When it comes to social networking it seems that Facebook has always been one step ahead of the game, and on Thursday the network made no exception to that rule when it released news of its new gender neutral identity option.
Many members (LGBTQ members especially) are excited as the social network now allows users to select a custom gender for their profiles, meaning that users who do not identify as male or female can type in a more appropriate response, whatever they see fit. Users can change their previous gender settings by clicking “About” and selecting the “Edit” icon in the upper right hand corner of the “Basic Information” tab.
Until Thursday users were only given the option to select their gender as either “male” (“he” or “his”) or “female” (“she” and her”). However, now users have the option to click “custom” and type in their preferred gender. Taking it a step further, users also have the option to choose a gender neutral pronoun (“they” or “their”). The social networking website gives users an example under the pronoun box “Wish them a happy birthday” rather than “him” or “her”.
“While to many this change may not mean much, for those it affects it means a great deal.” One spokesperson for Facebook wrote in an email. “We see this as one more way we can make Facebook a place where users can express their authentic identity.” Facebook officially announced the change on their Diversity page after working alongside a group of leading LGBT organizations to produce a list of gender options.