​OkCupid Is Crowdsourcing a Dictionary for Its Expanded Gender Identity Options

The dating service is allowing users to explain their own identities in its new crowd-sourced online dictionary.

Jun 27 2015, 1:00pm

Image: OKCupid

In 2014, OkCupid expanded its sexual orientation tags to 10 more inclusive options, including pansexual, demisexual, asexual, and more. It also added 20 new gender labels, like agender, androgynous, bigender, and gender nonconforming.

The move was good news for the nearly 10,000 people who utilize the site's newly introduced labels each month. But the company found many people were unsure of what the new tags meant, and even users who identified with the new terms interpreted them in unique ways.

In response, OkCupid launched a new site today to help define all of the new identifiers, inviting people to share how the terms play out in their own lives through a questionnaire on the site.

Jimena Almendares, chief product officer at OkCupid, said the company began working on the online dictionary shortly after the new options were launched in November.

"We saw that there was nothing on the internet about all these new terms and users were searching on Google to find definitions that were either very dry, like dictionary definitions, or biased (for example, search 'woman' on Urbandictionary)," she said. "We wanted not only to educate users who wanted to better understand what the terms mean, but also to provide more insight by using the language people who claim these words themselves use."

The website includes definitions of the expanded terms and varying explanations from people who identify with them on what the terms mean to them and why they chose them.

Almendares said before this site, OkCupid staff were unable to find any other existing service that helped explain all of these terms. She said they wanted to include perspectives of actual users "because dictionary definitions aren't always able to tell a story."

"As language and definitions are ever-evolving, this project will continue to be updated with more stories from individuals expressing their identity," OkCupid said of the new site in a statement.

As the online dating world continues to grow in popularity, it's good to see a major dating site allowing people of all gender and sexual identities to accurately self-identify while looking for love. And allowing more people to easily educate themselves on what these terms mean is just another step in that process.