OkCupid users can now pick their pronouns. The company rolled out the new gender-expressive option yesterday, a feature that’ll allow users to choose between he / him, she / her, and they / them. The options join the 22 gender and 13 sexual orientation choices already available to users. The pronouns will show up as a menu when users who identify as any gender other than man or woman sign up for the service. People who have a sexual orientation under the LGBTQ umbrella will also see the menu in their profiles, just not at sign up.
Product designer Rowan Rosenthal, who uses the they / them pronouns, created the feature during OkCupid’s hack week earlier this year. They tell The Verge that up until now, they always had awkward first date moments in which a date referred to them as “she,” which made them uncomfortable. At the same time, though, Rosenthal says they couldn’t fault the dates, because there was no official space for them to define their pronoun. (Until now, only gay dating app Grindr offered pronoun options). While users could previously include their pronouns in their self summaries section, that’s only useful if people actually read those sections. Rosenthal says the new pronoun menu “helps people move past and mitigate the situation” with their dates. Including the choice at sign up clearly legitimizes the preference and makes it an important part of the dating experience.
While users can currently filter potential matches by gender identity, they can’t yet do so by pronoun, because, as Rosenthal explains, it’s “an addendum to their personality.” “Right now, it’s an extra detail about you,” they say.