On September 13, 2019, Sam Smith came out with preferred pronouns they/them. They no longer want to be referred to as a "he" or a "she," but instead, "they," which is a gender-neutral pronoun. This comes after they opened up about being non-binary in British GQ.
I only ask for one thing: Be respectful. You don't have to understand exactly how they are feeling to respect them.
The Grammy-winning singer has been redefining gender roles for some time now and I'm so proud to have someone so strong and well-known be there for others. Sam Smith also thanked a number of other activists who helped them understand their identity. This goes to show that there are supportive, loving people out there.
Although they have tweeted, "P.s. I am at no stage just yet to eloquently speak at length about what it means to be non-binary but I can't wait for the day that I am. So for now I just want to be VISIBLE and open. If you have questions and are wondering what this all means I'll try my best to explain..."
They don't have to say anything more.
They have already moved mountains.
But, let's be respectful and give them time.
This past summer, I worked at a hospital that is opening up an LGBTQ center (yay!), but one of the managers declared that patients must "choose" whether they are a boy or girl. They can't be "a 'they.'"
Um, no thank you.
Since then, I've had a ton of conversations with friends, family, and peers about what it means to be non-binary. My pronouns are she/her/hers, so I can't speak for others about their experiences, but I have many friends who identify with they/them. And, yes, that's more than OK. I know my best friends and, let me tell you, they are not confused.
Don't come to me with a generational excuse, my father is almost 70 years old and when I told him about my first friend who came out as non-binary, he looked at me and said, "Of course, I know what that is. How great! I hope they finally feel comfortable with themselves." I was the good kind of shocked. I couldn't be happier.
Yes, "they" is commonly known to act as a plural pronoun, but it is also a gender-neutral pronoun. Is it an easy transition? No. Do I still make mistakes? Yes, and I'm so sorry, but that doesn't mean I'm not supportive.
Everyone deserves to feel free within their identity. There will be people who fight back and who disagree. People will argue and I won't stop them from sharing their voices, but try to be respectful. We all have our own opinions and, let's face it, we are all just trying to survive.
You lose zero, zilch, zip, nada by being respectful.
Some comments on Sam Smith's tweet make me stick to my stomach, but people will have their own mindsets.
The change will come. The acceptance will come. And, I will always be an ally.