Facebook adds new custom gender options


by CBR Staff Writer| 14 February 2014

Goes beyond male and female with 50 odd options including transgender, cisgender, gender fluid, intersex and neither.

Facebook has introduced about 50 new gender options other than male and female, as part of efforts to let users customise their gender.

Currently being offered for those using the site in US English, the new gender options including 'bi-gender', 'transgender', 'androgynous' and 'transsexual', would allow users to express themselves better.

The new policy has been shaped after meetings with five chief gay and transgender rights' organisations, the new scheme also allows choosing whether to be referred to as 'he', 'she' or 'they'.

Facebook said in a statement: "We collaborated with our Network of Support, a group of leading LGBT advocacy organisations, to offer an extensive list of gender identities that many people use to describe themselves.

"Moreover, people who select a custom gender will now have the ability to choose the pronoun they'd like to be referred to publicly -- male (he/his), female (she/her) or neutral (they/their), the social media major added.

"We recognise that some people face challenges sharing their true gender identity with others, and this setting gives people the ability to express themselves in an authentic way."

The new option comes with an in-built privacy setting that allows users to manage who can view their gender identity.

Faceboook's latest move is considered as a key step toward recognition for people who cannot self-identify as male or female.

Facebook software engineer Brielle Harrison told the Associated Press that there's going to be a lot of people for whom this is going to mean nothing, but for the few it does impact, it means the world.

"All too often, transgender people like myself and other gender-nonconforming people are given this binary option, do you want to be male or female? What is your gender? And it's kind of disheartening because none of those let us tell others who we really are," she added.

"This really changes that, and for the first time I get to go to the site and specify to all the people I know what my gender is."

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