In what’s being hailed as a victory for the LGBTQ community, Facebook for the first time is opening up its male/female binary and adding a host of new options across the gender spectrum for people to identify themselves. Now, Facebook’s 1.15 billion users can select a third customizable option that opens up about 50 new terms, like “androgynous,” “transsexual,” or “cisgender.”
“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,” Facebook software engineer Brielle Harrison, who worked on the project, told the Associated Press. Harrison says she plans on switching her Facebook identity from Female to TransWoman. “All too often transgender people like myself and other gender nonconforming people are given this binary option, do you want to be male or female? What is your gender? And it’s kind of disheartening because none of those let us tell others who we really are,” she adds.
In addition, Facebook’s users can also indicate their preferred pronoun choice as it appears across Facebook with him, her, or them. (“Wish them a happy birthday,” for example.) Perhaps all that copious data gathering spoke volumes internally, after all.