Facebook announced today that users would be able to enter a custom gender label on their personal profile pages. Previously, users had been limited to either female or male, or simply not displaying any gender information on their pages. Now, users are able to enter a custom label and specify what pronouns they would prefer to be referred to: him, her, or they.
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.
Similar to Facebook's political views section, a user may select a gender identity from a variety of pre-listed options (e.g. Agender, Male to Female, Cisgendered Female, Cis Man, and Two-Spirit) that appear once a user begins typing.
While "male" and "female" options are automatically displayed on a user's public profile (with an option to remove), a user who opts for a customized gender label are defaulted to display only to that user's friends.
It is unknown how many Facebook users will use the "custom" gender option.
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