Why Facebook’s new custom gender option matters



On Thursday, Facebook (s fb) announced that instead of identifying as male or female (or hiding gender entirely), U.S. users will now be able to chose a custom gender, along with a gender-sensitive pronoun that allows for use of the singular “they.”

On the surface, it appears to be a small change. But Facebook’s decision to allow custom gender grants visibility to users who identify as queer, trans, genderqueer, intersex and more of fifty recognized gender-presentations.

“Custom” now sits alongside the “Male” and “Female” options in the “Edit profile” page, allowing any user to fill a blank box with the gender presentation that best suits them. In addition, Facebook asks for pronoun support — either “he,” “she” or “they,” for status updates and birthday messages.


Those who choose a custom gender will also be allowed to control who sees it. This is a huge deal, particularly for trans, genderqueer, and intersex users…

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