Facebook adds 70 gender options for Irish users

Changes are aimed at giving people more choice in how they describe themselves

Facebook Ireland managing director Sonia Flynn said the custom gender option means people in Ireland will be free to define their true gender identity. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

Facebook Ireland managing director Sonia Flynn said the custom gender option means people in Ireland will be free to define their true gender identity. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

 

Irish users of Facebook will be able to choose from more than 70 new gender options, from today.

The changes are aimed at giving people more choice in how they describe themselves on the social network, such as androgynous, intersex, gender fluid, transsexual or transgender or bi-gender.

The social networking site, which has already introduced the gender options in the US and UK, said users who do not identify with any of the pre-populated list of gender identities will be able to add their own.

A free-form field on the site will allow users to add up to 10 terms to describes themselves. They will also have the ability to control the audience with whom they want to share their custom gender.

Before the changes, only male and female options were available on the gender tab in profiles. Facebook has also updated its settings so users can choose a neutral pronoun, meaning they can be referred to as “they, their or them” and not just “his” or “her”.

Facebook said it worked with a group of leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy organisations, including Irish LGBT youth organisation BeLongTo, to come up with the new gender categories.

Facebook Ireland managing director Sonia Flynn said the custom gender option means people in Ireland will be free to define their true gender identity allowing people to more genuinely express themselves and connect with others.

The social network said the changes were particularly relevant given the forthcoming same-sex marriage referendum. However, it said the change was not an expressed intention of support for gay marriage in Ireland are