Disalienation: Why Gender is a Text Field on Diaspora

A few months ago, I started contributing to the Diaspora project. I began by refactoring their test suite and setting up a continuous integration server. Then I installed Jasmine and started mucking around with the JavaScript. That was all pretty straightforward.

A few weeks ago I made a slightly more controversial change.

The “gender” field in a person’s profile was originally a dropdown menu, with three choices: blank, male, and female. My change made it an optional text field that was blank to start. A wide open frontier! Enter anything you want.

For a while, only a few people noticed.

Screenshot of a github commit comment

But now that Diaspora is in private alpha, more people have started noticing – on twitter, in the bug tracker, and in GetSatisfaction, among other places. Some folks have asked why it’s not a dropdown with two options like everywhere else. So here’s why.

…what else is there?

Four years ago, at my first rails job, I worked at a company with a mostly-lesbian customer base. It turns out, in that context, knowing if someone is “male” or “female” gives you almost no useful information. The lesbian community has other widely-accepted categories of gender, but the company’s internal order tracking software — a well-known package from a national vendor — offered only male or female.

As a result, the company didn’t even bother to ask for gender when users created accounts.

That was my first real-life experience with the limitations of the gender binary. It was certainly interesting, but it was essentially academic. Not long after I left that job, though, one of my closest family members told me that he’s transgender. That made the whole subject way more immediate.

Now it’s personal

So in the last few years I’ve tried really hard to understand what being transgender means. I’ve done a lot of reading and talking and thinking about how we construct a gender identity, and how we perceive others’ gender. I’m certainly no expert, having not lived it myself. But I have discovered that my own gender identity is a bit more fluid than I thought. And perhaps most importantly, I’ve gotten comfortable with the idea of gender as an n-dimensional space, with two big clusters and a hell of a lot of outliers.

Then I met Sarah Dopp at She’s Geeky, and we talked about dropdown menus, and it all fell into place.


I made this change to Diaspora so that I won’t alienate anyone I love before they finish signing up.

I made this change because gender is a beautiful and multifaceted thing that can’t be contained by a list.

I know a lot of people aren’t there with me yet. So I also made this change to give them one momentary chance to consider other possibilities.

I made it to start a conversation.

I made it because I can.

And, of course, I made it so you can be a smartass.

a selection of the gender self-descriptions of my contacts on diaspora

a selection of the gender self-descriptions of my contacts on diaspora

Go out and have fun with it.

Diaspora is an open-source social network that puts you in control of your information. As of today, November 27th, we’ve been live less than a week. Here’s a quick overview of the project, and if you want more news, our blog. Thanks for visiting!

349 comments to Disalienation: Why Gender is a Text Field on Diaspora

  • Hi. Glad to see this. You might be interested to check this discussion http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-contacts-coord/2010JulSep/0010.html … where I’m arguing that the vCard specs should also allow free values for gender. The FOAF vocabulary already does this, as do Microformats.

    What we said in FOAF is that there are two well-known values, ‘male’, ‘female’, plus whatever else people use. This means that localization UI would do best to translate those values, but nothing is fixed.

  • […] as no-one in the group complains, I will use a text field for gender. This is largely because of an article I read from the developers of Diaspora. For the sake of convenience I have made it so that the […]

  • […] person who turned gender into a text field, Sarah Mei, explained why she did so in response to a growing number of people who noticed the […]

  • […] Alpha gibt es dafür jetzt ein Freitextfeld, in dem Nutzer alles eintragen können, was sie wollen. Den Grund dafür erklärt die Ruby Entwicklerin Sarah Mei in einem Blogpost. Sie habe in einem früheren Job Erfahrungen gesammelt, die eine Einteilung nur in männlich oder […]

  • Sheila

    The auto-suggestion-complete tag mentioned above is a cool idea.

    I’m still wondering why gender is even included. I liked, was it, blogger, before it got bought by google. They had a random question you could generate when you edited your profile. I got ‘Why do moths miss the forest?’ then I could answer anything. I said, ‘because of all the trees.’

  • Christina

    This is such a brave, beautiful, and forward-thinking thing to do! Thank you so much for taking the initiative on this despite all the grumpy people complaining about how much harder searching will be.


  • Well done! And thank-you. I have written about (slagged off) lots of sites for being restrictive with their gender options here. Pownce used a good humorous model but like you I always think a text box is best.

  • Jeremy

    I understand, respect, and applaud the desire to be fair to people of all sexual orientations and personal leanings, but this seems like a misguided attempt to win the “I’m more politically correct than you are” game.

    Gender is not a personality trait, it’s a physical descriptor. You are either male or female (or I suppose in very rare cases both), and there is no other option, at least not for humans.

    If you want to add another field to our lives for a personality based descriptor then go for it, but this makes no sense at all.

  • @Jeremy:

    sex = physical descriptor (and there are more than two – see earlier comments for some good medical references)
    gender = external presentation (correlates with sex in about 80-85% of the population, depending on who’s counting)

    Diaspora is specifically asking for gender, not sex.

  • The moment I saw this gender text field thing, I immediately thought: “a-ha, this was done by someone who personally knows someone who is not corresponding with the population average” (the short word is “queer” but we don’t want to say that, do we?).

    While I personally know lesbian persons (my church even married them, we are that progressive!), it would occur to neither them nor me to call them anything other than female/female (I am that backward). And I really do not want the computer, for lack of alternatives, to address me as “it”.

    Which didn’t stop me from entering “furry creature from Alpha Centauri” in the field.

  • @Thomas:

    Let’s not confuse “what I want the computer to call me” with “gender.” They are very different. The former is a language setting; the latter is a social construct. The two fields correlate for the majority of the population, but for a significant minority, they do not. This change simply removes the assumption that one implies the other.

  • Cow

    Thank you very much! It has long bothered me that gender is a dropdown on most sites. (Sites that offer three choices actually annoy me more than sites that offer two — like, ‘male,’ ‘female,’ and ‘trans,’ because it shows that they almost kinda get it but didn’t think through that they forcibly Other everyone who doesn’t fit in the first two.)

    This makes me want to play with this project all the more. I guess it’s time I did so.

  • Metafilter has had a free-text gender field for 10 years. Cortex did a histogram of what had been entered there:


  • Jeremy

    2.a : sex
    b : the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with one sex

    2 sex: ex.: the feminine gender.

    (n) sex, gender, sexuality (the properties that distinguish organisms on the basis of their reproductive roles) “she didn’t want to know the sex of the foetus”

    Boston College:
    “Gender is determined socially; it is the societal meaning assigned to male and female. Each society emphasizes particular roles that each sex should play, although there is wide latitude in acceptable behaviors for each gender” (Hesse-Biber, S. and Carger, G. L., 2000, p. 91).

    “Gender is used to describe those characteristics of women and men, which are socially constructed, while sex refers to those which are biologically determined. People are born female or male but learn to be girls and boys who grow into women and men. This learned behaviour makes up gender identity and determines gender roles” (World Health Organization, 2002, p. 4).

    “Gender is the division of people into two categories, “men” and “women.” Through interaction with caretakers, socialization in childhood, peer pressure in adolescence, and gendered work and family roles women and men are socially constructed to be different in behavior, attitudes, and emotions. The gendered social order is based on and maintains these differences” (Borgatta, E.F. and Montgomery, R.J.V, 2000, p. 1057).

    Every dictionary I can find defines gender as sex. If that is not what you want it to mean then perhaps a new term should be coined, but you can’t just appropriate existing words and redefine them as you see fit. Language requires a certain amount of specificity; without this it becomes useless as a tool for communication.

    Perhaps the real change that should be made to Diaspora is that of renaming the “gender” field to “sex”, thus eliminating the confusion and political hijacking this has obviously caused.

  • @Jeremy:
    Dictionaries are reliably 15-20 years behind vernacular language. If we relied on dictionary definitions for Diaspora, we’d end up with a social network like … usenet? 😉

  • Jeremy


    Hey! Don’t talk bad about Usenet! That’s like making fun of my childhood dog! Shame on you. It’s ok Usenet, don’t listen to the mean lady, I still love you.

    In all seriousness though, I understand what you’re getting at, but it still seems like your purpose for the gender field and the original design purpose for the gender field are at odds. A gender field allows the software (and your friends) to know whether to say “he” or “she” when referring to you. Otherwise you become “they” or “it”, both rather impersonal sounding.

    As I said above, perhaps changing it to a “sex” drop down field would be the best fix. Hell, you could even keep a free-form-text “gender” box there to keep everyone happy, and still have usable software.

