In this week of Facebook lookbacks and overall viral nostalgia, it’s becoming clear that much of our public persona is expressed through the internet, whether we like it or not. So it reasons that we should have all the tools available to make our social media presence as true to ourselves as we wish. This is part of why Facebook’s announcement today is so meaningful: in addition to “Male” and “Female” settings, people who identify outside of the gender binary now have a “Custom” gender setting at their disposal.
As explained by Facebook, "People who select a custom gender will now have the ability to choose the pronoun they’d like to be referred to publicly — male (he/his), female (she/her) or neutral (they/their).” Further options include “Transgender,” “Gender Fluid,” and “Androgynous.” See a more complete list of identities and pronouns here. Facebook users can specify members of the network with whom they’d like to share their gender identity. The social network is not only a product of contemporary society; in turn, the website itself influences our culture, our attitudes, and our understandings. "This new feature is a step forward in recognizing transgender people and allows them to tell their authentic story in their own words,” explains LGBT rights activist and GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis.
For now, the “Custom” setting only appears for U.S. Facebook users, but All Out, an LGBT rights organization, is in the process of petitioning for the extension of the options to global users. We hope to see a continuation of support of all communities from Facebook, a company whose business relies on providing a safe and accepting social environment.
Thanks to NBC News
Images via The School Philly, NBC News and Slate
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