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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."

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:

Joy

Man uses TikTok to offer 'dinner with dad' to any kid that needs one, even adult ones

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud.

Come for the food, stay for the wholesomeness.

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud. His TikTok channel is dedicated to giving people intimate conversations they might long to have with their own father, but can’t. The most popular is his “Dinner With Dad” segment.

The concept is simple: Clayton, aka Dad, always sets down two plates of food. He always tells you what’s for dinner. He always blesses the food. He always checks in with how you’re doing.

I stress the stability here, because as someone who grew up with a less-than-stable relationship with their parents, it stood out immediately. I found myself breathing a sigh of relief at Clayton’s consistency. I also noticed the immediate emotional connection created just by being asked, “How was your day?” According to relationship coach and couples counselor Don Olund, these two elements—stability and connection—are fundamental cravings that children have of their parents. Perhaps we never really stop needing it from them.


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Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani wows audiences with his amazing musical talents.

Mozart was known for his musical talent at a young age, playing the harpsichord at age 4 and writing original compositions at age 5. So perhaps it's fitting that a video of 5-year-old piano prodigy Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani playing Mozart has gone viral as people marvel at his musical abilities.

Alberto's legs can't even reach the pedals, but that doesn't stop his little hands from flying expertly over the keys as incredible music pours out of the piano at the 10th International Musical Competition "Città di Penne" in Italy. Even if you've seen young musicians play impressively, it's hard not to have your jaw drop at this one. Sometimes a kid comes along who just clearly has a gift.

Of course, that gift has been helped along by two professional musician parents. But no amount of teaching can create an ability like this.

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TikTok about '80s childhood is a total Gen X flashback.

As a Gen X parent, it's weird to try to describe my childhood to my kids. We're the generation that didn't grow up with the internet or cell phones, yet are raising kids who have never known a world without them. That difference alone is enough to make our 1980s childhoods feel like a completely different planet, but there are other differences too that often get overlooked.

How do you explain the transition from the brown and orange aesthetic of the '70s to the dusty rose and forest green carpeting of the '80s if you didn't experience it? When I tell my kids there were smoking sections in restaurants and airplanes and ashtrays everywhere, they look horrified (and rightfully so—what were we thinking?!). The fact that we went places with our friends with no quick way to get ahold of our parents? Unbelievable.

One day I described the process of listening to the radio, waiting for my favorite song to come on so I could record it on my tape recorder, and how mad I would get when the deejay talked through the intro of the song until the lyrics started. My Spotify-spoiled kids didn't even understand half of the words I said.

And '80s hair? With the feathered bangs and the terrible perms and the crunchy hair spray? What, why and how?

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