Until now Facebook users have had to identify as “male” or “female” when signing up for an account, but from today people will be able to select one of 50 gender options including “intersex” and “androgynous”
Until now Facebook users have had to choose “male” or “female” as a gender when signing up for an account, but from today people will be able to select one of 50 options including “intersex” and “androgynous”.
The site also allows users to select a gender-neutral pronoun, so the site would suggest to friends that they “wish them a happy birthday” rather than “wish him a happy birthday”.
Facebook software engineer Brielle Harrison, who helped implement the changes and is herself undergoing gender transformation from male to female, told AP: “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.
“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.”
The company said that the changes would initially be rolled-out to users in North America, but as of this morning Facebook accounts in the UK were also able to access the new gender options. University of California thinktank The Williams Institute estimates that 700,000 people in the US identify in some way as transgender.
The list of 50 options was drawn up after consultations with a range of gay and transgender groups, but will still allow users to keep their sex entirely private if they wish to do so.