Want to be a good ally? Start accepting people as they are, pronouns included.

People wear name tags so others know their names. It only makes sense that pronoun tags are a thing as well.

At a Google Next cloud computing conference, journalist Nicole Henderson noticed a sign that said, "We care about your pronouns," offering attendees the option to add a sticker containing one of four options to their attendance badge. Two options, "He/Him" and "She/Her," are pretty standard. The other two options, "They/Them" and "Xe/Hir," are pronoun sets sometimes used by nonbinary individuals, or people who don't fit neatly into the categories of male or female.

And, apparently, this isn't a new thing — not even for Google, which offered attendees at its IO conference earlier this year the same option.


One helpful Twitter user informed me that the American Association of Physics Teachers has been offering pronoun stickers to attendees for several years. A quick search found that conferences like the annual IA Summit, the American Astronomical Society, the meeting of the Museum Computer Network, and many more give the option too. Pretty neat, right?!

Looking at the dismissive and even hostile replies to Henderson's tweet wasn't surprising — but it was disappointing.

This name tag move by conferences is something that has zero negative effect on anybody. It's completely optional and might make a few people who'd ordinarily feel left out actually feel welcomed. That sounds pretty win-win-win to me.

Web engineer and pronouns zine author Fen Slattery shared a great Twitter thread (which you can read in full by clicking here) that offered advice to attendees and organizers of conferences. In short, offering this option can make trans and nonbinary people feel safe, and it can save everyone from a bit of embarrassment.

You may say that you don't understand what it'd be like to have a nonbinary gender and that's totally OK.

There are a lot of things in life that we, as individuals, won't ever truly understand. That's why empathy is so important. Empathy is what tells us to be kind to others even though we don't know exactly how they feel, and empathy is what can drive us to realize that just because we feel something might be frivolous, it may really matter to others.

Now, of course, if you want to try to better understand what it's like to be nonbinary, we've written quite a bit on the subject. There are some simple things you can do to be an ally, such as simply being cool with the whole "pronouns" thing.

Dan Ozzi, a writer and co-author of rocker Laura Jane Grace's memoir about growing up and coming out as trans in the world of punk rock, shared a tip for other writers about pronouns: simply ask people. Seriously, it's that easy.

Being a good ally starts with accepting people for who they are.

At the core, that's all trans and nonbinary people really want: to exist and to be accepted. Small gestures, like advocating for pronoun stickers or being willing to use untraditional labels, can have a big effect on the world.

More
Rice University

A plaque marking the death of a glacier comes with a haunting message to future generations.

The former Okjökull glacier in western Iceland is the first to lose its status as a glacier due to climate change. Known now as simply "Ok," the once sprawling ice sheet has melted to about seven percent of what it was a century ago and was declared no longer a glacier in 2014.

Scientists predict that in the next 200 years, if the climate crisis is not mitigated, the rest of Iceland's 400 glaciers will meet the same fate.

Next month, the land that Ok once covered will be marked with a memorial plaque. Researchers from Rice University in Houston, Texas, Icelandic author Andri Snær Magnason, and geologist Oddur Sigurðsson—who first declared the glacier's lost status—will unveil the plaque in a public ceremony on August 18.

The plaque's text begins, "A letter to the future," then reads:

Keep Reading Show less
Planet
Photo by Raul Varzar on Unsplash

A quarter of domestic cats have had their claws removed. Even though it might make the owners lives a little easier, the procedure can be incredibly painful for the animals and has been described as "barbaric."

Most of Europe and Canada have banned cat declawing (onychectomy), as well as several U.S. cities, but New York just became the first state to do so. Now, any vet who declaws a cat in the there will face a fine of $1,000, unless the procedure is medically necessary.

"Declawing is a cruel and painful procedure that can create physical and behavioral problems for helpless animals, and today it stops," New York GovernorAndrew Cuomo saidin a statement, per USA Today.

Some people get their cat declawed to stop their furniture and flesh from being destroyed. However, declawing a cat isn't the best way to stop a cat from scratching. In fact, it's probably the worst. "If a person has an issue with a cat scratching, well, first of all, I'd advise them don't get a cat because that is the very nature of a cat. But, secondly, there are ways to change cats' behavior. Get scratching posts. There are vinyl sheathes that could be placed on the nails," Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal said. Rosenthal sponsored the bill and is a cat owner, herself. "[T]here's many ways to address that behavior." None of the ways you address the problem should include taking it's claws off.

Keep Reading Show less
Cities
Alie Ward

Your dinner plate shouldn't shame you for eating off of it. But that's exactly what a set being sold at Macy's did.

The retailer has since removed the dinnerware from their concept shop, Story, after facing social media backlash for the "toxic message" they were sending.

The plates, made by Pourtions, have circles on them to indicate what a proper portion should look like, along with "helpful — and hilarious — visual cues" to keep people from "overindulging."

There are serval different styles, with one version labeling the largest portion as "mom jeans," the medium portion as "favorite jeans," and the smallest portion as "skinny jeans."

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being

In today's installment of the perils of being a woman, a 21-year-old woman shared her experience being "slut-shamed" by her nurse practitioner during a visit to urgent care for an STD check.

The woman recently had sex with someone she had only just met, and it was her first time hooking up with someone she had not "developed deep connections with."

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being