Facebook’s new gender options; Here’s why I chose Two Spirit

danielle brewsterLEXIE CANNES STATE OF TRANS — Many of us wished for a third option when it came to checking one of the typically two gender boxes when signing up for social media accounts. At times, leaving both boxes blank may not be an option — the registration process will not proceed further.

Facebook however, recently granted users not just a third option, but a very generous 51 of them (or 54, depending on how one counts or who is counting). For many of us long time social media users, having all these options suddenly drop on our laps found us taking time out to really explore them all.

The important thing to remember is that you don’t have to make a change. If, for instance, you’re a trans man and you want to keep your Facebook gender selection as male, that is perfectly acceptable — one does not have to show their ‘trans’ status if one doesn’t want to. Likewise, for the many of you that do wish to identify as trans, choices abounds.

Below are links to glossaries of the gender choices Facebook offers. Pick something you’re most comfortable with.  If you’re still unsure, trans is good.

Facebook gender option glossary terms from The Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/style-blog/wp/2014/02/14/confused-by-facebooks-new-gender-options-heres-what-they-mean/?tid=pm_lifestyle_pop

Daily Beast: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/02/15/the-complete-glossary-of-facebook-s-51-gender-options.html

(To make the change, click on Facebook page upper right side (your FB) username>about>basic information>gender (edit). These options are only available for those who previously selected US English. UK English at this writing does not offer it.)


I decide to go with Two Spirit. Prior to the arrival of Europeans in North America, Native Americans held transgender members of their tribes in high regard. Since they believed every thing that exists came from a spirit world, a trans person is considered doubly blessed — having two spirits made them more gifted than other tribe members.

Europeans, of course, used Christianity to thump Two Spirit people out of prominence within their tribes. Thanks to efforts made during the past two decades, Two Spirit people are being restored to their rightful place of honor.

Since I easily relate to being doubly blessed, this was great choice for me, especially since it fuels activism.


Two Spirit Danielle Brewster’s story (girl in photo): http://www.co.shasta.ca.us/index/hhsa_index/mental_wellness/stand_against_stigma/brave-faces-portrait-gallery/Danielle-Brewster.aspx

More on Two Spirit people: http://www.theguardian.com/music/2010/oct/11/two-spirit-people-north-america

Thanks to Mo D’oh.

danielle brewster


See Lexie Cannes in the transgender feature film “Lexie Cannes”. Get it here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0963781332   

LEXIE CANNES STATE OF TRANS is associated with Wipe Out Transphobia: http://www.wipeouttransphobia.com/

Read Lexie Cannes in The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/courtney-odonnell/

Categories: Transgender, Transsexual, Trans

Tags: , , , , , ,

13 replies

  1. While many of the part time transgender folk are having a ball with these (mostly perplexing) choices, it is a disaster for transsexual people. A lot of TS people won’t realise it but we are, far from gaining acceptance as the gender we always asserted that we were, about to become ghettoised.

    We have fought for a large (in most cases) part of our lives to be accepted by society as female (male in the case of FTM) only to find non trans people being let off the hook by saying: “if you can’t handle accepting us as women, we’ll be this ‘other’ thing. That way you can still feel good about yourselves, without having to leave your comfort zone”.

    Toilets are a good example. 5 minutes after gaining the right to use female public bathrooms, I am told I belong in a gender-neutral toilet.

    I still hold out the hope that the public will still be able to see the difference between TS and T(50+). That hope is dwindling though, as so-called ‘activists’ seem to insist on outing us all!

    I mean no disrespect, I just wish that the exotic and strange thing that the transgender umbrella has now become, would now leave us (TS) out of it to get on with our lives as our true gender.

  2. I don’t see it. Laws increasingly say we can use restrooms of our gender identity. If you want people to know you as female, identify as female and others not involved in your transition need not know about your past.

  3. I understand what you mean Linda, I do, and I wish it was that simple. It is if you pass well but for those of us who don’t the spectre of our past is always, at the very least, in question.

    It would be less likely now that someone would point the finger and tell a TS woman she should be using the male restroom (at least begrudging acceptance) but increasingly likely that they might suggest we would be better to use the ‘neutral’ ones.

    After all, the neutral restrooms were (supposedly) brought in for the benefit of ‘our kind’.

  4. As a woman I would only want to show that I was fucked up by society by beeing wrong assigned, but this does not attach my sex and gender, this attaches only my social and psychological development, my political background and my social status.

