Lots of people go by ‘he.’ Lots of people go by ‘she.’ And, some people … don’t.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, a very good reason to stop using the phrase “ladies and gentlemen.”

Here’s a fact about gender that you may not know: Being “male” or “female” isn’t the only way a person can be gendered.

(Confused? Don’t worry.)

If you’re hearing this for the first time, here’s some context.

You probably didn’t blink when I called you either a “lady” or a “gentleman” at the top of this post because most of us refer to ourselves as either “male” or “female.”

But the titles “Mr.” and “Ms.” don’t cover everyone. Some people don’t identify as either gender. The word for them is non-binary, as in neither “male” nor “female.”

Wondering what you say when referring to people who are non-binary?

It’s simple: Instead of using “he/him/his” or “she/her/hers,” you use “they/them/their” or other gender neutral words.

At this point, I have to mention…

Upworthy has a confession to make.

The staff here had a hard time understanding this concept.

At first, we didn’t know what to do. But, thanks to a few queer folk who work at Upworthy, we’ve learned more about queer identity and gender.

To those taken aback by it, it’s new to many of us too. There’s more to understanding gender in-depth.

Two things about us play an important part in our identity.


One part, our sexual orientation, is a big part of who we are. Whether gay, straight, bisexual, or asexual, our orientation indicates the gender we desire — or don’t, if you’re asexual.

The other big part who we are is our gender identity.

  • Most of us are cisgendered: born as the gender we identify as.
  • And transgendered people are assigned the incorrect gender at birth.
  • Non-binary or gender neutral people don’t identify as either gender.
  • And some — like genderqueer people, for example — identify as a combination of both.

As with orientation, gender has a broad range. It’s not a couple of boxes on a form. Gender is much more like a spectrum.


It seems complex, but it’s actually pretty simple.

But, Upworthy folks still had a hard time getting it right. Me included.

We employ a few queer and other LGBTQ folks here at Upworthy. One employee happens to identify as gender non-conforming. This was the first time others and I had met someone like them.

Since this was new to us, a lot of us failed at respecting this person and their identity by misgendering them. We failed miserably, and often. We had some pretty superficial reasons for it too:

“Calling one person ‘they’ is grammatically confusing.”

“It’s hard to remember to say the right words.”

Seriously — grammar, everyone!

Bottom line:

True.

Using neutral pronouns like “they,” “them,” and “their” with our colleague took a little getting used to, but we’re getting there.

(Justin Vivian Bond is a singer who is trans and gender non-conforming.)

Everyone’s orientation and identity are facts. They aren’t decisions. If someone’s telling you what they prefer to be identified as, make an effort to use the right words. Like Justin said above, life isn’t easier for those who don’t identify the way the majority does. Let’s try not to make it harder for them.

Watch the full video below for some more insight into how we learned from our company-wide mistake:

An Upworthy Original Video.

Original quote from Justin Vivian Bond’s website. Photo by Steve Meyer under Creative Commons. To learn more about issues the trans and queer community face, take a look here.

The 6 best parts of the president’s conversation with these Girl Scouts about their science project

“It’s a prototype.” “It’s a prototype!”

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There are so many things to love about this clip of the president talking to a group of Girl Scouts at the recent White House science fair. The girls are from the a troop in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and they used
LEGOS to build a page-turning device for people with arthritis.

And, yes, they’re only in kindergarten, and you can just tell these girls are going to grow up brilliantly.

Here are the best parts of the clip:

1. The Superman capes. Because #HeroStatus.

2. The president doesn’t compliment them for being adorable or cute or pretty, and he doesn’t even comment on the capes. He’s just interested in their work — not what they look like.

3. “It’s a prototype.”

4. The girls learned that the kind of brainstorming they did for their project is something that presidents do too.
They can do what presidents do!

5.
Getting girls interested in science fields is important, especially because women are leaving STEM careers at an alarming rate, so it’s a big deal that the president stopped by to encourage them and show genuine interest in their work.

“We don’t just want to increase the number of American students in STEM…we want to increase the diversity students” —Obama #WHScienceFair— The White House (@WhiteHouse) March 23, 2015

“Science is for all of us. And we want our classrooms and labs and workplaces and media to reflect that.” —President Obama #WHScienceFair— The White House (@WhiteHouse) March 23, 2015

I couldn’t agree more.

6. Group hug!

Video by NowThis News. Data on women in STEM fields comes from the Harvard Business Review and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Additional background info sourced from Fast Company.

Angelina Jolie Pitt had another major elective surgery but wants you to know you don’t have to.

In 2013, Angelina Jolie Pitt underwent a double mastectomy after learning she carried a mutated gene often linked with breast and ovarian cancer. In her March 2015 New York Times op-ed, Angelina revealed she recently underwent another preventative cancer surgery, electing to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed. While her story is a brave and touching one, her words for other women who are concerned about their risk of developing cancer speak volumes.

