Facebook announced through its Facebook Diversity page on Wednesday that it will begin allowing English-language users of the site to use a wide range of pronouns to identify their gender.
This means that Facebook is officially embracing emerging concepts of gender beyond binary biological templates. This is important from because the struggle for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) equality is the conceptual offspring of the gender and race equality movements of the 20th century.
Gender and race equality have matured into entrenched cultural movements that extend across the globe and in most cases beyond politics. Where once there was institutionalized injustice, now you just have the infrequent chauvinist (who quickly gets shut down by the cultural pressure around them). Some of these forces also have to do with the recognition that GDP growth equates to geopolitical power, and the most efficient economies make optimal use of all of their citizens.
However, the struggle for LGBT equality becomes a fringe movement as soon as you start leaving the dense metro zones. When people do not live next to strange others, there is more inertia to cement traditional perspectives.
That’s why, although this rollout may only affect select English-language users at this time, for a global organization like Facebook (3rd largest "nation" after China and India…) to show institutional solidarity for emerging LGBT concepts such as pronouns is news-worthy.
I will not pretend that there is a lot of consensus on this topic. “Cultural inequality” continues to widen as the Internet enables the creation of personal echo chambers. Some people feel that LGBT people are not “authentic” or are indulging in sensory debauchery of some kind. Some people feel that LGBT people are free to exercise their own choices, and that government has little place inside personal choices like that. Others are shocked that ignorant neanderthals still have no idea what terms such as xe or cisgender mean (more pronouns…).
There is plenty of rage on both extreme ends, it is important to recognize that. The bottom line is the recognition that you must have a lot of empathy with those that you do not understand. That is the only way to have a clear perspective of the world you live in.
Generally, progressives are the accelerator and conservatives are the breaks. Both kinds of equipment are required to reach the peak of human society in the 21st century.