Facebook Introduces More Gender Options In Description - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Facebook Introduces More Gender Options In Description

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NEW YORK, NY -

Google plus offers an "other" option, but Facebook has taken it to a whole other level.

The popular social networking site now lets US users step out of the bifurcation of just male and female, giving them the opportunity to identify themselves as something else, more specific to their chosen identity.

While it might be a subtle change to some, to others, it's a major sign of the times. Facebook has added a number of options for its more than 159 million US users, allowing them to be more than just male or female on social media.

"Facebook wants to allow people to be able to express their genuine, authentic selves on the site, and we want them to express their whole selves. We want to make that available for everyone we possibly can," said Alex Schultz, the Director of Growth for Facebook.

About 50 different terms are available for users to identify themselves. They include androgynous, bi-gender, intersex, gender fluid and transsexual.

"For the first time, I get to go to the site and I get to specify to all the people that I know what my gender is and I can let only the people that I want to know see that," Brielle Harrison, a Software Engineer at Facebook said.

One California Think Tank estimates that at least 700,000 people in the US identify as transgender, a blanket term that some suggest has now grown to encompass a wide variety of gender identities.

Members of the LGBT community say it's a significant step forward in gender equality.

"The transgender community has been having a lot of progress in regards to inclusiveness and to being accepted in society at large. And this is a very good way to do it and to push it further," said Nori Herras-Castaneda.

Facebook says users in the US are already able to see the changes to modify their gender status.

The company intends to take the concept global, but only after working with activists abroad to come up with appropriate terms in other countries.

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