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.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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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.

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Of the millions of Americans breathing a sigh of relief with the ushering in of a new president, one man has a particularly personal and professional reason to exhale.

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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.