Social network Facebook has recently introduced dozens of options for users to identify their gender, although the social media giant said it would not be releasing a comprehensive list.
Previously, users had to identify themselves as male or female. They were also given the option of not answering or keeping their gender private. Users can now select a “custom” gender option. Facebook will also allow users to select between three pronouns: “him,” “her” or “their.”
“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,” Facebook software engineer Brielle Harrison told the Associated Press. Harrison, who worked on the project, is in the process of gender transition, from male to female.
The move by Facebook represents a basic and a yet significant form of recognition of the nation’s growing transgender rights movement, which has been spurred by veteran activists and young people who identify as transgender at younger and younger ages. The Human Rights Campaign last year found that 10 percent of the 10,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender youths it surveyed used “other” or wrote in their own gender terms.
In the past decade, the transgender movement has become much more organized and outspoken, demanding the kind of civil rights and respect already sought by gay activists. During this time, the transgender umbrella has been growing well beyond transsexuals to encompass a wide variety of gender identities.
The move by Facebook came after years of lobbying from users, some who started Facebook pages to petition for the change. Google+ offers male, female and “other” as choices, but transgender advocates said Facebook’s many specific options puts the platform well ahead of any other online community. About 1 percent of Google+ users identify as other.
The following are the 58 gender option that have been identified so far:
Female to Male
Male to Female