July 3, 2012 (TSR) – Facebook has rolled out a new feature providing additional recognition for its users who are married to a person of the same sex. Now these users who have indicated on their Facebook timeline that they are married will be recognized by new same-sex marriage icons, rather than the marriage icon used for straight married couples.
This change follows several notable LGBT inclusion efforts by Facebook. Last year, Facebook added ‘In a Civil Union’ and ‘In a Domestic Partnership’ options to user profiles. Facebook has also taken significant steps toward preventing anti-LGBT bullying, and created the Network of Support with GLAAD and other LGBT organizations in 2010.
In June, Facebook became the first social media company to be given an award at the GLAAD Media Awards. Facebook was presented with the award by Spirit Day founder Brittany McMillan. McMillan launched the idea for Spirit Day in 2010 and began working with GLAAD on the annual event which inspires millions of participants to wear purple or change their Facebook photo to purple in support of LGBT youth and to stand up against bullying. Facebook was first involved in 2010 when a Spirit Day event page on Facebook was flooded with anti-gay comments and violent images, and the company worked with GLAAD to come up with a solution to the problem.
GLAAD’s Allison Palmer said in a statement:
“Following Facebook’s addition of domestic partnership and civil union to profile options last year, these new marriage icons for timeline are another important way for same-sex couples to be recognized. This move is the latest in a series of measures Facebook has taken to support and include the LGBT community, which earned it the distinction of being the first social media company to receive a GLAAD Media Award earlier this year.”
Facebook’s move follows the unveiling of new gay-inclusive “emojis,” or emoticons,which will be found on the new version of Apple’s iPhone operating system, slated for release this fall.
In March, Sunil Babu Pant, the first openly gay member of the Nepalese parliament, announced that he was petitioning Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to create options for users who don’t identify as male or female.