Online dating just got a little bit friendlier for users who don’t identify with more common sexual and gender orientations. It was recently revealed that OkCupid’s new gender and sexuality options are currently being tested, and will eventually provide many more choices for its users.
OkCupid’s massive user base, estimated around 3.5 million worldwide, may soon have access to these expanded options. According to NewNowNext, OkCupid sent out a message to only a portion of users, saying, “You’re part of a select group with access to this feature.... Keep in mind as we continue to work on this feature: For now, editing your gender and orientation is only supported on the desktop site.”
Currently, the site only allows users to choose between gay, straight, and bisexual when describing their sexual orientation. The new options are set to include queer, questioning, asexual (someone who lacks sexual attraction), demisexual (someone who needs to feel a strong emotional connection before they can be sexually attracted to someone), heteroflexible (someone who is mostly straight with minimal homosexual activity), homoflexible (someone who is mostly homosexual with occasional heterosexual relations), pansexual (someone who is attracted to others of all sexual orientations and genders), and sapisexual (someone who is mostly attracted to intelligence in others).
The gender options, which are currently simply male and female, may also greatly expand. The selected users are now able to choose from agender, androgynous, bigender, cis man, cis woman, genderfluid, genderqueer, gender nonconfroming, hijra, intersex, non-binary, other, pangender, transfeminine, transgender, transmasculine, transsexual, trans man, trans woman, and two spirit.
And while it's great that OkCupid seems to be embracing all different identities and preferences, they have yet to announce whether these changes will be permanent, and if so, when they will be available to all users. This possible change is reminiscent of Facebook’s expanded gender options and may signal a new trend in online communities. Hopefully this means that, in the future, online communities will be places that accept the large spectrum of identities and allow users to present themselves via their own terms.