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Students lobby for “queer-positive” Facebook

Some student users of the popular social networking website Facebook.com are lobbying the owners and operators of the site to make certain changes to the way user profiles are currently formatted.

queer positive facebookSome 750 or so users, primarily college and university students, have joined a “Facebook Group” named “For a queer positive facebook” which was started by York University (Canada) student Dee Jacobs. The users want Facebook to add new features to the user profiles which would allow for a more inclusive representation of a wide-range of personal self-identities.

Their requests include changing the current two option choice for “sex” (male and female) to a fill-in-the-blank form for “gender” and adding an “other” option to the current “Interested in” options which include “men,” “women” and “men and women.” The “For a queer positive facebook” group claims that the current “Interested in” options are not inclusive enough because it “ignores the sexuality of persons who do not identify with a specific gender and their lovers.”

Other requests include having the “In a relationship” options changed to allowing multiple partners; the current options only allow one partner to be added if two people both note they are in a relationship. “For a queer positive facebook” claims that this change would “create an inclusive space for our polyamorous and other non-monogamous allies and their lifestyles.”

The group of users admit, however, their requests are unusual.

“While the… changes may seem unorthodox and risky to the administration of Facebook,” the group profile states, “We would like to point out that persons who do not identify with any of the above identities will still have the ‘traditional’ options and will simply not partake of the additional services. This seems beneficial in contrast to the current system, which ignores and alienates large portions of our community.”

The “For a queer positive facebook” group requests did not originally include requests on behalf of “polyamorous and other non-monogamous” persons but added them after requests from other Facebook users.

“I’m so glad this got linked up to the poly community,” group founder Jacobs said, “You really don’t have to be gay to be queer and we all need to stick togeather (sic).

“I’m a linguistics major and one of the first things that you learn is that words, labels, are everything. So don’t let facebook (sic) label you; make this statement and allow opportunity for self-definition.”

Jacobs created the group in late October 2006.

Facebook.com is primarily directed to college and high school students. When Facebook.com was first established, only persons affiliated as a student or faculty member of a college or university could use the site. Facebook.com later expanded to include high school users and now has an open registration, allowing any person to use the site.

In the fall of 2006, similar internal “Facebook Group” pressure and petitioning from millions of users forced the owners and operators of Facebook.com to change the way it handled personal information from users’ accounts, profiles and online activity on the site.

Original story from MattHillNC.com | The Q-triad Blog

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Matt Comer

Matt Comer