  • D

    @Jenn & Tiferet

    You don’t have to be narrowing down lists of strangers. “Show me the guys I went to high school with” and “Give me a list of all the females on my friends list for a valentines mailing”, “I’m starting a hockey team. Show me the guys I know”. Basic, useful lists that won’t ever be available now.

    People make gender-based decisions and ask gender-based questions every day. There are a lot of great use cases that won’t ever be able to be fulfilled because of this.

    Facebook will add things like this at some point.

  • @Jeremy:

    You’re getting warmer now – yes, the software does need (or at least want) to know what *pronouns* to address a user with, but that can be a separate field (“Pronouns” is probably better than “Sex” because as Sarah and others have pointed out, biological sex is more complicated than just two). This is completely compatible with a text-form “Gender” field.

    Think of it like the “Political Views” box on Facebook. Remember when it used to require you to answer Very Liberal/Liberal/Moderate/Conservative/Very Conservative? Tons of people don’t feel like those options define them, and since it’s been replaced by a text field, people’s answers have gotten a lot more varied and interesting. The same should happen for “Gender.”

  • You know there’s an official third gender like the Hijra in India in many cultures, for example in Pakistan and Samoa? So, well done, other societies are smarter than ours, and you cleared the way for their participation!

  • Miah Johnson

    As a transgendered woman, I for one welcome this change. The english language is far too fluid as is our knowledge of how the brain defines gender. To limit people to the binary choice does no good, letting people put in what they want makes them happy and allows them to convey the information they want. There really is no reason for a website to know our gender or sex, but a social network is about communicating with friends, family, and other people, being social right? So including this extra information is a great idea, I’d like people that I meet to know that I am indeed female, and a transsexual. On Facebook I have no way to say this beyond “female”, and possibly putting “I’m Trans” somewhere else. This change allows me to say exactly what I want, and if I want to use it to be silly I can do that too =)

    Along with english being fluid, you must realize that some people use different languages, and terms. Additionally other cultures may have their own differences in gender definitions. To have a drop-down list, that is complete would be massive maintenance, and even then its likely somebody would find something missing. Putting a text field makes this as simple as it could be. If you only want to identify as “Male” you can do that, while allowing “androgynous”, “zie”, “butch female”, “asexual”, “transsexual woman”, or whatever you identify as.

    hey, would you agree not speaking so loud please :)
    > There are languages thta exist without gendered pronouns or grammatical gender.. Look it up, huh?
    Sure, we all (or mostly all) know that, but what do you want to demonstrate?

    > Also, linguistics is just more proof that gender is a social construct because it appears in languages without a concept of gender after thy’re colonised/taken over by a culture whose language is gendered.
    Sure, I think it’s what many people told here, seems that mostly all agree that, so nothing really new :) So what do you want to demonstrate?

  • I always thought, that asking for “gender” was only for choosing the correct salutation.
    So gender=m => Mr Stefan
    gender=f => Mrs Stefan(ie) :-)

    maybe in that case the label “salutation” would be more appropriate. But I suppose in that sense even lesbians would like to be called Mrs

    If the information for “gender” isn’t used for any purpose, besides simply showing how creative someone might be, it should be labeled as such. Simply putting in a text-field is simply irritating.
    I have to think over if I continue with diaspora, if it is common sense to get information from users just for fun.

  • […] Disalienation: Why Gender is a Text Field on Diaspora. Sarah Mei darüber, warum auf Diaspora die Kategorie: Geschlecht statt der üblichen zwei […]

  • Sheila

    “I have to think over if I continue with diaspora, if it is common sense to get information from users just for fun.”

    It is a social site. Why isn’t it common sense to want to allow people to have fun with it? It is in the idiom for social sites–livejournal’s home page has daily questions to spark user discussion. blogger (or was it blogspot?) used to have randomly generated questions for users to answer in their profiles (it got bought and that disappeared, sadly), metafilter has fields with labels like gender, occupation, and so on that say to go crazy next to them.

    Why bother with a site that is social if it doesn’t allow you to have fun?

    There are some examples of why you’d want strict data fields for gender/sex. You might want to collect data to ensure that people are complying with work laws, or do demographics in academic fields to study the outcome of recruitment efforts. and to be funny thought provoking see http://www.phdcomics.com/comics.php?f=1401 , or do some analytics on your site so you can target ads

  • Canis

    @Kevin thanks for that link, the raw data was really interesting to check out! It looks like a good source to set up some “best guess heuristics” for pronoun defaults.

