You don't have to be just male or female on Facebook anymore. The largest social media site is adding a customizable option with about 50 different terms people can use to identify their gender as well as three preferred pronoun choices.
Facebook said the changes initially cover the company's 159 million monthly users in the U.S. and are aimed at giving people more choices in how they describe themselves, such as androgynous, bi-gender, intersex, gender fluid or transsexual.
"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," said Facebook software engineer Brielle Harrison, who worked on the project and is herself undergoing gender transformation, from male to female. On Thursday, while watchdogging the software for any problems, she said she was also changing her Facebook identity from Female to TransWoman.
"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 said. "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."
Guillermo Robles, President of Blind LGBT Pride stated, "This is one more step acknowledging those that do not simply view themselves as neither male nor female. This action may appear to be unimportant to some but to so many it gives them the choice to express to the world who they are in their terms. The members of Blind LGBT Pride applauds this choice by Facebook to give voice to all of its users."