Facebook expands gender options to include free-form field

Facebook today announced that it will expand gender options to include a free-form field. Now, if a user doesn't identify with any of the gender options listed on Facebook, they can simply write in their own. Said Facebook: "We recognize that some people face challenges sharing their true gender identity with others, and this setting gives people the ability to express themselves in an authentic way." The expanded custom gender option is available to everyone who uses Facebook in US English. 

“By empowering people to talk about their gender in their own words, Facebook continues to be a leader in its commitment to respecting and protecting LGBT users,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “Part of being who you are is just being able to describe yourself in a way that feels right to you.”

Last year, Facebook announced that it would offer a custom gender field for transgender and gender nonconforming people. The expanded gender options feature, which GLAAD helped develop, enables users to select a custom gender option, indicate preferred pronouns and adjust privacy settings for the custom gender field. Currently, users in 10 countries (including the US) across three continents can select custom gender options. 

Since 2010, GLAAD has worked closely with Facebook to ensure the safety of and improve the experience for LGBT users. In October 2010, Facebook partnered with GLAAD and other national LGBT organizations to create "Network of Support," an educational initiative that works to combat anti-LGBT bullying online. GLAAD also worked with Facebook to reshape the way that the site responds to hateful, anti-LGBT comments posted on public pages. In 2011, GLAAD worked with Facebook to add 'In a domestic partnership' and 'In a civil union' options to users' profiles.

Facebook also participates annually in GLAAD's anti-bullying campaign Spirit Day by 'going purple' on select national pages in a stand against bullying and to show its support for LGBT youth. Facebook became the first social media company to receive a GLAAD Media Award in 2012.