amazon snares classic shows in deal with HBO

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
US stocks edge lower after a six-day rise

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Facebook 1Q results soar; CFO to step down

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6, 1 Comment

Sales of new US homes plunge 14.5 percent in March

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Obituaries

Phyllis J. Miller

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Jean Sophia Ruckdeshel

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Robert James Carty Sr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Dondi Martin

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard Of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9