It’s important for women to know there are a variety of options available when it comes to dealing with cancer and taking preventative measures if you’re at risk for cancer. Angelina’s willingness to share her experience is not only brave, but could possibly save lives and comfort women who are worried about their own health.

While her 2013 op-ed on her double mastectomy made news around the world, there are still plenty of women who don’t know early cancer screenings are available. And, sadly, the medical industry continues to be incredibly biased toward women, often with giving them higher insurance premiums and fewer opportunities for clinal trials. That’s why a huge celebrity who is encouraging women to explore their options and make decisions they feel comfortable with for their bodies is such a big deal. Not to mention, it’s also pretty cool to hear a beautiful and confident woman talking about her health and body in such an open and honest way.

One concern raised after Angelina wrote about her double mastectomy that no doubt will surface again with her latest piece was that many women can’t afford screening to identify the BRCA1 gene, and even those who can can’t always afford surgery or treatment. That’s why I think it’s important that Angelina noted that there are a variety of options when it comes to preventative cancer care. Feminist organizer and writer Erin Matson summed up this sentiment quite perfectly on Twitter:

When it comes down to it, all we have is our health. It’s a moral imperative to ensure everyone has access to high quality health care.

— Erin Matson (@erintothemax)
March 24, 2015

My hope is that by making this information more widely available, perhaps more women will demand these tests become more accessible for women of all economic backgrounds and maybe insurance companies will get on board to provide coverage for these screenings.

Angelina went on to say that choosing to have surgery does not make her feel less feminine or less of a woman, which I think is also a powerful note.

It’s great that Angelina – a sexy, sexy woman – is telling the world she is in menopause and holding her head high.

— Erin Matson (@erintothemax)
March 24, 2015

Women are not the sum of their body parts. Ovaries don’t make a woman. Breasts don’t make a woman. Being a woman makes a woman. So it’s quite beautiful that Angelina not only used her platform to educate women about their health care options, but shared that her surgeries have not changed who she is. It’s important to challenge the idea so many people still subscribe to that femininity and womanhood are reliant on body parts instead of who you are and how you feel about yourself. I’m proud of Angelina Jolie Pitt for using her influence in such a positive way while also acknowledging her privilege and attempting to use it for the benefit of others. Here’s hoping this important conversation helps others make more informed decisions about the care they want and need.

Quotes from The New York Times’ “Angelina Jolie Pitt: Diary of a Surgery.” Thumbnail and first graphic image by Gage Skidmore and second graphic image by Foreign and Commonwealth Offices, both used under Creative Commons licenses.

What happened to this family was tragic. So they threw themselves at the tragedy of illiteracy.

How a beautiful child’s legacy is making a difference for her community.

Essence K. Coprich was 7 years old when her life was cut short after a tire blew on the car she was riding in. Her 2-year-old cousin also died that day.

But the family turned that event into an engine to help people grow and learn and live better lives. What a wonderful way to remember someone.

It’s an appropriate legacy to celebrate the life of one very special little girl named Essence — a girl who loved hugs.

This video is by Microsoft.

What happened to this family was tragic. So they threw themselves at the tragedy of illiteracy.

How a beautiful child’s legacy is making a difference for her community.

Essence K. Coprich was 7 years old when her life was cut short after a tire blew on the car she was riding in. Her 2-year-old cousin also died that day.

But the family turned that event into an engine to help people grow and learn and live better lives. What a wonderful way to remember someone.

It’s an appropriate legacy to celebrate the life of one very special little girl named Essence — a girl who loved hugs.

This video is by Microsoft.

Her fast-food paycheck sucks, but she’d have been much happier in 1968.

Regardless of what side of the minimum wage debate you fall on, the conversation is bound to get heated. But a deeper look at how minimum wage has changed over the years shows just how screwy this whole situation is.

Fast-food workers are demanding a higher wage and for good reason.

Nancy Salgado, a 10-year McDonald’s employee, got quite a lot of attention in 2013 when she and a group of protesters showed up at a luncheon during McDonald’s president Jeff Stratton’s keynote address. Here’s what she wanted to know.

But how did we get here?

The minimum wage has been raised numerous times over the years, peaking in 1968. And as a nation, we’ve come a long way since the ’60s. But in comparison with today, we haven’t come that far when it comes to giving workers a decent living wage. Take a look at these comparisons from Time magazine’s “A History of the Minimum Wage.”

And while the average household is earning $91 more than they did in 1968, minimum-wage workers are earning $7,363 less than they were making in 1968 (adjusted for inflation). I highly doubt McDonald’s employees like Nancy Salgado would wanna take a time machine back to 1968, but at least her wallet would be a lot fatter.

