Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Ungendering Facebook

I use Facebook quite a bit. I'm on there at least once a day, and for a number of people in my life, it's my primary means of keeping in touch. (Whether or not this is beneficial is debatable, but that's a different topic.) Like anyone, I want the persona I project online to reflect the person I feel I am. I recently made two small changes in Facebook-world that I feel very happy about.

I'm now they instead of he. This was surprisingly complicated. Facebook, ostensibly, does not allow users to unspecify their gender, nor does it provide any non-binary options. You have to choose a gender, and it has to be male or female. At best you can choose not to display your gender on your profile, but it will still refer to you with gendered pronouns based on your choice. However, it used to allow gender to be unspecified, and still retains the functionality to use neutral pronouns. With a bit of screwing around and some help from this thread, I was able to outwit Facebook and force it to stop gendering me: take that, Zuckerberg! :) I'm honestly surprised by how much better this makes me feel.
(For the record, I'm not a huge fan of singular they either, though that has nothing to do with gender and everything to do with linguistic pedantry. Even so, I'd much rather be mispluralized than misgendered.)

The other thing I did was to change my profile picture. My last one had been up there for nearly three years, largely because I'm never really happy with pictures of boy-me (for obvious reasons) and I'm still mostly closeted about girl-me. My new picture is, in fact, a photo of girl-me— I was fully crossdressed when I took it— that's been carefully edited. It's cropped so that my boobs are out of the frame, and desaturated so that my blush and lipstick are nearly invisible. The result is that it doesn't scream "crossdresser," but looks much more feminine than its predecessor, replete with beard and bushy eyebrows as it was. And I feel so much better, knowing that the face I'm presenting is that of the real me.
Boy? Girl? Who knows!

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