Sunil Babu Pant has taken his campaign to increase the number of gender options in Facebook profiles to a new level: deactivating his account until Facebook makes the change.
An activist and gay politician in Nepal, Pant wrote open letters to Facebook cofounders Mark Zuckerberg and Chris Hughes (who is also gay), encouraging the company to add a third gender option to profiles for those who identify themselves as neither male nor female.
Though Facebook allows its members to hide their gender on their profiles, the site reveals the selected gender by using the words “his” or “her” elsewhere.
After Pant discovered that Facebook has no current plans to add a third gender option, he decided to deactivate his Facebook account in protest.
On the blog of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex rights group The Blue Diamond Society, of which he is executive director, Pant explained the move with the following message:
“Until Facebook changes its position I am deactivating my Facebook account for now and if the genuine demand is not considered I will leave Facebook for good.”
“Facebook is not respecting human diversity and still forcing third genders and gender variant people to be invisible. This is outrageous and unacceptable. And like to say to the Facebook that ‘Yes we also have a choice to opt out from the Facebook altogether.’”
There have been a number of petitions demanding that Facebook adds more gender options and gender-neutral personal pronouns to its language. However, it does not seem as though community members will be able to identify themselves as a gender other than male or female on their profiles any time soon.
Facebook is not quite ready to add a third gender option to profiles as doing so would require a large amount of work involving complex systems, ZDNet reported. The company is said to be discussing the issue internally.
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