I am a little behind on the news, but I have been recently made aware of the new gender options available on Facebook. As of February of this year, Facebook has provided users with 56 new gender options according to ABC News. The article mentions 58 gender options, which include the traditional male and female genders that are not included in the list of recently added genders. Here are a few screenshots I’ve taken of some of the possible gender options on Facebook:
The full list of available “custom” options is as follows: Agender, Androgyne, Androgynous, Bigender, Cis, Cisgender, Cis Female, Cis Male, Cis Man, Cis Woman, Cisgender Female, Cisgender Male, Cisgender Man, Cisgender Woman, Female to Male, FTM, Gender Fluid, Gender Nonconforming, Gender Questioning, Gender Variant, Genderqueer, Intersex, Male to Female, MTF, Neither, Neutrois, Non-binary, Other, Pangender, Trans, Trans*, Trans Female, Trans* Female, Trans Male, Trans* Male, Trans Man, Trans* Man, Trans Person, Trans* Person, Trans Woman, Trans* Woman, Transfeminine, Transgender, Transgender Female, Transgender Male, Transgender Man, Transgender Person, Transgender Woman, Transmasculine, Transsexual, Transsexual Female, Transsexual Male, Transsexual Man, Transsexual Person, Transsexual Woman, Two-Spirit.
To access these new gender options, one must go into their gender tab on Facebook, where a list of 3 genders will be available: Female, Male, and Custom. Once custom is selected, you can start to type in the gender you identify with and Facebook will provide you with gender options that match. Another feature that was added to complement the expanded gender options is providing people with the availability to select their preferred gender pronouns (PGPs). The options available for those are: him, her, and them.
I like that social media platforms are beginning to recognize other gender identities besides the two worldwide accepted female and male genders. Although this is a step in the right direction, I don’t see how these are “custom” gender identities. If this was truly custom, then users wouldn’t be forced to settle for preexisting options already set by Facebook. Also labelling them as custom further implies that they are not part of the norm. Sure these gender identities are not ones that many people are familiar with and accustomed to but the way to make them part of the norm isn’t by creating a label. They should just appear one by one like the female and male options.
All in all, I do applaud Facebook for making this change and expanding its options to make its community more inclusive. I hope to see these kind of actions to be incorporated not only in other social networks, but higher institutions as well, such as colleges and various government departments.