What's the purpose of the gender field?

This is a valid point. I do see why you wouldn’t want to be included in a women-only feature. But no one would be forcing you to take part in an event that is designed for women only, even if you technologically have this capability. Other individuals who selected “nonbinary” could feel more comfortable being included in the women group (e.g. some people who use she/they pronouns).

I don’t agree that building a safety feature (especially one where NB individuals cannot be automatically filtered out, as I have been suggesting) sends out this message. Quite the opposite; it leaves it up to the non-binary individuals to decide which group they can most identify with. The one exception to that for me could be the option to “show my profile only to women,” which I personally see as an option targeted towards a very specific subset of women to ensure their safety. What aspect of the discussion/design that I am missing sends you that message?


In terms of the ability to arbitrarily describe your gender, I totally get that it must feel very restrictive to have to input “Non Binary” as your broadcast gender when that does not authentically represent you; I don’t think it’s as trivial as just a “political statement” to identify yourself.

One suggestion I have is possibly expand the drop-down list of available genders, so that people can more accurately describe their gender identity. Computationally, the safety features could treat all genders that are neither “man” or “woman” as one entity; however, users could filter for a specific gender. For example, the options could be:

Which of the following gender identities best represents you?

  • Woman
  • Man
  • Non-Binary
  • Genderfluid
  • Genderqueer
  • Agender

with a note saying “If your gender identity is not represented by this list, please contact so-and-so with your suggestions” - this way, we could keep expanding the list, but if someone wants to be a smarta*s and invent a gender identity just to be able to bypass the safety features, we can prevent that through a manual check.

I wonder if we should conduct a survey among individuals with diverse gender identities, to really find out what people need, because right now there’s like 4 of us trying to figure out a very multifaceted and complicated problem… :sweat_smile:

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There were suggestions to make it “other” or “non-binary/other” also

Well, I am not saying it should be that way. I think search filters should have checkboxes for every gender separately (so I can choose one or several), and hiding option should be literally same gender only, without secretly including anyone.

Before “search filter will be abused by men” starts - how, if you have, say, a spam filter? (as was discussed in another thread)

Actually, that way the third option could be other and a blank space. It won’t give any benefits anyway, so shouldn’t be abused.

I quite like the idea of changing the current “non-binary” to “non-binary/other” and then directing users to provide a more detailed description of their gender identity in their profile (if they want to). I think this change is rather easy and helps resolve at least part of the concern with the current way we display gender.

While we do want to enable self-expression on the platform, I think the main reason why we ask for gender is for the purpose of safety features, as others mentioned before. With that said, @nolo 's previous comment got me thinking: Could we get away with not displaying gender at all on the profile, but just store it on the backend for safety features? We would of course still show pronouns to everyone since people will need to know how to refer to the person. But I think the answer to that question is no, because of the following issues that would result in the disadvantages outweighing the advantages:

  1. It could cause a lot of confusion among a lot of users.
  2. People might select the wrong gender and not realize it because they wouldn’t see it unless they are reading their own profile
  3. I think many people (whether right or wrong) would be upset at the fact that they are unable to share their gender on their profile more clearly and would result in users using other ways to show they are a certain gender (eg: choosing a more masculine or feminine photo so that their gender is “clear” rather than just picking a “normal” photo of themselves, or writing a paragraph on their profile about how they are a woman or man, etc)

Political correctness will be the death of us. Here is the mindset of couchers,
couchsurfers, and other travel sites:

Women seeking women hosts/surfers - OK
Women seeking men hosts/surfers - OK
Men seeking men hostS/surfers - OK (but kind of homo)
Men seeking women hosts/surfers - CREEPS! RUN AWAY!


I’d find “women seeking men hosts/surfers” to be creepy too, but at least it is statistically no where near as likely to end in assault


What exactly is the point you are trying to make? Political correctness has nothing to do with this; in fact, this entire discussion about “women seeking women ok,” “men seeking men ok,” “men seeking women CREEPY” is the opposite of politically correct. It is heteronormative. We are all just trying to figure out how to solve a very existing safety problem that, unfortunately, has a high correlation with gender.


I would do the simple thing, sex: woman or man (would facilitate algorithm to filter, hide, show, by sex) and gender should be aside as an open text field (with no filter), used to write your gender, just informative. Easy.

In the text field aside the gender, you can type the unicorn, or type whatever your gender is. Couchers is a platform for host, so anybody who try to hangout with opposite sex, would find the algorithms that we need to work in and evict to try to date. The references are important and read my proposal too.

