Facebook is introducing new gender options that will allow users to have complete freedom when it comes to selecting their gender. While to some the change might seem slight, when being compared to the major social injustices that are occurring online every second, it’s a big step for a social network which has never before allowed users to have an open form on the gender line. Previously, users would have the option to choose from a number of predefined gender options that many LGBT advocacy groups called limiting and ultimately discriminating against those of different sexual orientations.
Facebook shared the news in a post that read in part, “if you do not identify with the pre-populated list of gender identities, you can add your own.” The post then went on to point out that “As before, you can add up to ten gender terms and also have the ability to control the audience with whom you would like to share your custom gender.” The tone of the message was what was important to many advocates of LGBT rights here in the United States, where a continued fight has been happening on this front for a number of years.
In 2014, Facebook executed some other changes around the gender and identification process that allowed more updated methods for identifying one’s sexual orientation, and the person. This expansion though is one that will heavily improve the situation – since Facebook has such a large presence in the social networking world. Ultimately, the presence combined with the fact that Facebook has been relatively flexible on issues surrounding the equality movements here in the United States is crucial. This will prove to be the first step, in what will become a multi-layer platform that Facebook begins to focus really on driving home in the coming months and years on the social network.
Supporters applauded the move and pointed out that it was a powerful move due to Facebook’s overwhelmingly positive standing in the LGBT community.