    My current feeling is that if I have to implement a similar field, I’ll have a freeform “Gender” field, and then an example sentence, which reads something like ” has updated their profile picture”, where “their” is a drop-down that also includes “his”, “her”, “its”, “hir”, “zher”, and the other neologistic gender-neutral pronouns which I forget offhand. The user can pick whatever they want, but for convenience and reducing confusion amongst new users, would default to something based on a loose categorisation of the entered text. It doesn’t matter if the text isn’t recognised or is miscategorised, because the user can trivially change it — it’s just a time-saver.

    (If you wanted to get really fancy, you’d auto-update the categorisations based on the associations people made for themselves! For example, if people were consistently associating “hir” with a particular text, you’d learn that, and use it in future. But that seems like a ridiculous amount of code and hoop-jumping to save 1 second of clicking per user per _entire lifetime of the social network_ :) It’s the sort of “nice touch” that appeals to me as a designer of human software, though, because it puts the end-users first and splashes a little bit of magic into the mix when someone types — as someone did on Metafilter — “beans and frank” and it switches its grammar… it’s the kind of detail that turns users into fans)

    @Jeremy I’m confused, you write “Every dictionary I can find defines gender as sex” having just quoted definitions that say it’s not? “the properties that distinguish organisms on the basis of their reproductive roles” are clearly not the same as “those characteristics of women and men which are socially constructed”. Social construction and biological construction are not the same thing! And that’s even if we accept those definitions at face value — as Sarah points out, dictionaries are descriptive, not prescriptive.


    Some people like to claim that the social constructions are biologically determined, eg “women like pink because they used to forage for pink berries while the men were out stabbing woolly mammoths in the kidneys with bits of sharp rock”, and possibly this is the source of the confusion. However, I find these alleged biological explanations laughably implausible, and furthermore, I find it highly suspicious how they seem to line up neatly with the culture-specific biases of the culture the researcher just happens to inhabit themselves. Other cultures had the same ancestral experiences (hunting, foraging, etc) yet have different gender-norms.

    For example, even in our own culture, pink used to be considered a masculine colour until about 100 years or so ago. I’m not quite sure why pink is now considered “girly”, but it used to be that red was considered the manliest, most aggressive colour — so much so, that it was considered too aggressive to wear in polite society. So men of taste and decency wore pink, which was close to red, to demonstrate their masculinity, but also “watered down a little”, out of respect for the delicate sensibilities of refined ladies who might have otherwise got the vapours and had to retire for the evening and take a tincture of laudanum 😛 Of course, you’re probably thinking this sounds completely ridiculous. And it is! From our standpoint. Back then, it was Serious Business. Now try and imagine someone in a hundred years or so looking back on our conversation…

  • Feufolle

    What if I don’t want either of those salutations? I am not a Mr because I do not identify as male and don’t want to be referred to as one. I am not a Mrs or Ms because I do not identify as female and don’t want to be referred to as one. How does using a salutation field with these extremely gendered options fix the problem?

  • RicoW00t

    I agree that it should be a free-text field, but there should be a separate option to choose how you wish to be greeted and referred to. I’m no expert on what the actual list of appropriate salutations and pronouns would be, but that is a possible solution. From a marketing standpoint, if Diaspora (or any company that has to deal with this issue) ever wanted to help advertisers target their users based on m/f/both/other, there would have to be some standard list of gender types. I know this is a very basic example, but what if Hanes wanted to advertise to a social networking tool’s users and wanted to know whether to display male underwear or female sports bras? Would that be totally offensive to have some sort of definitive knowledge as to whether a user is one or the other for advertising purposes? I know from a data perspective that manually mapping a free-text field to m/f/other would be a huge undertaking.

  • Sheila

    I think it might be fun to have mad libs for how one wants to be addressed, rather than drop downs. Of course, this might get annoying for people who don’t want to mess with defaults. I hate drop downs, just from a usability perspective (long drop downs especially! ugh!). Re: above comment about showing a preview example sentence is very delightful. That would be fun. preview example sentences with a few defaults to choose from to populate the fields, and also let people play with them.

    I might pick “The Dreaded” for my salutation (in one of my goofy aspects). For no-nonsense aspect I would go with more professional sounding salutations (or leave it blank).

  • Sheila

    “I know this is a very basic example, but what if Hanes wanted to advertise to a social networking tool’s users and wanted to know whether to display male underwear or female sports bras? Would that be totally offensive to have some sort of definitive knowledge as to whether a user is one or the other for advertising purposes? I know from a data perspective that manually mapping a free-text field to m/f/other would be a huge undertaking.”

