Facebook’s Research and Data Science division published a blog post wrote by scientists Bogdan State and Nils Wernerfelt. The post revealed how, in the last years, around 6 million Americans have been using their facebook profiles to express their gender attractions and sexual preference.
State and Wernerfelt described as “coming out” those profiles that identified the users as lesbian, gay, bisexual and even transsexual. They included in their post important trends such as a steady growth in both, the number of people coming out on Facebook and the rate of that occurring, campaigns made by Facebook to increase the support for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) groups and the remarkable effect of the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage in June.
The important change made by the social website introduced a whole new system to their users, meaning that they have the opportunity to specify their gender designations like transgender or androgynous. Moreover, this innovation allows to specify whether to publicly be referred to as male, he/ his, female she/her, or neutral they/ their.
“When you come to Facebook to connect with the people, causes, and organizations you care about, we want you to feel comfortable being your true, authentic self. An important part of this is the expression of gender, especially when it extends beyond the definitions of just ‘male’ or ‘female.’ So today, we’re proud to offer a new custom gender option to help you better express your own identity on Facebook […] We collaborated with our Network of Support, a group of leading LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) advocacy organizations, to offer an extensive list of gender identities that many people use to describe themselves” Facebook said in a post on their Diversity page announcing the new custom gender feature.
Over the last year, approximately 800.000 Americans have changed their profiles to express their sexual preference. This represented an important change in how the website supported the LGBT groups. Furthermore, over the past 12 months the total number of Americans who have come out on the website increase to more than 6 million.
“Not only has the total number of Americans who have come out on Facebook raised dramatically since October 2014 but so has the number coming out each day […] the number of people on Facebook coming out per day is on track to be three times what it was a year ago,” Facebook said in the report, which celebrates National Coming Out Day on October 11.
Moreover, the researchers found that since the Supreme Court’s decision, likes for the LGBT pages increased notably to 25 percent over the past year.
“Again, we see an increase in fan numbers around the June 26 Supreme Court ruling: In fact, fan pages for LGBT-rights groups acquired over 150,000 new fans during the five days following the decision,” Wrote State and Wernerfelt in their post.
Important organizations have supported Facebook’s initiative. Human Rights Campaign Foundation director of research and public education, Jay Brown recognized and congratulated Facebook’s initiative.
“This research is proving just what a difference visibility makes to LGBT people.”
Source: ABC news