Thanks to the Facebook Diversity Group, your favourite/least favourite social networking site has now changed their ‘About’ pages to add custom gender options. Not unlike the changes to Australian passports and NSW law, this relatively simple change means a lot. It marks progress for humans and brings us all closer to being freed from these pesky gender constraints.
In a statement Facebook said, “This will open up a menu where you can select up to ten gender definitions. Among these are genders such as “cisgender,” “transgender” and “intersex,” as well as many other nuanced options. Beyond that, we are now allowing people to select a “neutral” pronoun on the site. For those not comfortable identifying as traditionally male or female, there is now an option to be referred to as “they/their/them.” For instance, instead of saying “Write on Matt’s wall for HIS birthday,” the text will read “Write on Matt’s wall for THEIR birthday.”
Mark Zuckerberg and his colleagues who have previously been publicly supportive of equality (can confirm: did march in the San Francisco’s 2013 gay pride parade) and LGBT rights, are currently flying a rainbow flag on their Silicon Valley campus. The statement on their site went on to say: “While to many this change may not mean much, for those it affects it means a great deal. We see this as one more way we can make Facebook a place where people can express their authentic identity.”
Sarah Kate Ellis, president of LGBT rights group GLAAD who helped Facebook with the adjustments, today said, “This new feature is a step forward in recognizing transgender people and allows them to tell their authentic story in their own words. Once again, Facebook is on the forefront of ensuring that the platform is safe and accessible to all of its LGBT users.”
For right now these options are only readily available to users on a ‘Facebook in US English’ setting but it will soon be extended out.