Hi Dave. I’m tired of being referred to in the diminutive “she” and want to switch to the “Xe” gender. How do I do that on Facebook?
Rather to my surprise, Facebook actually supports arbitrary “gender” specifications, including consciously gender neutral pronouns like “Xe”. Indeed, while most people haven’t heard of these alternatives to “he” and “she”, there are quite a few, additionally including “Hu”, “Ey”, “Per”, “Jee” and “Zhe”. The thinking behind it is exactly based on what you reference, that “she” is seen as diminutive or degrading in some contexts. Indeed, I have a good friend who goes by the Xe gender, which can be a bit confusing when you go to ask “see if she wants a beer” and realize that you need to instead honor [not “her”] the desired gender pronoun and instead ask if “xe wants a beer”. Confusing.
Still, each of us gets to make our own choices and if you seek a gender neutral pronoun, who is Facebook to judge? In fact, they support it in a very neat way, as I’ll demonstrate.
Just don’t be surprised if some people have a hard time with it or find the whole “xe” thing confusing.
To start, log into Facebook and look at the top left for your name:
Click on “Edit Profile” and scroll down a little ways to find your basic information. Here’s mine:
Ayup, now you know my birthday. I’ll be expecting a card, okay?
Move your cursor over a specific field — like “Gender” — and it’ll gain a gray background and edit button:
Click on “Edit” (of course) to change things.
Turns out a number of options appear:
If you’d rather not show the change in gender on your timeline (since you’re poised to change it), uncheck the box. Where this gets interesting, xe, is when you click on “Male” or, in your face, “Female” and open up the choices:
Choose “Custom” and new fields appear on your Facebook basic info area:
As you can see, turns out you can set any gender you’d like. “Xe” works just fine if that’s what you prefer, and you can also indicate who can see the gender you’ve specified here.
Further, there are three options for pronoun when Facebook pushes out message for your friends to see about your milestones and updates, like a birthday reminder:
Options, we got options!
So that’s the scoop. I wish you good luck with your new gender pronoun experiences.