Zuckerberg AP

There comes a point in time when the quest for tolerance warps a person’s mind. Facebook may have reached that point.

The Associated Press reports:

MENLO PARK, Calif. — You don’t have to be just male or female on Facebook anymore. The social media giant has added a customizable option with about 50 different terms people can use to identify their gender as well as three preferred pronoun choices: him, her or them.

Facebook said the changes, shared with The Associated Press before the launch on Thursday, initially cover the company’s 159 million monthly users in the U.S. and are aimed at giving people more choices in how they describe themselves, such as androgynous, bi-gender, intersex, gender fluid or transsexual.

While I have no idea what it feels like to be a transsexual, and I’m happy if it means “the world” to someone to have the ability to select that as their Facebook gender, it also seems to be tolerance overkill to include 50 custom genders. Why stop there? If there are 50 genders that mean the world to Facebook users, there must be more out there. Like Indiana Jones, we must press forward into the unknown.

If you’re going to use “two-spirit,” “pan gender,” “genderqueer,” “gender variant,” “gender fluid,” “neutrois” and dozens of other genders, at what does it just make sense to allow users to just fill in whatever the heck they want? When Facebook becomes Genderbook, it begs the question: Is it possible to jump the shark on tolerance?

At some point in time, will activist groups seek to allow individuals to put “neutrois” on their driver’s license? Will workplace environments have to keep track of the number of new “gender fluid” hires for professional bean counters? There are legitimate chromosomal issues that people have that would warrant an expansion of Facebook genders — and it is important to be sympathetic to their problems — but as a society it appears that we have turned into the equivalent of the doting mother who won’t let her children leave the house out of the fear that something bad will happen to them or someone will hurt their feelings.

When things get too convoluted on most forms there is an “other” category. ‘Other’ is generally an innocuous term that encapsulates the multitude of answers someone could give if they were left to their own devices. If I was a Facebook engineer I would have gone with “male,” “female,” and “other,” … which is probably reason 5,471 why I’m not a Facebook engineer. Regardless, I’d like to know what you think. Did Facebook jump the tolerance shark or am I just gender rigid?

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

11 comments

  1. I find it I incredibly hard to believe that Person is Person didn’t know he was banned and hasn’t read the comments since it happened. Because I’m in a “tolerant” mood I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. I won’t double the ban this time — but — Person is Person (aka: Emmanuel) still needs one month to think about his behavior. You are banned until March 14.

    Let me repeat that just to be clear: You are banned until March 14.

    1. His second comment has been deleted, Carl.

      Let’s see if he understands this: Your ban will currently end April 14. If you comment again — just like Lizard19’s ban — I will double it. The next time will be four months. I suggest using those two months to do some serious reflection.

      If you continue down the Lizard19 path I will just adjust my WordPress settings to place anything you post into the spam folder. From that point on I can’t guarantee that I will remember to change it back in a timely manner.

  2. If you’re going to use “two-spirit,” “pan gender,” “genderqueer,” “gender variant,” “gender fluid,” “neutrois”

    I can sorta figure out what three of those mean, but WTF are those others? “Neutrois??” Huh?? “Pan gender??”

    Ye gad …

    1. I was messing around with my Facebook settings to look at all of them and it’s just…way too much. Like I said, if you’re going to split off 50 different genders you might as well let individuals just put whatever the heck they want.

    2. I begrudgingly give Facebook credit for finding 50 ways to describe one’s gender….I’m with Hube on this one; WTF?!?

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