GLSEN Statement on Facebook’s Addition of Free-Form Field for Gender Identity

(Ping! Zine Web Hosting Magazine) – GLSEN Executive Director, Dr. Eliza Byard, applauded Facebook’s decision to allow users to add their own description beyond the pre-set options to accurately describe their gender identity. Users can also control with whom they share their gender identity, an important safety and privacy feature.

“Facebook’s new free-form field for gender identity is a huge step forward for transgender, gender nonconforming and gender queer youth,” said Dr. Byard, “The internet is an essential source of resources, support and community for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth, and one of its most important ‘living rooms’ now better reflects their reality and self-understanding.”

In GLSEN’s report, Out Online: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth on the Internet, LGBT youth indicated the Internet is a space that offers safer opportunities to express who they are, find peer support and gain access to resources not necessarily available in person, and nearly one-third said they were out more online that in person. However, the latest edition of GLSEN’s National School Climate Survey recently found that 49 percent of LGBT students experienced electronic harassment, or “cyberbullying,” in the past year.

About GLSEN

GLSEN is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe and affirming schools for all students. Celebrating its 25th year, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. For information on GLSEN’s research, educational resources, public policy advocacy, student organizing programs and educator training initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.

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