Facebook announced today that they have added options to choose a custom gender, other than male or female, and assign the appropriate pronouns to yourself while retaining the ability to filter who is able to see your selections. For transgender and gender non-conforming people, this is a welcome update that will ensure they are able to safely express their authentic selves online.

“It may be hard for some people to understand the importance of having the ability to select from multiple genders online. People who do not fit narrow gender stereotypes may have complex identities that they wish to express. Many transgender people will be thrilled to learn that Facebook now has a tool to ensure the appropriate pronouns are used across the platform, including third-party interactions. We applaud Facebook for making it possible for people to be their authentic selves online, and we are honored to be in the Network of Support that will continue to help Facebook improve this functionality,” said Masen Davis, Executive Director of Transgender Law Center.

Brie Harrison, a contributing engineer to the project, added, “I joined this company because of its goal to be a place for people to be their absolute authentic self, while offering control over who sees that identity.  That’s why I am so proud of what we launched today.  We at Facebook believe that an open and connected world will ultimately make the world more accepting.  This change may only affect a small number of people, but to them, it’s the beginning of something that makes a world of difference.”

“A lot of people self-identify in a way that transcends traditional gender definitions of ‘male’ and ‘female’ – for many of us, it is very important to be able to identify as a genderqueer, non-binary, gender fluid or gender nonconforming person. These changes will allow many more Facebook users to be our authentic selves online. It is really awesome, and Facebook is to be commended for this,” said Tracy Garza, Racial Justice Intern at Transgender Law Center and Co-Chair of San Francisco Trans March.

The new options are available on your Facebook profile by clicking About, Basics, and Edit. To learn more visit https://www.facebook.com/facebookdiversity.

Tracy Garza, Racial Justice Intern, on BBC World: