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New gender options makes Facebook more inclusive

New custom genders mean people aren't locked into a narrow binary that may not accurately describe their gender identity.
New custom genders mean people aren't locked into a narrow binary that may not accurately describe their gender identity. Facebook

YOU don't have to be just male or female on Facebook anymore. The social media giant is adding a customizable option with about 50 different terms people can use to identify their gender as well as three preferred pronoun choices: him, her or them.

Facebook said the changes, shared with The Associated Press before the launch on Thursday, 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.

Facebook plans to take it global after working with activists abroad to come up with terms appropriate in other countries.

"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 undergoing gender transformation from male to female. She said she was 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."

Read more at the NZ Herald

Topics:  facebook games and gadgets gender lgbtiq rights social media


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