    I would never ever give this society the “win” and accept the role/stamp/n****r position (because sexism, anatomism and racism are exactly the same mechanisms and people, I mean this position historically) they want and force me to accept. They have fucked up my whole life, disadvantaged me 24/7 and traumatized me just for the “confession” to be something else than a woman because this would destroy all their fashistic dumb lies and their genitalistic worldorder, but it is as it is and I am a woman, not a “trans (woman, whatever)” and especially NOT a “transgender (woman)”!

    These (slave-) categories were invented by badass psychologists (“G.I.D.”, “perversions”, “biological sex” ideology for the justification of their hunts, hierachies and bodyfashistic hate theories) and sexologists and I still can´t understand why wrong assigned men and women who were born as what they stayed, confirm them. Btw. they were not invented for people livng between genders, only for mocking wrong assigned men and women.

  5. I hope there is also an option to not list any gender category at all, but I doubt it.

    Honestly, I’m worried that some people will change their profile to one of these 54 choices just as a “joke”.

    But, it could be a happy thing for a lot of people, so I guess more choices is usually better than only a few choices.

    Why do we have to categorize people so much anyway? Is this one of the dark sides of human nature?

  6. While I understand your feeling of being blessed in your identity, I don’t think Two-Spirit is a good choice. Its meaning and history are a bit more loaded than a quick google search may tell. The short story is that it is appropriative.

    • Actually, I’ve been following the two spirit thing long before Facebook and the internet as we know it came about. It struck me how Native Americans had it together as a society before the white men came with their Bibles. Maybe I’m subtly giving Bible thumpers a kick in the butt while tipping my hat to Native Americans.

      • “Since I easily relate to being doubly blessed, this was great choice for me” lol, that’s cute ; )
        When i went to my first sweat lodge, i held the validity of not just walking in as if privileged but of being allowed by circumstance and possible knowledge; thus, when we came to the road leading to the lodge and a man walked up to the car i was driving, my friends became a little uneasy when i didn’t speak but waited until the man asked, “Are you here for the sweat lodge?”
        Before the sweat began, we stood behind the lodge and the medicine man came out, walked around it to us, and stared at my stomach for a minute and a half; then we all went in and the sweat began. It was the first of many, and i can tell you it’s much better to go barefoot and step on coals for a second than have them drop into your sandals and burn forever when you’re carrying sacred red-hot rocks. The only real problem i had was when a 200-year dead medicine man had issue with me for being “wacitchu”–a white person and apparently not an ordinary one.

        Eventually the head of the lodge and i would see the same thing, such as spirit people who’d want to come into the lodge, and he’d welcome them. From what i understand, being truly “two-spirit” back then isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, with being killed for not getting the weather right over-balancing the ability to enter a lodge because you don’t menstruate. Despite such inclusion, when it came time for the Sun Dance (i think it would hurt more to have the backs of your arms pierced than your chest), i felt distanced and chose to run through manzanita alone; great fun, but certain protections are needed.

        Although i was never beaten in a Christian school for speaking my own language, i do know what it’s like to have my mouth sewn shut, and the reality is that when you’re there, you’re there to pray, and if some “good Christian” has a problem with that, then they shouldn’t be there. Whatever the problems, your identity and self are yours, your prayer, and one that must match the honesty within, and just as it wasn’t for them to say i couldn’t or shouldn’t according to their likes, neither is it anyone else’s. But when someone asks where the lodge leaders are and, while you’ve been sitting there the whole time, you tell them they’re down the road and have just decided to come back, or you’re hunting with the medicine man and you say the next morning at 9 a buck will walk through this clearing from there to there, you’ll still get that same look you always do.

        It’s just as bad with those whack Tibetans who do miracles at 4, but somehow they’re cuter 🙂 Maybe it’s the robes.

  7. Also, you seem to have a lot of commenters misinformed-about or even hateful-toward nonbinary transgender people. You might consider posting an education piece.

  8. Yeah, put me down as another person who finds a non-Native calling herself ‘Two-Spirit’ to be appropriative. I get where you’re coming from, but being pro-Native and anti-invader don’t give you the right to claim a piece of Native culture — especially one as sacred and personally meaningful as Two-Spirit — as a political statement.

  9. Doesn’t the concept of having to select something defeat the concept itself. Why not just ask what gender you are and have the person fill in what they are. I would hope most people know what gender they are even if others do not.

  10. As if I gave a shit what Facebook do or don’t: it’s all scandalous PC posturing and the bottom line is money from advertising

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