Yesterday I got an email from a user saying there was a rumor that LJ was intending to make specifying gender on one's profile mandatory. Obviously there are various reasons why people either might not want that information known, or don't fit into one of the two categories commonly seen in such questions.
I wrote to LJ immediately asking about the rumor and advising that this wasn't a good idea without user input.
This morning I heard back with the Official Word and I'd be happy if you'd repost this or link to it to spread the news:
1) There are NO plans to make users specify gender in their profiles. The current options are "male/female/unspecified", this will remain.
2) The rumor started because on the current LJ BETA version (being tested now by some users) a programming error made the field mandatory, the same programming also broke profile editing. Users reported the bug to LJ and they are fixing the code along with other bugs people are discovering.
3) There will be a note with more details from the Customer Care team in the future.
4) That's all.
Thanks to everyone who emailed to let me know about this. If there are other questions or comments, please feel free to add them here and I'll pass everything along. I'm still working with LJ on the big status report but they're busy with the final software rollout for 2009, we'll have a meeting after that.
Your LJ user rep,