By VITAMIN W Staff
Facebook users will no longer have to be forced to identify as male or female.
Androgynous, bi-gender, intersex, gender fluid, and transsexual are among the 50 descriptions people will now have the option to choose, and users will also be allowed to keep their gender identity private, if they so desire, the AP reported.
The social network rolled out the changes Thursday for its 150 million users in the United States. There's no word on when it will be available to all of Facebook's 1.15 billion active users worldwide.
In a statement on its diversity page, Facebook said, "When you come to Facebook to connect with the people, causes, and organizations 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.' So today, we’re proud to offer a new custom gender option to help you better express your own identity on Facebook."
Facebook software engineer Brielle Harrison, who worked on the project and is undergoing gender transformation from male to female, told the Associated Press, "There's going to be a lot of people for whom this is going to mean nothing, but for the few it does impact, it means the world."
Harrison said she was also changing her Facebook identity from Female to TransWoman.
To edit your gender status (or other personal information), Facebook offers these instructions:
- Go to your Timeline (which we sometimes refer to as your profile).
- Click Update Info at the bottom of your cover photo.
- Click Edit in the top right of the section you'd like to change. Pick custom. (The new gender options are only accessible within an autocomplete drop-down menu, so you have to begin typing to see them appear.)
- Enter your new info and click Save.
As you type, an autocomplete feature brings up a list of possible options. They include androgynous, cisgender (fe)male, bi-gender, trans*(wo)man, transgender (fe)male, agender, pangender, gender fluid, genderqueer, gender questioning, and many more.