Tag: pronouns

White House website now asks users for their pronouns

The White House, lit in the rainbow flag.

The White House lit with the Pride flag. (Getty Images/Molly Riley)

For the first time in history, the White House website is asking visitors for their pronouns and offering gender-neutral options to choose from.

President Joe Biden wasted absolutely no time in making his pro-trans stance clear, with the website updated mere hours after his inauguration.

The simple yet monumentally meaningful detail was noticed by the LGBT+ advocacy group GLAAD, which happily shared an image of the White House contact page on Twitter.

Those contacting the White House can now select from a range of pronoun options or alternately indicate that they’d rather not share their pronouns if they wish.

They can also choose the gender-neutral prefix “Mx”, which is listed alongside “Mr,” “Mrs” and “Ms”.

The simple act spoke magnitudes after Trump’s sustained attacks on the LGBT+ community over the past four years, and Twitter users were delighted to see it.


A Child Teaches Great Grandma About Pronouns in New Picture Book

A Child Teaches Great Grandma About Pronouns in New Picture

A self-assured, gender ambiguous child gets a visit from Great Grandma Bubbie—and teaches her a few things about pronouns and gender in a sequel to a 2019 picture book about gender creative play.

Jamie and Bubbie - Afsaneh Moradian

Jamie and Bubbie: A Book About People’s Pronouns, written by Afsaneh Moradian and illustrated by Maria Bogade (Free Spirit Publishing) is a sequel to the duo’s Jamie Is Jamie: A Book About Being Yourself and Playing Your Way (my review here), but either can be read independently of the other. Both books star Jamie, a child whose gender is never specified. In the latest book, Bubbie comes for a visit (making this, as far as I’m aware, the first LGBTQ-inclusive picture book with a great grandparent in it). As she and Jamie do things together in the neighborhood, Bubbie mistakenly misgenders several of the people they meet—a woman as a man, a man as a woman, and a transgender girl whom Bubbie had previously met when the girl was still using her male birth name. Jamie knows everyone’s correct genders and pronouns, though, and gently informs Bubbie. Bubbie admits she’s been “putting my foot in my mouth all day.”

Jamie reassures her that you can’t always know what pronouns someone uses, and that if they don’t tell you, you can always use their name or “they.” Jamie’s mother offers the example, “We can say that the mail carrier is taking mail out of their mail bag and putting it in the mailbox.” Then Jamie mentions a friend who uses “they.” Grown-ups may need to clarify here that some people choose to use “they” on an ongoing basis; it’s not just for when you don’t know someone’s pronouns. (At the end of the book, some “Tips for Teachers, Parents, and Caregivers” do help explain this.)

Jamie’s mother then tells Bubbie that people sometimes change their names and/or pronouns, and that it’s important to call them by the name and pronouns they want to use, which is good advice. Bubbie says that’s a lot to remember, but she’ll try.

The mother and Jamie’s explanations to Bubbie border on pedantic but are simple and supportive, and may be useful to those first encountering the idea of chosen pronouns or singular “they.” Jamie’s own gender and pronouns remain unknown. On one level, this book could have been a good time to introduce them—if they’re not what Bubbie would have expected from Jamie’s gender assigned at birth, perhaps she should be clued in as part of her whole education about the subject. On another level, though, perhaps more children will relate if they can imagine that Jamie’s gender is whatever they want it to be. As in the first book, Jamie is just Jamie. Jamie’s gender ambiguity also offers a place for discussion about asking someone what pronouns they use.

A few lines of dialogue could have benefited from indications of who is speaking; adult readers should be able to guess from context, but a little extra clarity might help the younger ones. And a neighbor’s sudden reference to Bubbie as “Mrs. Green,” when there was no previous indication of her last name, may confuse young readers at first (especially because a passing pedestrian on the page is wearing a green jacket).

As with the first book in the series, I like that Jamie, not an adult, is doing most of the instructing (though the mother does chime in a bit). Jamie knows the people in the neighborhood and understands the importance of referring to them the way they want. We can always use more role models of confident kids who move through the world with respect for themselves and others—and aren’t afraid to teach adults a thing or two.

Adults should appreciate the thoughtful tips at the end on talking with children about pronouns. I will note that Moradian here uses the term “gender nonconforming,” which PFLAG said in 2019 was outdated and Gender Spectrum (which Moradian includes as a resource) does not include in its list of gender-related language. I recognize, however, that these terms shift and evolve, perhaps faster than publishing cycles; I just hope this gets updated in a future edition. Mostly, Moradian’s brief explanations and suggestions seem clear and useful. Those who want more ideas for using the book as a jumping-off point for talking about gender and family can also check out the Teacher’s Guide, available under “Free Downloads” at the book’s Web page. Despite a few minor places for improvement, Jamie and Bubbie is a positive addition to the growing number of picture books about gender identity and expression.

(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

Poet Kae Tempest announces they’re changing their name and pronouns

Kae Tempest. (Jim Dyson/Getty Images)

Kae Tempest. (Jim Dyson/Getty Images)

Kae Tempest – poet, rapper, author and all multi-genre talent – revealed Thursday afternoon (August 5) that they have changed their name and pronouns in a heartfelt message to fans.

The author and rapper, known for their work that examines the steely agonises of the modern world, took to their social media to share a photograph of themselves as well as explain the background of their new name.

“Hello, old fans, new fans and passers-by – I’m changing my name!” they wrote in a statement.

“And I’m changing my pronouns. From Kate to Kae. From she/her to they/them.”

They added: “I’ve been struggling to accept myself as I am for a long time. I have tried to be what I thought others wanted me to be so as not to risk rejection.

“This hiding from myself has led to all kinds of difficulties in my life. And this is a first step towards knowing and respecting myself better.

“I’ve loved Kate. But I am beginning a process and I hope you’ll come with me.”

Kae, they explained, is an old English word that means jaybird. A creature associated with “communication, curiosity, adaptation to new situations and courage,” they wrote.

Tempest added that “this is a time of great reckoning”.

“I want to live with integrity. And this is a step towards that.”

Countless literary authors, LGBT+ fans and organisations rushed to praise Tempest for re-introducing themselves to the world. 

Kae Tempest: ‘It took me a long time to be able to stand with my own queerness’.

Tempest, 34, barreled into the front ranks of London’s vivid performing arts scenes in their late 20s. With their unmistakable South London accent, their music, such as Everybody Dawn, tapped into both the quiet beauty and gritty silences of London living.

Kae Tempest performs live on stage during the third day of the BBC Radio 6 Music Festival in 2020. (Jim Dyson/Getty Images)
Kae Tempest performs live on stage during the third day of the BBC Radio 6 Music Festival in 2020. (Jim Dyson/Getty Images)

Indeed, in a single year, they won the Ted Hughes Award for innovation in poetry, was nominated for a Mercury in music and was named one of the nation’s 20 Next Generation Poets.

In an interview with Notion in 2019, they discussed their queer identity: “It took me a long time to be able to stand with my own queerness and where I sit on the gender spectrum.

“That journey, for me, has been a challenging journey,” they said, “to be able to just stand on stage and just be in my presence, and in my body, and the fact that I’m even there at all — that’s powerful for somebody in the audience going through their own journey with their sexuality or gender.”