Like Demi Lovato, she/they pronouns may also help normalize gender fluidity

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Earlier this year, Demi Lovato updated her Instagram usernames, a move that went largely unnoticed by the global pop star.

“They/She/She/Her,” Lovato profile read since April

The public got wind of this change this week after the singer opened up about it in an interview “Spout Podcast“, a series of interviews with music artists.

“I’m such a fluid person,” Lovato said went out as non-binary in 2021, the host said Tamara Dhia, when asked about their pronouns. “I’ve been feeling more feminine lately, so I adopted her/him again.”

Across social media, people reacted to the news with both gratitude and confusion. Some, including Dhia, have criticized media coverage due to a lack of context about the nuances and complexities of gender identity.

Although the language of some outlets suggested that Lovato had “returned” Experts say that transgender and non-binary people use multiple pronouns and change pronouns throughout their gender journey.

“Oftentimes, people can transition to different gender identities, different pronouns and pronouns they use, and that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not who they really are,” said Sabra Katz-Wise, associate professor of adolescence. /young adult medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital. “It’s just one part of this larger gender journey that people are on.”

A guide to the words we use to cover gender

Indeed, many on social media have reinforced this idea and expressed hope that Lovato’s story will help normalize this experience: “It’s a reminder that gender and sexuality can be totally fickle and that’s okay!” one user wrote on Twitter.

And many criticized the media’s portrayal of the news. “The media reaction to Demi Lovato using her/them pronouns is why I wish I had stayed with her/them,” another user wrote. “The second time I switched to it, everyone stopped using them.

Aaron Williams, 21, has been using the pronouns they/them for over a year. But their gender journey seems to be just beginning, they said.

“It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve come to understand gender a lot more and see it as a social construct,” said Williams, who lives in Port Talbot, Wales. “Being autistic, most of us don’t feel like we can relate to social norms, and I realized that I don’t relate to binary gender norms. It’s a work in progress.”

Cierra “ChiChi” White, mental health counselor and Twitch streamer in Colorado Springs, said their journey began as children when they struggled to relate to female labels — especially as a black girl in a non-black community. “My idea of ​​femininity was completely different from those around me,” they said.

“All my life I’ve been very fond of pronouns of any kind,” White added. “And then I just decided to just go with their (their) pronouns and identify as gender.

26 years old For White, it is understandable that a person’s gender identity and/or pronouns will change over time.

“If you’re constantly challenging your ideas or meeting new people who might help you change or better shape your idea of ​​what gender means over time, naturally that’s going to change,” White said. “I don’t know too many people who haven’t experimented with pronouns.

According to published data from the Pew Research Center as of June, about 1.6 percent of the US population identifies as trans or non-binary. The survey also found that young adults are the most likely to identify as such.

The poll shows that 5 percent of young adults identify as trans or non-binary

Katz-Wise, whose research examines sexual orientation, gender identity development, and sexual fluidity, echoes White’s view of how community and environmental factors can influence identity. “There are many contextual factors that seem to be involved in people experiencing these changes,” she said. “A lot of them involve new people [and] learn about new terms that they have not come across before.

As the laws targeting transgender and queer people progressed, many members of the LGBTQ community were especially wary of narratives that may fuel stigmas and misconceptions about queer and gendered experiences.

“I think there’s a real fear that transgender and non-binary rights will be taken away if gender is perceived to be fluid, because people can say, ‘Well, if it’s fluid and you can change it, why don’t you just change?’ ’ ” Katz-Wise said. “But in reality, people wouldn’t usually describe it as having made that change themselves, but rather experiencing that change happening to them.”

Since 2021 May. turned out to be non-binary, Lovato openly predicted such changes and said 19th at a time when her gender identity will be a “forever” journey. She has too said she identifies as queer and pansexual.

“It’s possible that I’ll identify as non-binary and gender non-conforming for the rest of my life. Or maybe there is a certain period when I grow old that I become a woman,” she said said. “I don’t know what that looks like, but that’s how I identify right now.”

Other celebrities have come out as non-binary or transgender in recent years. in 2019 singer Sam Smith changed their pronouns for them/them. in 2020 actor Elliot Page went out as transgender and non-binary. And this year, singer Janelle Monae confirmed that she is non-binary Los Angeles Times. she will use both they/them and she/her pronouns.

White is grateful for their stories: “It means a lot to me personally as a transgender and non-binary person because it helps normalize conversations about gender and fluidity.”

“It’s very important for our communities not only to have allies, but to be represented,” they said. “If it wasn’t for social media and the shift in conversation in popular culture, I might not know these labels exist.

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