More

Lots of people go by 'he.' Lots of people go by 'she.' And, some people ... don't.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, a very good reason to stop using the phrase "ladies and gentlemen."

Lots of people go by 'he.' Lots of people go by 'she.' And, some people ... don't.

Here's a fact about gender that you may not know: Being "male" or "female" isn't the only way a person can be gendered.

(Confused? Don't worry.)


If you're hearing this for the first time, here's some context.

You probably didn't blink when I called you either a “lady" or a “gentleman" at the top of this post because most of us refer to ourselves as either “male" or “female."

But the titles "Mr." and "Ms." don't cover everyone. Some people don't identify as either gender. The word for them is non-binary, as in neither "male" nor "female."

Wondering what you say when referring to people who are non-binary?

It's simple: Instead of using "he/him/his" or "she/her/hers," you use "they/them/their" or other gender neutral words.

At this point, I have to mention...

Upworthy has a confession to make.

The staff here had a hard time understanding this concept.

At first, we didn't know what to do. But, thanks to a few queer folk who work at Upworthy, we've learned more about queer identity and gender.

To those taken aback by it, it's new to many of us too. There's more to understanding gender in-depth.

Two things about us play an important part in our identity.


One part, our sexual orientation, is a big part of who we are. Whether gay, straight, bisexual, or asexual, our orientation indicates the gender we desire — or don't, if you're asexual.


The other big part who we are is our gender identity.

  • Most of us are cisgender: born as the gender we identify as.
  • And transgender people are assigned the incorrect gender at birth.
  • Non-binary or gender neutral people don't identify as either gender.
  • And some — like genderqueer people, for example — identify as a combination of both.

As with orientation, gender has a broad range. It's not a couple of boxes on a form. Gender is much more like a spectrum.


It seems complex, but it's actually pretty simple.

But, Upworthy folks still had a hard time getting it right. Me included.

We employ a few queer and other LGBTQ folks here at Upworthy. One employee happens to identify as gender non-conforming. This was the first time others and I had met someone like them.

Since this was new to us, a lot of us failed at respecting this person and their identity by misgendering them. We failed miserably, and often. We had some pretty superficial reasons for it too:

"Calling one person 'they' is grammatically confusing."


"It's hard to remember to say the right words."


Seriously — grammar, everyone!

Bottom line:

True.

Using neutral pronouns like "they," "them," and "their" with our colleague took a little getting used to, but we're getting there.

(Justin Vivian Bond is a singer who is trans and gender non-conforming.)

Everyone's orientation and identity are facts. They aren't decisions. If someone's telling you what they prefer to be identified as, make an effort to use the right words. Like Justin said above, life isn't easier for those who don't identify the way the majority does. Let's try not to make it harder for them.

Watch the full video below for some more insight into how we learned from our company-wide mistake:

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
True

Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

Keep Reading Show less

In the hours before he was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, then-President-elect Biden was sent a letter signed by 17 freshmen GOP members of the House of Representatives.

In sharp contrast to the 121 Republican House members who voted against the certification of Biden's electoral votes—a constitutional procedure merely check-marking the state certifications that had already taken place—this letter expresses a desire to "rise above the partisan fray" and work together with Biden as he takes over the presidency.

The letter reads:

Dear President-elect Biden,

Congratulations on the beginning of your administration and presidency. As members of this freshman class, we trust that the next four years will present your administration and the 117thCongress with numerous challenges and successes, and we are hopeful that – despite our ideological differences – we may work together on behalf of the American people we are each so fortunate to serve.

After two impeachments, lengthy inter-branch investigations, and, most recently, the horrific attack on our nation's capital, it is clear that the partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans does not serve a single American.

Keep Reading Show less
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.