Like any social network on the rise, Google+ is experiencing some growing pains. As users signed up for accounts, some didn't find the mandatory gender options so welcoming: "male," "female," and the nebulous "other." Google hasn't expanded its options, but it does have a fix: you still have to put yourself in one of those three boxes (even if none fit), but a new privacy option lets you hide any ill-fitting label from the outside world.
In this video announcing the new feature, they explain the need for gender categories as a way to personalize your experience. But, as they note, it doesn't mean you have to broadcast your choice.
They recognize that gender is a sensitive topic, "especially on the Internet." Though everyone technically belongs in one of those categories, 'other' isn't very sensitive to those who don't fit neatly into the gender binary, as Feministings JOS notes: "Male, Female, Other feels like people who don’t fit into Male/Female and him/her are being told their gender issues are frivolous and unimportant, not a part of their identities and humanity deserving of as much respect as the genders of people who do fit." Never call someone's identity "frivolous."