A fill-in-the-blank option lets people define gender however they see fit

By Stephanie Emma Pfeffer
Updated February 27, 2015 04:40 PM
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Facebook wants you to be you.

In a move to empower users, the site is no longer making people pick from a predefined gender menu. Although the former drop-down category included 58 options, including “transfeminine” and “two-spirit,” Facebook is now offering a free-form field into which users can type anything they want.

The change was explained Thursday on a Facebook Diversity post: “Now, if you do not identify with the pre-populated list of gender identities, you are able to add your own … We recognize that some people face challenges sharing their true gender identity with others, and this setting gives people the ability to express themselves in an authentic way.”

Users can also decide which pronoun they’d like used: him, her or them.

The new option – which is only available to Facebook users in U.S. English – is being applauded as a way of making the site more user friendly for the LGBTQ community.

Yet advocates are still waiting for Facebook to change its real-name policy, which requires a person to use the legal name on his or her birth certificate, passport or driver’s license, rather than a name they have reassigned to themselves.