Facebook introduces gender-neutral family options

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Facebook has begun to roll out options for gender-neutral family relationships.

The update, currently in place for some US readers, allows people to select a wider range of relationships with their family, with terms like ‘parent’, ‘child’ and ‘sibling’ now available alongside the pre-existing mother/father,  son/daughter and sister/brother.

It allows people who do not have a conventional family structure, or do not identify as male or female, to reflect their relationships with their family.

Facebook introduces gender-neutral family options

The update builds on a change earlier this year, which allowed people to select from a custom range of gender identities, and allowed them to be referred to as ‘they’ in addition to ‘he’ and ‘she’.

The feature initially launched with around 50 pre-selected gender options – including androgynous, bigender, intersex, genderfluid and transsexual – but following user feedback, now has over 70.

The full list of new relationship options include:

Sibling, Parent, Child, Sibling of Parent, Child of Sibling, Cousin (gender neutral), Grandparent, Grandchild, Step Sibiling, Step Parent, Step Child, Sibling-in-law, Parent-in-law and Child-in-law.

Trans Facebook software engineer Brielle Harrison said previously: “There’s going to be a lot of people for whom this is going to mean nothing, but for the few it does impact, it means the world.

“All too often transgender people like myself and other gender nonconforming people are given this binary option, do you want to be male or female? What is your gender? And it’s kind of disheartening because none of those let us tell others who we really are.

“This really changes that, and for the first time I get to go to the site and specify to all the people I know what my gender is.”

Professor Stephen Whittle, Vice-President of Press for Change, said: “Gender identities are complex and for many people, describing themselves as just a man or just a woman has always been inadequate.

“By challenging the gender binary, Facebook will finally allow thousands of people to describe themselves as they are now and it will allow future generation of kids to become truly comfortable in their own skins.”

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