Facebook expands gender options

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Facebook widens gender options

Facebook has expanded its gender options following a series of consultations with gay and transgender advocacy groups.

The new feature, which is currently available to people using Facebook in US English, contains around 50 gender options. These have been added to provide users with more choice regarding how they describe themselves on the social media site.

Users also have the opportunity to specify whether they would like to be referred to as male, female or neutrally. For example, people can decide whether information seen by other Facebook users identifies them as "him", "her" or "them".

Express your true, authentic self

A Facebook post on the update said: "we're proud to offer a new custom gender option to help you better express your own identity on Facebook." Facebook engineer Brielle Harrison also commented: "There's going to be a lot of people for whom this is going to mean nothing, but for the few it does impact, it means the world."

The move does however come years after people first started lobbying for more gender options on Facebook. While Google+ already offers "male", "female" and "other" to its users, many believe that the Facebook update puts the social media network ahead of all others.

Users will still be able to choose to keep their gender identity private on Facebook, just as they have been able to do in the past.

Natalie Booth, head of search at theEword, has said: "By including more gender options, Facebook can make sure that all its users are able to express themselves authentically and remain comfortable while using the social media network."