In trying to keep pace with the rapidly evolving ways in which people (especially those of younger generations such as Millennials and Gen X) are conceptualizing the idea of gender, social media platforms have begun to realize that enforcing the male/female dichotomy will no longer fly. Facebook, for example, expanded their list of available genders to an impressive 51 different options in 2014, making the site more inclusive to those whose identities don’t fall neatly onto either side of the binary.
Perhaps even more significantly, dating/hookup app Tinder announced last year that they would be introducing a feature called “More Genders”. The update sought to acknowledge the existence of more than two genders, as well as mitigate the effects of gender identity discrimination that was rampant on the platform.
Some non-binary individuals using Tinder before the update expressed frustration at having to conform to a gendered category that they did not fully subscribe to, such as graphic designer Liz Busillo, who was quoted as saying
“I figured, I present in a way that’s very feminine, so I’ll just put down female and clarify [that my pronoun is they] in my profile.”
However, even after making this compromise, Busillo experienced unwarranted and cruel harassment, a situation that Time described as
“a slew of negative interactions, mostly with straight men.”
However fast-fowarding to summer of 2018, a little more than a year after its release, the More Genders feature has been a resounding success. Bustle recently reported that since its debut, the update has led to an impressive 25 million Tinder matches.
That’s a whole lot of awkward first dates.
As Bustle contributor Claire Lampen noted,
“How the heck are we supposed to find love or even just casual sex if we aren’t allowed the vocabulary to accurately express ourselves?”