In new profile feature, Facebook offers choices for gender identity

SAN FRANCISCO Thu Feb 13, 2014 5:14pm EST

A man is silhouetted against a video screen with an Facebook logo as he poses with an Dell laptop in this photo illustration taken in the central Bosnian town of Zenica, August 14, 2013. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

A man is silhouetted against a video screen with an Facebook logo as he poses with an Dell laptop in this photo illustration taken in the central Bosnian town of Zenica, August 14, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Dado Ruvic

Related Topics

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - For the first time, Facebook Inc is letting users of its online social network identify themselves as a gender other than male and female.

The basic user profile for members in the United States now includes a customizable category among the gender types that users must select, the world's No.1 Internet social network announced on Thursday, the day the feature became available for U.S. members using the site's English-language version.

Those who select that option can select up to 10 gender identifications, including "transgender," "intersex" and "fluid."

The company said it worked with a leading group of gay and transgender advocacy organizations to come up with the selection of identity options.

Until now, Facebook's 1.23 billion members could only select male or female for their genders, which Facebook requires users to state in their profiles. Users of rival Google Inc's Google+ social network already had an "other" option for gender.

Facebook said users also can control the audience who can view a custom choice, noting the challenges that some people may face in publicly sharing their gender identity.

Users can also choose the personal pronoun to which they are referred publicly. A message on Facebook might now invite a user's friend to write a birthday message on "their" wall, instead of "his" or "her" wall.

"We want you to feel comfortable being your true, authentic self," Facebook said.

(Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; Editing by Amanda Kwan)

(In 2nd paragraph, this story corrects date of announcement to Thursday, not Wednesday)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (1)
chrisp114 wrote:
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.

Feb 13, 2014 7:54pm EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.