It’s OK To Use “They” To Describe One Person: Here’s Why
Has someone ever asked you to refer to them as they instead of he or she? Or, are you hedging because you can’t possibly refer to one single person as they? What if we told you that they has been used to refer to just one person since at least the 1300s?
Lexicographers have determined that as far back as the 1300s, they has been used as a gender-neutral pronoun, a word that was substituted in place of either he (a masculine singular pronoun) or she (a feminine singular pronoun), e.g., Each student should get their supplies ready for class.Each student is singular, but we don’t know (or need to know) the gender/sex identity of each student in this situation, so their is perfectly handy. Even Chaucer, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and other beloved writers of the English literary canon used singular they.
Gallup: In U.S., Estimate of LGBT Population Rises to 4.5%
Rise in LGBT identification mostly among millennials
LGBT identification is lower among older generations
5.1% of women identify as LGBT, compared with 3.9% of men
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The percentage of American adults identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) increased to 4.5% in 2017, up from 4.1% in 2016 and 3.5% in 2012 when Gallup began tracking the measure. The latest estimate is based on over 340,000 interviews conducted as part of Gallup’s daily tracking in 2017.
In light of Monday’s decision by the Supreme Court not to hear Gavin Grimm’s case, I wanted to share with you this especially timely note from retired university president and PFLAG National Board member Chuck Middleton.
From the desk of…
Charles R. Middleton, Ph.D.
Retired University President
Why Title IX, the federal law which prohibits sex discrimination in schools, matters to all of us
After five decades working in higher education, including 13 years as president of a private university in the third-largest city in America, there’s one thing I know: fear and lack of understanding can create an environment that compromises safety and inhibits learning. This is just one reason why Title IX protections are especially important to LGBTQ students. All students should be assured that their safety and protections against discrimination are unquestionably guaranteed.
As the country’s first openly gay male university president, I am acutely aware of what it’s like to be marginalized and discriminated against. It’s remarkable how instinctively cautious you remain on personal matters, even when there is broader acceptance in society at large, if you learn early in your life that sharing your truth has potentially bad consequences for you personally as well as professionally. Imagine the stories our children are writing today when they have to fight for basic rights and dignities that everyone else takes for granted. Their bravery in standing up for their rights is truly inspirational. Now, they need our help.
I’m so proud of the work PFLAG is doing, specifically around Title IX and ensuring that all students, parents, teachers, coaches – everyone! – understands and knows how to #ClaimYourRights on behalf of the students they care about. Whether you’re transgender, gender expansive, know a student who is, or you want to ensure that your school or university is doing the right thing, visit pflag.org/ClaimYourRights to learn about this initiative which will ensure no student ever has to choose between getting an education and their personal safety.
PFLAG National Statement: PFLAG National and GLSEN Relaunch #ClaimYourRights Campaign – Everything You Need to Know
Today, GLSEN and PFLAG join together to re-launch our #ClaimYourRights Campaign, to help anyone affected by or witnessing anti-transgender discrimination in our schools file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Education. Secretary DeVos clearly needs to better understand the extent of the daily pain and real barriers to wellbeing that the original Departmental guidance was designed to address and eliminate. We must see if her actions will live up to her words, and to the promises made by federal law and the United States Constitution.
GLSEN and PFLAG will do everything in our power to see to it that they do. What can you do? Here are handy tools and resources for you and your chapter, at your fingertips:
Read our statement on the relaunch of the #ClaimYourRights Campaign
Help those affected by discrimination file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Education
Thank you for everything you do to create a community where diversity is celebrated and all people are respected, valued, and affirmed inclusive of their sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
Interim Executive Director
PFLAG National Statement: URGENT: Rescinding of Trans Guidance for Students
We need to share some disturbing news: There is a real possibility that the life-saving Title IX nondiscrimination guidance to protect transgender students might be rescinded.
We have neither commented on nor responded to rumors in the past month, but this time it’s different. This is more than needless chaos; even just considering this action is harmful to vulnerable kids. We do not and will not accept these games as a new normal, not when the emotional and physical safety and lives of transgender kids are at stake.
