A leading LGBT rights organisation in Italy has hailed the announcement that Facebook is to introduce custom gender options.

Arcigay commented on Friday to say that the options are “a major breakthrough”, and “a needed injection of knowledge into Italian culture,” reports Ansa.

“It’s a major breakthrough that allows many people who do not recognize the limiting choice of male and female to feel included in the largest social network world,” Flavio Romani, Arcigay president, said.

“This initiative gives us the opportunity to bring back the issue of gender identity to individual and self-determined choices. “Scrolling through a list that includes more terms means adding culture and injecting knowledge in an area in which Italy is still fighting to open a serious debate”.

“People in Italy will finally have the chance to get out of the cage of binary sexuality and define their own gender identity by choosing one of the many selections or creating one”, Ottavia Voza, Arcigay’s trans representative said.

The option, first launched for US users in February, aims to provide more choices for users to express their gender.

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

Users can also separately indicate whether they want to be referred to as he, she or they.

Confused? Check out our guide to Facebook’s new gender options.