Demi Lovato’s Actual Lesson Being Up to date/Their Pronouns

Another day, another tiresome pronoun debate. Pronouns are simple, they’ve been around for hundreds of years and yet, people are acting like they’re a brand new concept—when they’re not being used as political and bullying fodder, of course.

This time the hot button topic is being discussed not because of some terrible comments from major politicians or a terrible tweet from a 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/she” pronouns in addition to the “they/them” pronouns they already use.

Lovato spoke about this development in her gender identity journey in an interview with Spout podcast. “Lately, I’ve been feeling more feminine and so, I’ve embraced it again,” Lovato said. “I’m such a fluid person.”

Lovato it came out as non-binary in May 2021 with a video and Twitter thread, which informed the public that they would be going by the pronouns. “Today is a day I’m so happy to share more of my life with you all – I’m proud to let you know that I identify as non-binary. [and] I will be officially changing my pronouns to them moving forward,” Lovato wrote on Twitter.

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

“I felt, especially last year, that my energy was balanced in masculine and feminine energy,” Lovato said. “When I had the option of walking into a bathroom and it said ‘women’ and ‘men,’ I didn’t feel like there was a bathroom for me. Because I didn’t feel like a woman, I didn’t feel like a man, I felt like a man. And that’s what it’s all about to me, it’s just about feeling human at your core.”

Lovato’s Instagram bio has been updated to include all of their pronouns: “they/them/she/her.” What is so scary about this? Gender identity – like sexuality – can be a very fluid thing. More than one pronoun is also very common in the non-binary community. I myself am non-binary and accept similar “she/they” pronouns. What’s interesting here is less Lovato’s gender journey — that’s their business and theirs — but the blatant biases of the news media machine.

There were misleading headlines about how Lovato had “returned to the pronouns ‘she'” (Daily Mail). (The IS Email since then amended the original heading.) Glamor UK also held the same wrong headlinethat is yet to be decided. Some people even called out Buzzfeeds cover for referring to Lovato as “she” in the story and referring to them as “she” as their only pronouns. Some news outlets had good sensitive headlines, eg Rolling Stone, Register of bills, Diversity and a whole host of other people.

Then there was the social media chatter. Responses ranged from “who cares” to very matter-of-fact to non-binary and ambivalent people expressing that pronoun updating is extremely common. There were many within the queer community and their allies quick to note that Lovato did not stop using they/them pronouns and encouraged people inside and outside the media to understand the difference.

Sadly though, when you search for Demi Lovato on Twitter, the most damaging posts come up first. Transphobe noticed Matt Walsh was quick to jump on the news as an example of someone “changing their gender identity” (Lovato was not doing that) while also dangerously spreading misinformation about gender confirmation surgeries. Some transphobic people used Lovato’s non-news as a way to further shame gender-affirming surgeries. The word de-transition” even spent – even when it happened, in fact, one person expanding their pronoun use.

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

Lovato didn’t “return to pronouns” but added “she” to their list of pronouns. There is a big difference. Lovato still identifies as non-binary, just updating their pronouns to reflect where they are on their gender journey now.

To paint their words as “returning” or any variation of that phrase lends validity to your favorite shoestring argument, which is that being non-binary isn’t just a degree or a length. Or that Lovato was returning to being her idea of ​​a “real woman”, safely tucked back into her gender binary.

To be clear: being non-binary is not a degree 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 to. It doesn’t make the identity any less valid, it’s just part of the journey.

Why is someone updating their pronouns even in the news? I don’t see news stories about cisgender celebrities proudly claiming to go by “she” or “he/she,” so why are we blasting non-binary celebrities? Like coming out – another tabloid obsession – pronouns are someone’s personal matter, not clickbait.

Pronouns have always been part of our human vocabulary, but recently they have become a political pawn for far-right and transphobic bigots. But everyone has pronouns – even the straightest person on this planet has pronouns. Surely the point is, just out of basic human decency, to respect someone’s pronoun choice and grow up about it.

For non-binary people, we can have many pronouns which is why we don’t identify as a singular gender or any gender for that matter. There are some non-binary people who just want to go by the pronouns “they/them.” Some non-binary people go by “they/them” but they also go by “she/she” or “he/she”. It depends on the person, so the best policy is always to ask and not assume.

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

Personally, I go by either “they/them” or “she/she” and it’s not because I define myself as a woman, because I can’t. I still go by “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 the pronoun. The thing is, non-binary people don’t have to explain to anyone why they go by a certain pronoun – just be respectful and call people by the pronouns they go by. And if their pronouns change, call them those pronouns. It’s really not that challenging of a concept. It is basic decency.

Right now, this country is facing more transphobic bills and laws than ever before. Pronouns have become a big topic in speeches and political platforms. Transphobia and blatant homophobia have reached alarming heights and show no signs of slowing down. Being non-binary right now is scary. Being transgender right now is scary. It’s a scary time for all LGBTQ people. The media should cover topics like gender identity with sensitivity and responsibility—because when headlines and social media conversations—as some have about Lovato—are mistaken, many people’s identities are undermined.

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