Facebook opens to new gender definitions

Facebook opens to new gender definitions

Summary: Facebook has freed members from the bonds of being either male or female, letting people opt for custom genders such as transsexual or 'intersex' on the social network.


Along with adding scores of "custom gender" options on profile pages, Facebook is letting members select which pronouns they wish used when referring to them in posts or messages.

Along with "he/him" and "she/her" options, there is a neutral "they/their" choice.

"While to many, this change may not mean much, for those it affects, it means a great deal," Facebook said in a post at its Diversity page that included a picture of a rainbow flag on display on the company's campus in the Silicon Valley city of Menlo Park.

"We see this as one more way we can make Facebook a place where people can express their authentic identity."

Facebook said it worked with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activist groups to create a thorough list of gender options, which can be found in an "other" category on profile About pages.

Custom genders are only available to those who use Facebook in US English, but the company plans to expand the range in the future.

Topics: Social Enterprise, Web development

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  • They just want more personal info about their users

    Okay, great. And they also probably added about 50 different ways they can violate my privacy. Fortunately (for me) I started using Ravetree instead of Facebook. It's so much more useful and they don't screw with my personal information.
  • Well . . .

    Well - there are legit cases where somebody's biological gender is messed up (e.g. de la Chapelle syndrome), but it does seem as if people want gender to be about their emotions. Not so sure I like the trend of making some sort of artificial "gender" that has nothing to do with our actual gender.
    • Agreed

      When you aren't dealing with terms that have a consistent definition, it can be really hard to avoid stepping on toes. IE, two people identify as intersex, but for different reasons, and both perceive the other to be 'doing it wrong'.

      'Call me what I feel like' is dangerous, because it's pretty hard to tell how people feel just by looking at them.
      luke mayson