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.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

via @Todd_Spence / Twitter

Seven years ago, Bill Murray shared a powerful story about the importance of art. The revelation came during a discussion at the National Gallery in London for the release of 2014's "The Monuments Men." The film is about a troop of soldiers on a mission to recover art stolen by the Nazis.

After his first time performing on stage in Chicago, Murray was so upset with himself that he contemplated taking his own life.

"I wasn't very good, and I remember my first experience, I was so bad I just walked out — out onto the street and just started walking," he said.

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