News broke today that the Social Media site is making changes with Facebook increasing gender options on a user’s profile. Facebook has always aimed for users to reveal their true identities on the site, and they have now taken that to the next level. It is now going to allow users to select a ‘custom gender’ for their profiles; giving those who do not identify as male or female to select a different gender identity.

Facebook stated that the 50-odd options, which include ‘bi-gender’, ‘transgender’, ‘cisgender’ and ‘transsexual’ will allow people to express themselves in an authentic way. Users are also given the ability to choose the pronoun they’d like to be referred to publicly; he/his, she/her or they/their. Facebook continued to say “when you come to Facebook to connect with the people, causes, and organisations you care about, we want you to feel comfortable being your true, authentic self. An important part of this is the expression of gender, especially when it extends beyond the definitions of just ‘male’ or ‘female’.”

Facebook worked alongside a group of leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy organisations to produce the new gender categories. The Facebook increasing gender options move reflects the growing influence of the transgender rights movement in the US, which is demanding similar civil rights to the gay community. The San-Francisco based Transgender Law Centre welcomed the move issuing the statement, “many transgender people will be thrilled at the news.”

To edit your gender status – Facebook has provided the following instructions:

  • Go to your Timeline
  • Click Update Info at the bottom of your cover photo
  • Then continue to click Edit in the top right of the section you’d like to change
  • Enter your new info and click Save

Facebook, which has 1.23 billion active monthly users around the world has tweaked its privacy settings to let users control with whom they share their custom gender.

These changes are currently only available in the US and it is unsure when they will be made available to users around the world. Facebook increasing gender options presents another significant milestone for the social media site – and one sure to make many people happy.

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