The real lesson of Demi Lovato updating her pronouns

Another day, another tiring debate over pronouns. Pronouns are simple, they’ve been around for centuries, and yet people act like they’re a whole new concept – when they’re not using them as a political and intimidating argument, of course.

This time the hot topic comes up not because of horrible remarks from bigoted politicians or a terrible tweet from a certain She-Who-Will-Not-Be-Named TERF (Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist), but because singer and performer Demi Lovato announced that they are now using “she/her” pronouns in addition to the “they/them” pronouns they already use.

Lovato opened up about this development in her gender identity journey in an interview with beak podcast. “Recently I’ve been feeling more feminine so I’ve embraced her again,” Lovato said. “I’m such a fluid person.”

Lovato was released as non-binary in May 2021 with a video and a Twitter feed, which informed the public that they would be using the pronouns them/them. “Today is a day when I am so happy to share more of my life with you all – I am proud to let you know that I identify as non-binary [and] will officially change my pronouns to them/them in the future,” Lovato wrote on Twitter.

During the interview with beak podcastLovato reflected on this coming out journey and also explained why they are now expanding their pronouns to include “she/her.”

“I felt like, especially last year, my energy was balanced between male and female energy,” Lovato said. “When I was faced with the choice of entering a bathroom and it said ‘women’ and ‘men’, I didn’t feel like there was a bathroom for me. .Because I didn’t necessarily feel like a woman, I didn’t feel like a man, I felt like a human.And that’s what they/they mean to me, it’s just about each other. to feel human at the heart of oneself.

Lovato’s Instagram biography has been updated to include all of their pronouns: “they/them/she/her”. What’s so shocking about that? Gender identity, like sexuality, can be a very fluid thing. Having more than one pronoun is also extremely common in the non-binary community. I’m non-binary myself and use similar “she/they” pronouns. The interesting thing here is less Lovato’s gender background — which is their business and their business alone — but the clear biases of the news media machine.

There were misleading headlines about how Lovato “went back to ‘she/her’ pronouns” (Daily Mail). (The Mail has since changed the original title.) Glamor United Kingdom also posted an equally incorrect title, which has yet to be corrected. Some people even shouted News Feeds cover to only refer to Lovato as “her” in the story and to sound like “she/her” are their only pronouns. Several news outlets had good sensitive headlines, like rolling stone, Billboard, Variety and a whole bunch of others.

Then there was the chatter on social media. Responses ranged from “who cares” to outright bigotry to non-binary and queer people pointing out that updating pronouns is super normal. Many members of the queer community and their allies were quick to note that Lovato hasn’t stopped using they they pronouns and encouraged people inside and outside the media to understand the difference.

Unfortunately, when you search for Demi Lovato on Twitter, the most damaging posts come up first. Noted Transphobic Matt Walsh was quick to jump on the news as an example of someone “changing their gender identity” (Lovato didn’t) while dangerously spreading misinformation about gender-affirming surgeries. A few transphobic people have used Lovato’s non-news as a way to further stigmatize gender-affirming surgeries. Word de-transitioneven thrown all over the place – even when what happened was, in fact, an individual expanding their use of pronouns.

Lovato still identifies as non-binary, they’re just updating their pronouns to reflect where they are now on their gender journey.

Lovato didn’t “go back to her/her pronouns”, they just added “she/her” to their list of pronouns. There is a huge difference. Lovato still identifies as non-binary, they’re just updating their pronouns to reflect where they are now on their gender journey.

Painting their words as “go back” or any variation of that wording lends validity to a favorite argument among fanatics, that being non-binary is just a phase or a fad. Or that Lovato was somehow reverting to what their idea of ​​a “real woman” is, safely in her gender binary.

To be clear: being non-binary is not a phase and it is not a choice. Gender identity is fluid and that means people can add or subtract pronouns, and they can even change how they identify if they want. It doesn’t make the identity any less valid, it’s just part of the journey.

Why does someone update their pronouns even in the news? I don’t see reports of cisgender celebrities proudly claiming to be called “she/her” or “he/him,” so why are we featuring non-binary celebrities? Like coming out — another tabloid obsession — pronouns are a personal matter for someone, not your clickbait.

Pronouns have always been part of our human vocabulary, but have recently become a political pawn for far-right and transphobic fanatics. But everyone has pronouns – even the most straight, cisgender human on this planet has pronouns. The goal is surely, just out of basic human decency, to respect someone’s choice of pronouns and grow about it.

For non-binary people, we can have many pronouns and that’s because we don’t identify as a singular gender or any gender for that matter. There are non-binary people who only want to use “they” pronouns. Some non-binary people are called “they”, but also “she/her” or “he/him”. It depends on the person, so the best policy is always to just ask and never assume.

If their pronouns change, call them by those pronouns. It’s really not that difficult of a concept. It’s basic decency.

Personally, I speak either of “they” or of “she/her” and it’s not because I define myself as a woman, because that’s not the case. I still use “she” because I went by “she” for 27 years of my life and it’s easier for me and probably others in my life to still use that pronoun. The thing is, non-binary people don’t need to explain to anyone why they use a certain pronoun – just be respectful and call people by the pronouns they use. And if their pronouns change, call them by those pronouns. It’s really not that difficult of a concept. It’s basic decency.

Currently, this country is facing more transphobic bills and laws than ever before. Pronouns have become a major topic in political discourses and platforms. Blatant transphobia and homophobia have reached frightening heights and show no signs of slowing down. It’s scary to be non-binary right now. It’s scary to be transgender right now. It’s a scary time for all LGBTQ people. The media should cover issues such as gender identity with sensitivity and responsibility, because when headlines and social media chatter are wrong, as some have been about Lovato, the validity of gender identity many people are compromised.

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