Gender Inclusion at Focusmate

We want people of every gender to feel welcome on Focusmate. 

While the Focusmate community is an exceptionally safe and supportive one, the broader Internet (and world) is not. Oftentimes, women receive unwanted attention from men, and trans and gender diverse people experience harassment and violence.

Many Focusmate community members, especially women, said that they wanted better tools to protect themselves.

Our intention has been to collaborate with and be guided by you, our community. In the last few months, we’ve spoken with numerous trans and gender diverse members, who have shaped everything from designs to copywriting. This was truly a team effort—thank you.

Today we are introducing the ability to choose which genders you feel safe working with.

Please let us know what you think so far! We will continue to make Focusmate more inclusive.

Table of Contents:

  1. Set a gender preference
  2. Our principles for gender inclusion
  3. Share your feedback
  4. Glossary of gender terms

Set a gender preference

To set a gender preference, go to Settings >> Partner Preferences

To set your gender without setting a preference, go to Settings >> Account.

Our principles for gender inclusion

We developed gender preferences with the help of many people, including Jill Binder, Founder of Diverse in Tech, and Tim MacGougan, Chief Product Officer at Hinge, a leading dating app, to leverage their deep expertise in this area. We spoke to numerous community members as well, including Sheila Athens, Paula B, Carey Davenport, Elaine Gee-Wong, Bashar Jabbour, Dylan Parry Jones, Inga Reichelt, and many more. Thank you!!

We each define our own gender

What it means: According to GLAAD, “gender identity is a person’s internal, deeply held sense of their gender,” and we agree. We strive to give you full control over how you define your gender on Focusmate.

One of Focusmate’s strengths is our diverse community. We are committed to making sure that trans and non-binary people feel welcome here and know that their gender will be respected.

In practice: If you decide to set your gender, you can select from a list that includes transgender, cisgender, and non-binary, in addition to woman and man. You can also write in your gender.

We each decide if and how we want to share our gender

What it means: On Focusmate, setting your gender will always be optional. We will explain how your gender will be used, and give you the information you need to decide whether you want to share it.

In practice: By setting your gender, you help us find partners for people who want to choose which genders to work with. It also enables you to make this choice yourself. Your gender will not appear on your profile, but your partners will know that your gender matched their settings.

Gender inclusion requires representation and empowerment

What it means: To build a gender inclusive product, we need gender diversity represented in user feedback and in our staff. And, inclusion requires not only representation but empowerment—spaces, culture, and processes that uplift diverse voices.

In practice: Over the last several months, we’ve spoken with people of many different genders to understand their needs, to give feedback on our possible solutions, and to review our designs and copywriting.

We acknowledge that our staff is currently four cisgender men. As we grow our team—including hiring a product designer and software engineer in the coming months—we’re committed to building a team that represents the diversity of our community.

Together we are the foundation

It’s up to each of us to uphold a vision of a Focusmate community where everyone belongs and feels safe. We do that through every choice we make: to be kind, accepting, and supportive to one another every single day. (Please read our community guidelines.)

Share your feedback

This is just the start. We aim to continuously improve. To that end, we’d love to hear from you: What do you think so far? What is and isn’t working? How can we make Focusmate more inclusive for you?

Please email us at gender@focusmate.com with your feedback.

Glossary of gender terms

Below, we’ve defined the gender terms we use on our site, so that you know what we mean when we use them.

  • Trans and Transgender. An umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. [GLAAD]
  • Cis and Cisgender. A person whose gender identity aligns with those typically associated with the sex assigned to them at birth. [Human Rights Campaign]
  • Non-binary and/or genderqueer. Terms used by some people who experience their gender identity and/or gender expression as falling outside the categories of man and woman. They may define their gender as falling somewhere in between man and woman, or they may define it as wholly different from these terms. The term is not a synonym for transgender or transsexual and should only be used if someone self-identifies as non-binary and/or genderqueer. [GLAAD]
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