Facebook will now allow users to add their own description beyond the pre-set options to accurately describe their gender identity. Users can also control with whom they share their gender identity, an important safety and privacy feature.
The change builds on the “Custom Gender” option introduced last year by Facebook, which provides users a list of more than 50 gender identities they can choose from to describe themselves while building their online profile at the site. The feature will now include a free-form field in which individuals who use Facebook in US English can self-identify with their own words.
“Facebook’s new free-form field for gender identity is a huge step forward for transgender, gender nonconforming and gender queer youth,” said GLSEN Executive Director, Dr. Eliza Byard. “The Internet is an essential source of resources, support and community for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth, and one of its most important ‘living rooms’ now better reflects their reality and self-understanding.”