Great news: Facebook, the public cyber-mask most people put on when interacting with the world, will no longer require its users to adhere to a gender binary. Today the company has unveiled a customizable gender option with over fifty different terms, as well as three different preferred pronoun choices: him, her or they.
According to the Associated Press, the changes are "aimed at giving people more choices in how they describe themselves." Suggested gender-identifying terms provided by Facebook include androgynous, gender fluid, non-binary, trans* and cisgender. This change is timely, too: it comes just three days after a piece in The Week criticized the social media platform for "forcing people to chose male or female when creating profiles and asking those who hadn't specified before the requirement to make a pronoun choice." Facebook originally defended its decision to do so by insisting that "translations wind up being too confusing when people have not specified a sex on their profiles."
Here's a screenshot of the gender input options, before and after:
(In the pronoun drop down menu, you can now choose between female, male and neutral.)
Being misgendered or called the incorrect gender pronoun is a big deal; in the same vein, it's wildly marginalizing to label a nonbinary gender identification as "confusing." It's wonderful to see Facebook recognizing this and responding to criticism. WELCOME TO 2014, PEOPLE!
Image via Getty.