Facebook's 'Two Spirit' Gender-ID Term a Positive Step for LGBT Natives
On February 13, Facebook added more than 45 custom gender-identifying terms, allowing users to choose from more than just “male” or “female” in order to identify themselves. Indigenous communities all over Turtle Island were pleasantly surprised to find that among those terms was “Two-Spirit.”
“When you come to Facebook to connect with the people, causes and organizations you care about, we want you to feel comfortable being your true, authentic self,” Facebook’s press office said in a statement to ICTMN. “An important part of this is the expression of gender, especially when it extends beyond the definitions of just ‘male’ or ‘female.’”
Additionally, Facebook has added the ability to select a preferred pronoun – male, female or neutral (they/their/them) – as well as allowing people to specify who sees the gender and pronoun they’ve chosen.
“We recognize that some people face challenges sharing their true gender identity with others, and this setting gives people the ability to express themselves in an authentic way,” Facebook said.
Facebook credited our Network of Support, a group of leading LGBT advocacy organizations as collaborators for determining which terms to include in the list. Some other terms included are agender, trans, intersex, gender fluid, gender questioning and CIS, among others.
Many Indigenous people who identify as Two Spirit were excited to see the changes.
“When Facebook added new gender options, I felt that it was an amazing step, one that was in the right direction,” said Gina Metallic, of Mig'maq First Nation, a Two Spirit community and Aboriginal youth protection activist. “I use the term Two Spirited because it is a hybrid of my culture and sexuality. It acknowledges both important pieces of my identity, being queer and being Indigenous. It's also allowing people to see that there's more than male and female, and that it's okay and normal.”
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