The latest National School Climate Survey punctuates the real preventable dangers that so many vulnerable transgender youth face at school every day; the Title IX guidance is life-saving to them. The nondiscrimination protections afforded under Title IX remain in place, so rescinding the guidance will only confuse local school districts, cast a shadow over how the law should be implemented, and send the wrong signal about your federal government’s investment in protecting not only transgender kids, but all LGBTQ youth in school.
This is wrong; this is dangerous; this is unacceptable.
PFLAG has an important grassroots presence; we are on the ground in more than 400 communities across the country and can make a real difference. Here’s what you need to do:
Brace yourself if you are a parent of an LGBTQ child in a school environment. Remember, PFLAG is here to support you, to provide community education, and to advocate for your family.
Check on vulnerable youth who will hear these rumors and be scared for what it means for them. Send the absolute message that you are in their corner, that the law is still on their side, and you and PFLAG will fight for their dignity, safety and rights.
Connect with school administrators and remind them that Title IX is still federal law, and they have the power to not abandon the evidence-based guidance designed for the best school environment outcomes for youth.
Regardless of your connection to a school-age child, remember the power of your zip code, and connect with your two U.S Senators and one Representative. Tell them clearly this endangerment is not acceptable, and you expect them to prioritize the urgency of protecting the safety of vulnerable LGBTQ children. If you can, do so in person this week while they are back home near you.
Call your local media to share your story and attend your next school board meeting.
Tell your network what you are doing and why on social media using the @PFLAG handle, and hashtags #PFLAG, #TitleIX, and #DearBetsy
We need to bring visibility to this reckless endangering move, and send an unequivocal message that we will not stand to see the lives of transgender children–or any LGBTQ children–put at risk.
“Vermont Leads States in LGBT Identification” Says Gallup Poll
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Vermont tops a new ranking of states by the portion of adults in 2015 and 2016 who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) at 5.3%. Massachusetts (4.9%), California (4.9%), Oregon (4.9%) and Nevada (4.8%) round out the top five.
5.3% in Vermont identify as LGBT
South Dakota lowest at 2.0%
Biggest increases in the Pacific region
The District of Columbia’s 8.6% LGBT exceeds that of any of the states. States with the lowest percentage of LGBT-identifying residents include South Dakota (2.0%), North Dakota (2.7%), Idaho (2.8%), South Carolina (3.0%) and Montana (3.0%).
“Dear Megan: A Letter to My 13-Year-Old Self” by Megan Rapinoe for The Bleacher Report
Olympian and U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder Megan Rapinoe published a touching “Letter to My 13-Year-Old Self” on The Bleacher Report Friday, just 24 hours before her team took the field for their second match of the Olympic Games in Rio. Below is an excerpt:
“If you knew then what you know now, maybe you would have felt better about branching out on your own a little more. Maybe you would have realized that it was totally OK that you didn’t quite know how to wear the right clothes or whether you were supposed to think the boy sitting next to you in class was cute. Maybe you would have realized that you were gay. And funny. And outgoing. And one of the best soccer players around.”
“Annapolis PFLAG to Hold First Major Event” Article in the Washington Blade
The recently formed Annapolis chapter of PFLAG will hold a “Colorful Kickoff Cookout” this Sunday, August 7, 2016, which represents the chapter’s first major event. It will take place between 4 and 7 p.m. in Crofton Park, 2285 Davidsonville Rd., in Gambrills.
Though initial meetings have taken place beginning in May, the chapter was officially titled in June by PFLAG National. It joins other Maryland PFLAG chapters that have been established in Columbia, Westminster, Frederick, Chestertown, Bethesda, Bel Air and Salisbury.
“We’d really like to get to different parts of the county to show that support is available and let the community members show each other that their community is a safe and supportive one,” Alyssa Fenix, a member of the chapter’s steering committee and one of the lead organizers of the cookout, told the Blade. “This having a history of being a conservative county, the LGBTQ community here needs to know that they can access resources without having to travel to surrounding counties, and that we are dedicated to making sure everyone knows how and where they can find supports and information.”