It’s the small things, sometimes

So, OKCupid, the only dating site of which I have ever been a member, is working on expanding options for gender and sexuality identifiers. That’s pretty cool I guess, maybe? I mean, I don’t think the new options are perfect (I actually think there’s a lot of major potential problems with it), but I’m not really going to go into that just now (stay tuned next week, though!). Today, I have a different issue.

Because it turns out that in the meantime they’ve done a thing that has made me disable my account until such time as the full roll-out happens.

Y’see, I have a complicated relationship with social media and gender markers. These days, if a site both *requires* that every member identify their gender, and simultaneously limits the options for doing so to two, I just don’t join. Those sites are not for me, and I am not for them.

I did, however, stay with facebook after coming out and before they had expanded their gender options. In part this is because facebook is important to me for keeping my social life organized, but I was also one of the people who used a browser plugin to force facebook to “forget” my gender marker (which actually had the default condition of making the site refer to me as they, which is great for me.) I haven’t bothered to go in and explicitly identify my gender since the new options came out, because hey, fuck ’em.

I have also stayed on OKC since coming out. I do disable the account at least once a year, basically whenever I realize that the likelihood that getting messages from people will have a negative impact on my life outweighs the potential for meeting awesome new people (and I have met many awesome people on OKC, including my husband). Sometimes I just don’t have the energy, and so I make it all go away for a while. I like that I can do that.

Anyway, throughout my tenure on OKC, I have maintained an “F” marker. I am not super bothered by this; I am generally comfortable with being identified as female-bodied, or simply female. Though I prefer words that don’t fit into the general m/f dichotomy (I definitely don’t identify as feminine, for instance, and hate to think that same people automatically make the association from female to feminine), it is a thing I am ok with settling for.

But, when I logged in after reading about the new gender options (which aren’t available to me yet – it’s only been offered to a small test group, which makes sense, since there is a lot of potential for things to go off the rails when trying to match people up base don complicated and multi-variate self-identifications, so fine,) I noticed that OKC is no longer describing me as simply “F”. I’m a “woman” now, apparently.

In fact, the gender options currently available to me are “I’m a woman”, and “I’m a man”. Which, I understand why this is the case – the new gender system works based on an “I’m a…” declaration system, grammatically, and they’ve just pulled everyone in line with that for the time being.

Except that it’s not fine. At least not for me. And a change that I figure the developers see as totally neutral (“F” is the same thing as “woman”, right?) totally isn’t, since to some extent it conflates sex and gender. And my account is down now, and will continue to be until such time as I stop being forced to identify as things that make me distinctly uncomfortable.


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