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LGBT-friendly Facebook: Social network introduces 70 new gender options in UK

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by Barclay Ballard, 27 Jun 2014News
LGBT-friendly Facebook: Social network introduces 70 new gender options in UK

Starting today, Facebook users in the UK will be able to select from over 70 different gender options, as the social network looks to better reflect the nation's diversity.

Around 50 of the new options were introduced in the US back in February and include terms such as androgynous, transperson, cisgender and polygender. Users are also able to suggest their own additions in order to best represent the individual.

Read more: Facebook admits white males dominate company: Push for diversity underway

In an interview with The Independent, Facebook's UK policy director Simon Milner said, "It's all about Facebook enabling people to be themselves, and making users feel comfortable in how they express themselves and how they talk about the issues that matter to them."

The social network enlisted the help of two UK organisations, Press For Change and Gendered Intelligence, to decide on the new options. The partnership led to the addition of some UK-specific terms such as intersex man, asexual and hermaphrodite.

Alongside this change, users will also be able to choose which pronoun they use on the site, either male (he/his), female (she/her), or neutral (they/their). They can also decide which of their friends are able to see their custom genders.

The company dismissed suggestions that the change was a marketing ploy to introduce more targeted advertising.

The firm said that the new gender options will not "change the way marketers can reach people" and that there is "currently no way for marketers to target 'transgender/custom' [individuals] on Facebook."

Read more: Google set to tackle severe lack of gender and racial diversity head-on

Users wishing to alter their gender on the site can do so by clicking on the "About" tab, navigating to "Contact and Basic Information" and selecting "Edit" next to the "Gender" option.

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