At present, the most popular networking site in the world gives its users 58 gender options. From today however, they are allowing user to type in anything in the gender field of their profiles. They have left a blank against the gender column where the user can fill up anything as long as it is not offensive.
Till a year ago, the choices were: male, female, or nothing. Facebook expanded gender identity in February 2014. They introduced a dropdown menu with 56 more options —things like Cis Female, Transfeminine, Two-Spirit, and Androgyne. Now they have made yet another addition to that drop down menu, where you can fill anything in the blank box that appears opposite it.
The move that came about last year was accompanied by a fair bit of controversies. The site was flooded with comments, creating quite a buzz on thereon. While some were grateful about being able to express their sexuality, there were others who were hostile. Some others were even confused.
For those who want to see how it works, go to the “About” section of your profile and then edit the “Contact and Basic Info” section.
“We recognize 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,” Facebook said.
The new option has already been rolled out to the users of the site based in the United States for now.
“By empowering people to talk about their gender in their own words, Facebook continues to be a leader in its commitment to respecting and protecting LGBT users,” GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said. “Part of being who you are is just being able to describe yourself in a way that feels right to you.”
People can also choose what pronoun they prefer: he/his, she/her or they/their. And they can control the audience who sees their gender.
The social site which now has 1.39 billion active users across the world has not released how many of their users have chosen gender identity options beyond man or woman, citing privacy concerns and a general practice of not sharing user information.