Why 37 gender options on Tinder is important for the transgender community

Tinder now has 37 new gender options for users. (Nov. 15, 2016)

On Tuesday, Tinder announced that added 37 additional gender options to the popular dating app's new update. You can also write in your own term.

Male and female had been the only options before. Now, users could choose from options like agender, pangender, trans man, trans female, even ones like two-spirit or neutrois.

Ben Hudson, the founding executive director of Sacramento's Gender Health Center, said what's important to remember is that these identities are for the transgender community and not for others to use as labels. 

"These are ways people may identify," Hudson explained." It's not up to the reader to have a definition."

For an app that encourages intimacy and relationship, it's especially important so people can share their gender identities upfront, instead of "some sort of disclosure" for later. 

Hudson looked through the list of options and said he would identifty with multiple of them.

"I see transgender man, I see FTM (female to male), I see non-binary. That has been relevant in my life," Hudson said. "Gender queer. Many, many things."

For Hudson, who transitioned from female to male in his early 20s, it hasn't been an easy road.

"It's a common story for many trans folk," Hudson said. "Services like [what we offer at the Gender Health Center] don't exist in many areas."

From mental health counseling to hormone injections to helping transgender people navigate complicated insurance policies, the Sacramento center draws people from all over California and even beyond. 

"I think this is an opportunity to learn more about the fullness of human identity," Hudson said." It would make the world an easier place for trans to exist, for people to learn that society isn't just one way."

Hudson said a good way to approach co-workers, friends, or family members who consider themselves transgender or are going through a transition is to thoroughly think about it.

"Take a moment to think: Why is it important for them to have knowledge of my gender identity," Hudson said. "Nobody wants to be treated like science experiment."

Hudson suggests non-transgender people can introduce themselves with their own pronouns.

"The thing is if you're only asking a transgender person about his or her pronouns, you're making it seem like they are the 'other,' Hudson said. "Make it more a typical part of your life."

Hudson said ultimately, the importance of at least 37 gender options, is for people who want to be identified as a certain gender to have infinite options.

"Folks can feel more authentic in the description of themselves, especially when you're on an app," Hudson said. "If you've ever had to fill out a paper about your demographics, your ethnic background and think 'These options don't describe me, I'm gonna pick this box, but it's actually not me.'"

Hudson adds that there are actually way more than just 37 gender options for the transgender community. 

 

Copyright 2016 KXTV


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