Online dating sites are an excellent place to hook up with someone, but if you don’t have a traditional sexual identity or gender, it can be hard to find the match-ups you’re seeking. So, Facebook rolled out new custom gender options earlier this year, and now, OKCupid seems to be getting in on the act.
Male and female are notions that often begin before birth when you discover the sex of your baby, and societies around the world tend to have specific roles for each that children are expected to grow into.
This definition of gender, however, is not as concrete as one’s physical sex, and social media giants are cluing into the reality that their users may not be “men” or “women.” Earlier in 2014, Facebook added a third option for custom gender for its users, and now, some OKCupid users have noted that new options are rolling out there as well.
If you identify as a man or a woman, you’re covered. And if you don’t, you’re covered too. As Jamie, a trans man who has been irritated at the limitations on dating sites, tells me, “I identify as a man, but that’s definitely not the whole story. Hearing that someday I will be able to tick off a checkbox identifying me as a trans man, while sounding like a simple thing, is much more meaningful than I thought it would be.”
According to NewNowNext, some users were greeted with the following message: “You’re part of a select group with access to this feature. Keep in mind as we continue to work on this feature: For now, editing your gender and orientation is only supported on the desktop site.”
While it’s still in limited rollout, it’s refreshing that this is a thing. Offering more options is essential so that more people feel included and represented. The more we learn about non-binary gender identification and non-traditional sexual identities, the more important it is to offer more checkboxes like these on dating and social media sites.
What are the new options? NewNowNext also provided screenshots, which indicate that in addition to straight, gay, lesbian and bisexual, OKCupid users will be able to select asexual, demisexual, heteroflexible, homoflexible, pansexual, queer, questioning and sapiosexual. And the new gender options are amazingly diverse and detailed, from the traditional man and woman to androgynous, intersex, trans man, genderqueer and agender, among many, many others.
Some, who don’t understand that gender is not necessarily a rock-solid identifier set at birth, think that these options are wrong, or even worse, immoral. The thing is, writing more inclusive options into a dating site like OKCupid benefits many and hurts nobody. It gives me hope that the more internet sites that utilize accepting language, the more accepting we will be as a society.