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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."

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 Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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The Schmidt family's Halloween photoshoot has become an annual tradition.

Two of Patti Schmidt's three sons were already well into adulthood when her daughter Avery was born, and the third wasn't far behind them. Avery, now 5, has never had the pleasure of close-in-age sibling squabbles or gigglefests, since Larry, Patrick, and Gavin are 28, 26, and 22, respectively—but that doesn't mean they don't bond as a family.

According to People.com, Patti calls her sons home to Point Pleasant, New Jersey, every fall for a special Halloween photoshoot with Avery. And the results are nothing short of epic.

The Schmidt family started the tradition in 2017 with the boys dressing as the tinman, the scarecrow, and the cowardly lion from "The Wizard of Oz." Avery, just a toddler at the time, was dressed as Dorothy, complete with adorable little ruby slippers.

The following year, the boys were Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Chewbacca, and Avery was (of course) Princess Leia.

In 2019, they did a "Game of Thrones" theme. ("My husband and I were binge-watching (Game of Thrones), and I thought the boys as dragons would be so funny," Schmidt told TODAY.)

In 2020, they went as Princess Buttercup, Westley, Inigo Montoya, and Fezzik from "The Princess Bride."

Patti shared a video montage of each year's costume shoot—with accompanying soundtracks—on Instagram and TikTok. Watch:

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."