Just Read: Facebook leads in specifying accurate gender identity; electronic health records can follow

There’s no mistaking that the world is changing; it’s learning to love better.

This is Facebook’s announcement of a significant change in the way it allows people to identify their gender. I’ve captured screen shots of what this looks like below.

The changes are very much along the lines of what has been recommended for electronic health records, which sadly, are behind Facebook in supporting transgender person health and reducing explicit as well as unconscious bias.

Unfortunately, even the most modern electronic health record systems are engineered around a binary definition of gender, and connect much of their logic to this 20th century method of thinking.

That’s changing, though (see: Now Reading: Electronic medical records and the transgender patient – to eliminate, not create, disparities | Ted Eytan, MD) and Facebook’s work helps with that.

I took a look at Google Plus’ options and they are not yet as complete as Facebook’s implementation (see photos).

The comments below the Facebook are very instructive about what is still left to be changed (for example, pronouns should not be listed as “preferred” – they just “are”), so kudos again for opening up the dialogue.

I’m still working on leading a discussion on “Unconscious bias” (or “Implicit bias”) at the 2nd Annual LGBTQI Health Symposium (doing a LOT of reading on this, fascinating) (see: Crowdsource Request: Being a transgender ally and unconscious bias | Ted Eytan, MD – keep those ideas coming!) – this is a great example of a change that lessens the burden of explicit and implicit bias on a vulnerable population, which my comment on the facebook post reflects above :).

If you’re a human being who has a facebook account, take a look and see what’s new. Post your thoughts here.

Ted Eytan, MD