My proposal is create a balancing algorithm:

Woman and man will be able to host same sex or any sex (two options, easy). BUT if you choose any sex the algorithm will work: the algorithm should balance the quantity of women or men the host accepts according with a number X… and count from zero every time the user change their option, so evict trying to hack the control (always there will be people trying to take advantage of any platform in someway)…

So, if you are John Doe and want to accept “any sex”, % or counting difference should matter. (The second option (counter) will be better to create the algorithm than % for easy coding I guess)…

Example: if the difference is 3 (my number X) women hosted against 0 men, the next person that John Doe is able to accept will be a man. Period… if He accept 1 man, the counter will be 3-1 (able to host another woman), he will host later another woman counter will be 4-1. So if he tries to host and accept a request from a woman, he wont be able until he host a man again. In my example the counter difference is of 3.

The algorithm should be able to let this man, accept more men than women. So the counter could be women 5-15 men for example… and in a city full of men, the platform will be working.

The same would be for women, with the algorithm inverted. Take account that this is for who choose to host Both Sex. If user wants to hack the counter changing the option of host every 3 women, would be able to change this option after 1 year. Easy.

The gender field text would be just informative, so for example, John Doe is “man” (sex) that is “unicorn”(gender), is not comfortable accepting “straight” (gender) guys, will be able to decide to reject or accept a request. and obviously would be able to accept more than 3 man “unicorn” if he wants. Make sense? If John Doe is “man” (sex) and “unicorn”(gender), wont be able to accept more women than men with more than 3 count of difference. If he want to host women, he has to balance his counter.

The users doesnt need to see this counter, it is just a hidden thing,

Take into account that man or women being unicorn, or whatever gender is but straight, would be able to use the app for dating in any option. But I think that in this matter, doesn’t matter. Unicorns are not predators. Well, I don’t know.

Click on Like if you like my proposal.

@jcdelascasas I am intrigued by your algorithm idea, but I just want to interject because you are saying some inaccurate information (at least for the English language) that I wanted to clarify:

Sex = biological, so male, female, intersex. Has to do with what the doctor assigned you as when you came out of your mom :slight_smile:
Gender (identity/expression) = what you identify and express yourself as (man/woman/non-binary/other/etc.
Sexual orientation = who you are attracted to (gay, straight, bisexual, pansexual, etc.)

Under these definitions, I don’t see how biological sex should play into the equation here, and in this situation it may be harmful. I think using math to try to analyze user’s behavior and prevent predatory actions is really interesting! I would just use gender and not sex in the equation.


My idea is to make the simple thing with 2 variables.

As you can see for example, in the profile of Facebook. I see this section as the image below:

Screen Shot 2021-08-12 at 23.44.35

They have 3 options, Sex: Woman, Man and Personalized where Personalized appears the option Gender with 10 options… But this matter will complicate the maths with the algorithm.

Gender would be as I post, a text, so any can express their indentity… That also doesnt complicate the algorithm.

I just used what is used in other platforms, where you chose sex, woman or man… but you are right, intersex should be the third option. The Intersex option you mentioned, will include one more variable to be inclusive with them. and that variable could be out of the algorithm, I dont see a Intersex as a predator. So intersex would be free of the algorithm :stuck_out_tongue: to host any one at any proportions.

The biological sex, or sex option plays all in the algorithm to decrease the intent of predators. Gender is many options and would be difficult algorithm to design.

I understand you want to find a solution to predatory users, but sex is not relevant in even guessing the behaviour of users. Biological sex is irrelevant for Couchers, we are not here to look out for our users’ reproductive health or medical situation.


This is one of my pet peeves. A lot of platforms incorrectly use “sex” to mean “gender” and vice versa, which confuses people. Especially when other languages are involved :stuck_out_tongue:

Here’s how the UK government (among other entities) distinguishes the two: What is the difference between sex and gender? - Office for National Statistics


This kind of mindset is a part of the problem. This is about discouraging ill-intent, not being PC.


Have the gender settings, and make this flexible and optional.

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Hi! Nice to see you here :slight_smile: can you elaborate why being inclusive is causing part of the problem?

I must have replied to the wrong post. It was a reply to the “political correctness will be the death of us” comment.


Oooooh I see. Sorry, I didn’t notice that before.

I’m just giving an idea to all the text I read here about claims of predator guys. Biological sex, medical situation, reproductive health is irrelevant to couchers, I know that (you are exagerating). But the field sex: women, men, inter-sex needs to be present in any social platform. So do you mean that the field sex (or whatever is agreed to call it) is not important in a social plarform as couchers.org?

Exactly, some of you are confusing the field sex that has any social platform, as sexual behaviour.

My point is that all these platforms that ask for your “sex” and require you to enter “man/woman/non-binary” are simply wrong. It’s a perpetuated misconception. There should be two types of fields (at least in English):

Sex: Male/Female/Intersex (irrelevant to couchers)
Gender: Man/Woman/Non-Binary/Other (very relevant to couchers)

Edit: I just looked at the Spanish definitions and am realizing that Spanish doesn’t differentiatie between “gender” and “sex” (they are both translated either as “el sexo.”) My distinction above applies to English, where there is a distinction between gender (man/woman/non-binary) and sex (biological sex, but sadly often used to mean “gender” by online platforms).

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