A recent, exciting announcement marked a crucial milestone for the future of mainstream social media: Facebook announced that it would allow users to fill in their own gender identity.
Last year, the company made it possible for members to choose a gender identity from a long list of possible options. During this process, Facebook consulted with The Trevor Project, and our team was able to provide feedback and guidance as the social network moved toward becoming more inclusive. Now, Facebook is taking the next step in allowing for a wider range of gender identities and terms.
Youth deserve the chance to identify with the words that best describe who they are, and we know that allowing a “fill-in-the-blank” option opens the door for young people with diverse genders. Imagine being able to self-identify as your true gender for the first time, and actually allow others to see it; for some, that can be life-changing.
In fact, that’s why our safe and secure social network for LGBTQ youth, TrevorSpace.org, allows members to choose from more than 20 gender identities. What if a young person can’t find what they’re looking for? In that case, each user has the ability to fill in and create any gender identity that speaks to them, even if it isn’t listed – or, they can select multiple identities rather than simply choosing one.
The importance of supporting LGBTQ youth and respecting diverse identities cannot be understated. As the younger generation’s communication continues to shift into the digital world, it is our hope that more social networks and online profile features will allow for self-expression outside of the gender binary. To learn more about gender, and why it’s so important to reflect diverse identities, click here!