Say Other! Gender a must on Google+

I was invited to join Google+ and thought I’d enjoy building an alternative to FaceBook.  However, it was a wee bit unsettling to have my gender information demanded (“Required“), though at least I was provided the option of checking male, female or “other.”  As one of our commenters mentioned in an email to us,

Anyone signing up for Google+ is forced to choose a gender. This gender MUST be visible to the whole world, and various aspects of the user interface present things as if gender were THE defining feature of a person (besides their e-mail address).

He was right at the time he left the comment, and Google has since made a few changes.  [Updated to reflect DavidC’s comment.] The gender must be visible when you register, as a default, but now that I have a Google+ profile, I’m provided the option of altering the availability of gender information: Anyone on the web, extended circles, your circles, or only you. 

In any case, the gender line is always available on the “about” tab of my Google+ profile.  I didn’t realize it would be when I filled out the information.  What the aitch?  Is this necessary?  Surely members of tight-knit (whoops, don’t say ‘groups’) networks don’t need to have my gender-identification constantly available, nor do I.

My proposal for the day:  Everyone who accepts a Google+ invite should say OTHER!  Let’s stick it to the info-demanders.

iPad Children’s Book designed to teach open-mindedness


When artist Raghava KK had two children, he decided it was time for a new approach to children’s books. That approach manifests itself in Pop It, a new children’s book for iPad that looks to teach open mindedness to toddlers.

The book, which is about things that little children do with their parents like take a bath, play or change clothes, is notable for its use of a homosexual couple as parents. However, its message comes in that those characters can be changed to a lesbian couple or a heterosexual couple upon shaking the iPad.

“It’s a metaphor for shaking from one perspective to another,” said Raghava in an interview with Mashable. “The relationship between parent and child does not change if they have two moms, two dads. I’m challenging the concept of family.”

Looking at the video, it seems like something kids would *really* love playing with, too.

(Thanks, S!)