Facebook UK reveals custom gender option

Brits can now choose to describe themselves as male, female or a custom option

Facebook UK reveals custom gender option
27 June 2014

After a successful launch in the US earlier this year, Facebook has announced a new custom gender option in the UK.

The social networking giant is now offering people to select a custom gender, as well as choosing a pronoun they would like to be referred to publicly.

These options are male (he/his), female (she/her) or neutral (they/their).

Facebook users can also choose the audience who sees their custom gender, as some people face challenges with sharing their true gender identity with some people.

Simon Milner, policy director at UK, Middle East and Africa Facebook, said: ‘When you come to Facebook to connect with the people, causes, and organisations you care about, we want you to feel comfortable being your true self.

‘An important part of this is the expression of gender especially when it extends beyond the definitions of just “male’ or ‘female”. Today’s announcement provides significantly more options for people in the UK.’

After working with LGBTI advocacy organizations in the US, Facebook also consulted UK experts.

Jay Stewart, co-founder and director at Gendered Intelligence, said he welcomed the inclusion of non-binary identities that are so often overlooked or erased.

‘Facebook’s decision to better reflect trans lives online sends a message to young trans people that their identities and concerns are legitimate and that their voices have been listened to,’ he said.

Professor Stephen Whittle, vice-president at Press for Change, added: ‘Gender identities are complex and for many people, describing themselves as just a man or just a woman has always been inadequate.

‘The European Court of Human Rights has upheld the right to develop our gender identity, as key to our personal autonomy.

‘By challenging the gender binary, Facebook will finally allow thousands of people to describe themselves as they are now and it will allow future generation of kids to become truly comfortable in their own skins.’

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