    It is not a bad example. I think you could make those types of decisions based on analysing all of the text in a user’s account. If I user has text that indicates a match to data in a dataset that would indicate that you can show them sports bras and get purchases, that’s when you’d choose to target them with those ads. And you can refine your system by tracking behavior.

    This assumes that your users want their content to be used like this. It happens with other services, so maybe people would want to stand up pods with plugins for this type of stuff?

  • Ben

    This makes me really, really happy. Thank you for that.

    Also, I laughed a little at the list of dictionary definitions of gender. Dictionaries reflect (with significant delay) how a word is used in the mainstream. It’s well established in academic circles that gender and sex are distinct and not discrete, much less binary. Spend ten minutes in your local queer collective and you will soon see how inadequate such definitions are.

    Referring to a dictionary definition to support the claim that gender and sex are equivalent would be like using a dictionary to support the classical theory of electron orbits. What you accomplish by this is establishing how gender and sex are misapplied by most of society.

    I do wonder about the pronouns, though. It’s polite in gender-aware communities to allow people to explicitly choose the pronouns people will use for them, so I think a drop-down list for this would work well. Perhaps this could be shown only if they enter a non-mainstream gender value, to avoid irritating mainstream users.

  • Zabillet

    You have done a wonderful thing. This news makes me so happy. It’s something we’ve been working for on other social networks for years. Ignore the detractors – they clearly have never had a transgendered person in their life.

    For the sake of the English language, there’s nothing wrong with adding a “what pronoun would you like to be addressed with?” option during signup.

  • […] read up on this blog post and it got me thinking, what the hell is going […]

  • For those who wistfully ask why, as a field, even bother: I used to think that, and *then* someone confronted me by asking why there were transexuals at all — people for whom it matters so much that they go through an inordinate amount of trouble.

    It wasn’t the first time my true gender had dawned on me, but the time before I’d been too young to know what to do with that information. By this confrontation, though, I was an adult and could think things through. And even though my gender is a small percentage of who I am it permiates all parts of my personality.

    The bottom line is that it matters a great deal. More in your everyday actions than you think. We sometimes wish a great deal that it did not because of iniquities that are yet still not entirely gone — and simply forcing the mantra of “gender has no value” seems a quick, safe route to that. But as some have pointed out, that’s a bit like trying to be “color blind”. There are hidden traps of privilidge in assuming you can elevate yourself to a pristine conciousness free of prejudicial assumptions by “eliminating a categorical perception” — especially when everyone about you is going on about it at length. If that holds true for “race”, imagine the soup that is gender, where merchants still freely make use of gender stereotypes to hawk their goods. Even non-transgenedered folks are rarely so simple they entirely fit one gender or another by stereotypes — and an occasions those moulds have non-cartesian geometries not possible for humans to fill: they contradict one another and themselves.

    For those looking to dictionaries and elsewhere to define gender. Sarah’s already stated the simple version. There IS no accepted canonical definition in mainstream reference yet. You’re looking at database design on the leading edge of reality. Research into gender and, more recently, transgender isn’t academically so widespread that the off-the-shelf dictionary can accomdate it yet. You’re going to have to go further afield to larger tomes where the definition is argued, at length, rather than stated — and form your own reference — if you want that kind of “objective” definition. But Sarah’s already done that work and offered her summary. I normally advocate doing your own research, though. Much more thorough and enlightening.

  • PS– That all said, I appreciated Blogger’s “random question”, too. That was a nice, disarming charm.

  • DavidVess

    YOU are awesome! Thank you for walking people though your understanding of this important issue. Thank you for making that change in the Diaspora code. (Seriously, I want to print that code out and frame it.)

    I heard about your decision this past weekend on This Week in Tech (TWIT). The show’s host said that was a good decision while seeming to use it as an example of how off-the-wall Diaspora is . . . I think? I’m gonna send a note into them about this.

    I’m sure others have already noted on this thread but people often don’t use the right labels for this field on forms. I think that Gender is defined by the psychological and that Sex is defined by the physical/biological. A vast over simplification but I think that is it. It seems that when people are asking for Gender on forms they’re really asking for the person’s Sex. Anyways, thank you!

