Facebook now lets users set their gender to...anything at all.
In a significant acknowledgement of the complexity of gender identity, Facebook now lets users set their gender to...anything at all. Last year, the social networking giant took a big step forward by creating 50+ gender options to choose from. Prior to that policy change, the site had attracted raised eyebrows for identity policing, but now it is going beyond the pre-set options.
Image by Sean MacEntee via Creative Commons
Users may now type in an infinite amount of gender descriptors. They may even choose more than one at the same time. You may express your true gender identity as a cis woman, a transcendental genderless muffin, gender fluid, a cookie dough loving trans man, a messy and tenacious agender boss, a male, a man, a female dude, a lady, a women, a lunar being—literally, anything at all.
The new system eschews the drop down menu and opts instead for a blank text box. When users begin to type, pre-set options are suggested but are not in any way mandatory.
Additionally, Facebook seems to understand and respect that while self discovery and identification is important, revealing one’s gender identity to the world is not always so easy, or even a priority for some. The site allows users to choose whether their selected gender be public, friends only, visible to a select few, or private. Users may also select what pronouns they would like to be addressed by. Gender-neutral, female and male options are plentiful.