Nepal’s first openly gay politician, Sunil Babu Pant (right), sent a letter to Facebook last week requesting that they consider adding a third gender, labeled “other,” as an option. After Facebook responded in a statement to ZDNet.com that they had no plans to do so, Pant went and deactivated his account.
Facebook’s statement, deemed unsatisfactory to Pant: “People can already opt out of showing their sex on their profile. We’re constantly innovating on our products and features and we welcome input from everyone as we explore ways to improve the Facebook experience.”
Writes Pant in his “Goodbye Facebook” note:
“Many journalists have written to Facebook as well… reading Facebook’s irresponsible remarks saying ‘People can already opt out of showing their sex on their profile,’ shows 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.’
While I support Pant’s endeavor to make trans and intersex people visible, I do worry that, like the “single” and “married” options, the “third gender” option might get abused as a joke by teenagers who think it’s “hilarious” to be neither male nor female.”