Google+ on Gender

The new social media site allows users to customize their gender identification

We know what you’re thinking: Another social media app, another log in, right? While the verdict’s still out on what we think of Google+ (we joined this week during the two week beta launch) one thing was obvious from the start: The platform is handling gender in an interesting way.

Rather than having to select the usual “male” or “female” descriptives, the site allows users to choose “other” and to decide who gets to see one’s gender identification. This is especially sensitive to folks whose gender, to put it Facebook terms, “is complicated.” It also makes it easy for publications like ours to cast a wider net and embrace everyone in the LGBT community.

In a new video discussing features of Google+, Frances Haugen, the company’s product manager, explained the reasoning behind the customizable gender option, saying it “can be a sensitive topic, especially on the Internet.”

One of the ways this works is that rather than someone seeing your gender – if you’d rather they didn’t – the pronouns used to describe a user would be gender-neutral, like “G Philly added you to their circles.”

And with the latest criticism being waged against Facebook for censoring LGBT content (like several gay kiss photos in recent weeks), the more gay-friendly Google+ feature may bode well for the new site. We hope you’ll join us there. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter (@G_Philly) and Foursquare.

Check out what Haugen has to say: