Facebook Adds New Gender Identity Terms

Not just male or female anymore

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Robert Galbraith / Reuters

Facebook users no longer have to identify their gender as male, female or hide it altogether, a major change for the social network.

Starting Thursday for U.S. users, Facebook will allow users to select from approximately 50 alternative gender options as well as 3 possible pronouns: “His,” “her” or “them.”

Facebook users can change their gender to a custom setting by visiting their Facebook profile, clicking “Update Info,” then “Edit” at the “Basic Information” setting.

Here’s a screenshot of what the new entry field looks like:

Facebook Gender

Facebook

“This new feature is a step forward in recognizing transgender people and allows them to tell their authentic story in their own words,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, president of LGBT rights group GLAAD, of Facebook’s changes. GLADD assisted Facebook in developing the new feature. “Once again, Facebook is on the forefront of ensuring that the platform is safe and accessible to all of its LGBT users.”

Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, have long been publicly supportive of LGBT rights. Zuckerberg and other Facebook employees marched in San Francisco’s gay pride parade last year.

[AP]

8 comments
MahendraLimaye
MahendraLimaye

It seems that FB will be involved in more litigation's in various countries as use/disclosure of such words may be an offence in those countries. 

GauravBidasaria
GauravBidasaria

There are 56 different options so far identified as per this post - buff.ly/1gemOod


Dont you think it is all a bit complicated now!!

chrispy
chrispy

Okay, great. And they also probably added about 50 different ways they can violate my privacy. Fortunately (for me) I started using Ravetree instead of Facebook. It's so much more useful and they don't screw with my personal information.

SmoothEdward1
SmoothEdward1

The problem with this is it perpetuates the continuing misuse of pronouns. There is no "them" unless it is more than one person. The way "them" is being used today makes the writer look illiterate. I'm all for LGBT rights but changing the language because of a tiny minority of transgender people is way over the top. Make up a new pronoun, if you must, and add to the language, instead of wrecking the one we have.

KelseyDeLaLlave
KelseyDeLaLlave

@SmoothEdward1 ...its much more polite than referencing someone as a she when they don't identify..... Some that identify as transgender have pronouns such as 'zhey' or 'zhem'.... whats funny is for generations older gens believe that younger generations are ruining the language.... get over it, this is a big improvement... 


do yourself a favor and put yourself in the place of a transgender.... someone who identifies with neither male nor female.... 'they' or 'them' is much better than being misidentified. Like its really going to ruin your day that the definition of 'them' 'their' or 'they' is being expanded

KadiDulude
KadiDulude

Exactly! I thought "them" means when a couple wants to use one account. Like my husband: he refuses to get a Facebook account but likes to stay on touch with his friends and relatives through my account. So I would love the option to publicly say it's the two of us using the account. Besides: if someone is transgender, there are actual words for "them" already! It's either transgender, bisexual, polysexual, pansexual etc. Why not add "The others" to the list as well then. Just in case there' another group of minorities who don't like to be called male or female :-p

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

@SmoothEdward1  

Language, like everything else, changes with time.

"Them" and "their" as pronouns have changed over the years to mean not only two or more people, but an acceptable indefinite pronoun for "his or her".  There is no pronoun for someone who identifies themselves as not male or female.  Once upon a time, "gay" meant festive and fun.  Hence the usage in "Deck the Halls" when it says, "Don we now our gay apparel..."  A "f a g" was a cigarette (and still is used as such in Great Britain).  Today, you can't type that word because it's considered derogatory.

"Them" is still considered a pronoun (as is "their"), so at least that usage is retained.  It's always been an indefinite pronoun as well.  It's just gotten a little bit more indefinite.  One learns what the indefinite pronoun is from the context of the conversation, just like always.

A person from 1950 dropped into 2014 would have a hard time understanding things like e-mail, fax, tablet (other than a pill), gay (versus "homosexual"), African-American or Black (they used Negro), and about ten thousand other words that have come into being, been reassigned, lost usage, or added or changed meaning over the last 64 years.  But like anything in language, once you understand how it's different, you pick it up pretty quickly.

SmoothEdward1
SmoothEdward1

@DeweySayenoff  Their is not an "acceptable" indefinite pronoun for him and her. It's being used that way because of gender sensitivity around using the masculine pronoun, or terms like, mankind, but it is not correct, nor should it be. Invent something new if you must, but a transgendered person is one or the other. I assume that's why they made the change.  Language can and perhaps should evolve, but that's not the same thing as dumbing it down. Our literary skills have really declined even since I was a boy, and we became to willing to let it go to avoid embarrassing students.