Finally, Facebook has caught up to modern gender politics.
In a new feature rolled out Thursday, the social network’s 159 million U.S. users will now be able to describe their gender however they like. Previously, a person’s options were “male,” “female” or “other,” and the pronoun used to refer to people was always, awkwardly, “them.”
“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,” Facebook software engineer Brielle Harrison told The Associated Press. Harrison, who worked on the project, is undergoing a gender transformation from male to female. She plans to change her Facebook identity from “Female” to “Trans Woman.”
Facebookers can either type in their own gender descriptions or choose from Facebook’s auto-suggested terms. Here are a few highlights from its list:
– Male to Female
– Gender questioning
– Gender Variant
– Gender fluid
Slate took the time to write out all 56.
You can also choose which pronoun you’d like used when Facebook refers to you. Your options are male (him), female (her) or neutral (them). A huge victory for grammarians everywhere. And you can choose who can see your gender identity or keep it private altogether.
Here’s how you change your gender on Facebook:
1. Click the About section on your Facebook profile page.
2. Scroll down until you see a section on the right side that says Basic Information.Click the Edit button on the upper-right corner of the box.
3. At the top of the box, you’ll see the option to choose your gender. Click that and tab down to Custom.
4. From there, you’ll have the option to type in whatever you like. Facebook will auto-generate suggestions for you along the way.
5. When you’re all done, scroll down to the bottom of the box and click Save (or Cancel, if you need to do some more gender questioning).
Facebook still has some work to do. As The Verge points out, there’s no option for parents to choose a gender other than “son” or “daughter.”
But at the very least, your digital friends can finally stop pigeonholing your gender identity. As silly as that sentence might sound, that means real progress in the modern world.