  • Jenn


    What you call “political correctness” other people call “acknowledging that we exist”. Or, in our less polite moments, “not being an asshole.” It’s nice that you’d prefer software that acts like an asshole to politically correct software that doesn’t try to police our gender, but I’ll take politically correct software every time.

    I am going to assume for the moment that you are a straight man. Imagine going onto Facebook and facing a drop-down menu that asked you to choose between “Gay” and “Woman”. Now imagine how a lesbian would feel facing that same menu. That is what two-option gender menus are like for real people in this world who use your software.

  • I love you. This is wonderful. This is why we need to create our own social networks and just leave the old dinosaurs like facebook in the dust like a bad memory.

    I just want to know how and when I can start using diaspora! I signed up for an invite. When is the next stage of the alpha coming out?

  • And just to respond to one of the ridiculous haters, Jeremy says “You are either male or female (or I suppose in very rare cases both), and there is no other option, at least not for humans.” First off, gender is separate from sex. Sex is biological and gender is social. Gender is the words we make up to describe certain groups of physical traits. Secondly, to imagine that human physiology is either or is ridiculous. There is as much variation of bodies and sizes of parts and combinations of those parts as there are people. For you to say that “humans” only come in these two cases is to say that myself, my closest friends and lots of people i know and love and admire are either not human or do not exist, since we have combinations or sizes of parts that don’t fit into two simple biological categories. So please jeremy, don’t say that I or the people I love are not human. Just let gender be a text field, the way it shoudl be, and get over it. If you want to fill in male or female, go ahead.

  • Noah

    Why would you even ask for Gender? I don’t care what social construct people define themselves as… but I do care what sex they are. Do they have a penis, a vagina, or some combination of both?

  • Andrea

    And that is important to you because….?

  • Kevin

    With regard to the gender field, I feel most closely associated with a particularly novel sql injection hack. ;).

  • Darin

    Guys, it is more than clear. Please learn some English and find the difference between the two words – sex and gender. As simple as that!

  • Andrea

    Now, since Diaspora will be (hopefully) a worldwide new way to socialise and therefore will be localised in different languages, how you will deal with… Let’s sey Italian, my language? Sex and Gender, in Italian is the same word: “Sesso”.
    A lot of fun for the translators! :)

  • Marteau

    Well, I personally won’t mind because when it gets a public release [or an open beta?] I’ll only have my personal friends in my contacts. Anyone else that wants to “make friends” gets shunned. However, for the people that DO want to make friends, sure it makes conversation discussing that, but who says it isn’t an awkward conversation explaining why they had some complicated thing as their gender? Especially if they aren’t conventionally gendered [<-?]. I support your push to no alienate, however I'm not sure I too much like that idea in entirety.

  • alpha

    I understand your point but this is nonsense

    I totally agree with Jeremy ( http://www.sarahmei.com/blog/2010/11/26/disalienation/comment-page-4/#comment-849 ), you can still achieve this behaviour without losing important functionality.

    there are a lot of use cases for a male/female descriptor in a social network software. this can be very harmful for the Diaspora’s success itself.

  • cameron

    THANK YOU! Sorry for the all caps, but we know how text communication is. It’s amazing how prickly people are about this. It just shows their lack of education.

  • Matt

    Any filed which will have a number of common values, would be better as a dropdown of the common ones, PLUS free entry, otherwise the more usual groups will be diluted by variations, bad if it’s something you might search for.

    List + other (entry field) would suit all, without alienating minorities or drawing complaint from those who are happy with a simple M/F.

  • Spellman

    Personally, labels have never really bothered me— I mean you are what you are, and I don’t see why anybody would get all uppity because someone else doesn’t get what they are. Humans nature is that we look at things and we identify them immediately, on a first glance. We file them alongside other things that looked or sounded similar, and if someone gets the wrong impression, who cares.

    Having said that, there’s no downside to having this text field though. Why limit someones options? If you’re a male or female and you’re happy with that, just write male or female. If you’re not, than you can type that. And if you’re a goofy mother****er, you can type tentacle-monster or something, I don’t know. You can say this is dumb or excessive all you want but there’s no good reason for it to not be like this. It’s a social networking site for your friends. You know the genders of your friends whether they put man or tentacle-monster, so that’s that.

  • KK

    Cheers for this! I’m rather close to some folks who (I’m certain) will appreciate having the option. 😀

  • Very cool! I think doing this was a great thing. I love the smart ass ones. Creativity unlimited!