In new profile feature, Facebook offers choices for gender identity

SAN FRANCISCO Thu Feb 13, 2014 8:07pm EST

A portrait of the Facebook logo in Ventura, California December 21, 2013. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

A portrait of the Facebook logo in Ventura, California December 21, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Eric Thayer

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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)

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Comments (5)
disengage wrote:
im glad, for Facebook and all those, that are slightly different from the norm, as perceived by many…they have been accepted on facebook, open…people should take care of THEIR FAMILIES period… mind their own business, when it comes to others…freedom, of being whom you are, is what made our country great..iran says , we have no gays….the soviet Russia, persecutes anyone they feel like..don’t lose what made America great…those that cast the stones are doomed, to experience that which they wish to crush…

Feb 15, 2014 9:50pm EST  --  Report as abuse
disengage wrote:
we are a nation of many peoples and sexual preferences…it is good that facebook recognizes this…congrats

Feb 15, 2014 11:35pm EST  --  Report as abuse
disengage wrote:
congrats to facebook

Feb 15, 2014 11:45pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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