The dating app Tinder, which entered the Indian market in 2016, has added 23 new gender identities for Indian users to add to their profiles. To select the 23 gender options, the company gathered an advisory panel of LGBTQ members from the Humsafar Trust in addition to a gay rights activist named Parmesh Shahani. The gender options include: agender, androgynous, bigender, gender fluid, gender nonconforming, gender questioning, genderqueer, non-binary, female to male, male to female, other, pangender, trans, trans man, trans person, trans woman, transfeminine, transgender, transmasculine, transsexual, hijra, intersex, kothi. Click here for the list of gender identity options with explanations by Humsafar Trust and Tinder.
Silicon Valley, as well as other tech communities around the world, are realizing the ethical imperatives of software design. The diversity of software designers themselves, inclusivity in input for user interfaces, as well as increased involvement of non-tech people in developing software are all topics of interest and scrutiny in the tech world. Silicon Valley launched its Ethical OS toolkit earlier this year as a guide for technology companies to use when implementing ethical considerations. Tinder including 23 new gender identities to its app in collaboration with an LGBTQ group signals progress in this area, but questions regarding the implications of software design and society still loom large. Who gets to define what gender identities exist? If the largest app in a segment presents a certain 23 genders options, could this compel other dating services to adopt the same options, thereby solidifying them as the only options? Furthermore, could Tinder's designations affect politics or discrimination in the region?