You now have 58 options to select from when letting Facebook know your gender. None of them are "None of your beeswax".
You're now no longer restricted to a simple binary of "male" and "female" when selecting your gender on your Facebook profile. The social network has begun rolling out an expanded list of 58 gender options, aimed at giving people who don't identify along simple binary lines more ways to express who they are.
"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," said Facebook software engineer and trans* woman Brielle Harrison. "All too often transgender people like myself and other gender nonconforming people are given this binary option, do you want to be male or female? What is your gender? And it's kind of disheartening because none of those let us tell others who we really are. This really changes that, and for the first time I get to go to the site and specify to all the people I know what my gender is."
Last year, the Human Rights Campaign found that of over 10,000 LGBT youths surveyed, 10 per cent identified their gender as "other". With 1.23 billion active users on Facebook, that amounts to a large number of users who felt poorly represented by the website.
"Over the past few years, a person's Facebook profile truly has become their online identity, and now Facebook has taken a milestone step to allow countless people to more honestly and accurately represent themselves," Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said. "Facebook's action is one that I hope others heed in supporting individuals' multifaceted identities."
However, out of the 58 options, there's no option to keep your gender to yourself. Although you can keep your gender off your public profile, should you not wish others to see it, you can't keep it from the social network — presumably so that Facebook can more effectively target marketing at users.
The list of 58 options, including male and female, is below. You can see how to update your profile here. Be aware that the full rollout will probably take a few days.
Female to Male
Male to Female