Target: Facebook Director of Growth Alex Schultz
Goal: Commend efforts to expand and customize Facebook’s preferred gender identity options
In a recent victory for LGBTQ* rights and freedoms, Facebook’s Diversity page announced the unveiling of the new “custom gender option,” which allows users to select their own preferred gender identity and gender pronouns, including female (she/her), male (he/his), or neutral (they/theirs). This option, which is available to those using Facebook in US English, also allows people to control exactly who sees their custom gender identity. The release states, “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.”
Facebook worked with its own “Network of Support,” a coalition of gay and transgender advocacy groups, to develop the update. The move has been applauded by LGBTQ* activist groups such as GLAAD. A company software engineer, Brielle Harrison, worked on the change and told The Associated Press she anticipated changing her own gender identity to TransWoman: “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.” Facebook Director of Growth Alex Schultz commented, “Really, there was no debate within Facebook about the social implications at all. It was simple: Not allowing people to express something so fundamental is not really cool so we did something. Hopefully a more open and connected world will, by extension, make this a more understanding and tolerant world.”
By signing this petition, you are thanking Director Schultz and all who worked on the update for their dedication to empowering LGBTQ* individuals to live with pride for their unique gender identity and pronouns. You are encouraging Facebook to continue to be a leader in expanding freedoms for gay and transgender social media users.
Dear Director Schultz and the Facebook development team,
Facebook Diversity’s recent announcement about expanding gender options for US English users is a huge step forward in acknowledging and accepting the spectrum of gender identities, allowing people to express their truest selves to friends, family, and acquaintances. An important feature is the ability to control who views one’s self-identified gender, to protect users who may not be ready to fully disclose their gender identities with certain people in their lives.
Thank you for coming together with LGBTQ* advocates and leaders to create this update and allow users of the US English Facebook to express their true gender identities and use their preferred pronoun with those they choose. I hope you will be expanding this update to other versions of Facebook in the near future.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Percy Meza via Wikimedia Commons