There’s no way you could convince me to go back to the ’60s — heck, in 1967, interracial marriage had just become legal in all states! That would’ve made my husband and me former outlaws! But it’s pretty bad when 1968 America has the modern day beat when it comes to raising a family on a living wage.

Original quote graphic featuring photo by Annette Bernhardt used under a Creative Commons license. Check out the clip of Nancy Salgado confronting McDonald’s president and Time magazine’s “A History of the Minimum Wage.”

Her fast-food paycheck sucks, but she’d have been much happier in 1968.

Regardless of what side of the minimum wage debate you fall on, the conversation is bound to get heated. But a deeper look at how minimum wage has changed over the years shows just how screwy this whole situation is.

Fast-food workers are demanding a higher wage and for good reason.

Nancy Salgado, a 10-year McDonald’s employee, got quite a lot of attention in 2013 when she and a group of protesters showed up at a luncheon during McDonald’s president Jeff Stratton’s keynote address. Here’s what she wanted to know.

But how did we get here?

The minimum wage has been raised numerous times over the years, peaking in 1968. And as a nation, we’ve come a long way since the ’60s. But in comparison with today, we haven’t come that far when it comes to giving workers a decent living wage. Take a look at these comparisons from Time magazine’s “A History of the Minimum Wage.”

And while the average household is earning $91 more than they did in 1968, minimum-wage workers are earning $7,363 less than they were making in 1968 (adjusted for inflation). I highly doubt McDonald’s employees like Nancy Salgado would wanna take a time machine back to 1968, but at least her wallet would be a lot fatter.

There’s no way you could convince me to go back to the ’60s — heck, in 1967, interracial marriage had just become legal in all states! That would’ve made my husband and me former outlaws! But it’s pretty bad when 1968 America has the modern day beat when it comes to raising a family on a living wage.

Original quote graphic featuring photo by Annette Bernhardt used under a Creative Commons license. Check out the clip of Nancy Salgado confronting McDonald’s president and Time magazine’s “A History of the Minimum Wage.”

These kids aren’t all right. 7 photos show you a world of change.

Their stories really hit home.

Children are already living it.

Photographers from around the world share photos of kids to help us see what climate change really looks like.

1. Fire.

This young man from Shuswap, British Columbia, is hanging out in his family pickup, watching the world around him go up in flames.

A photo posted by Everyday Climate Change (@everydayclimatechange) on Jan 14, 2015, at 7:28pm PST

Photo by @nina_berman @noorimages

The tiny pine bark beetle, thriving in hot, dry summers and mild winters, is causing millions of acres of trees to die all over the western U.S. and British Columbia. And what do hot, dry summers plus acres of standing dead timber mean?
You guessed it: big, hot wildfires. They’ve gotten so severe that it’s become a pastime to go out at night and watch the “fireworks.”

2. Sea level rise.

Body surfing is fun, but these kids on Kiribati have too much of a good thing. Rising seas beat against the seawall that provides the only protection for their families’ homes.

A photo posted by Everyday Climate Change (@everydayclimatechange) on Feb 14, 2015, at 8:10pm PST

Photo by @ashleycrowtherorg

Kiribati, an island nation in the central Pacific, is anticipated to be the first country to lose
all its land to rising seas
caused by climate change. Can you imagine growing up in a place that you knew was disappearing under the waves forever?

3. Shrinking Arctic ice.

Heading back to the family hunting camp, a young boy near Kivalina, Alaska, helps his dad carry a precious catch. Thin, mushy ice is making finding food much harder.

A photo posted by Everyday Climate Change (@everydayclimatechange) on Feb 7, 2015 at 4:23am PST

Photo by @timmatsui

The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world. Less coastal ice in the winter means less time and space to hunt, as well as less wildlife. And villages along the coast are much less protected during powerful winter storms.

(Polar bears, walruses, and other animals rely on the winter ice for hunting too. )

4. Strange weather.

Two very serious tour guides from Xikrin greet a photographer visiting their Kayapó community in the Brazilian Amazon.

A photo posted by Everyday Climate Change (@everydayclimatechange) on Feb 2, 2015 at 5:28pm PST

Photo by @carobennett

Their ancestors have passed down stories about their environment for generations. Will their knowledge be able to guide these children in the future?

5. Super storms.

Kids can make a game of anything. Three girls play in a fog of mosquito repellent near bunkhouses that remain home for thousands of refugees from Typhoon Haiyan. When will the next storm hit?

A photo posted by Everyday Climate Change (@everydayclimatechange) on Jan 30, 2015 at 5:36am PST


Photo by @coleenjose

The “super typhoon” left almost 4 million people homeless, 6,300 dead, and 1,061 missing. The Philippines is #1 on the
list of countries expected to be most affected by intensifying storms, floods, and heat waves.

6. War.

What to make of her new home? A Syrian girl looks pensive in the Al Za’atri refugee camp in Jordan. Conflicts over water remain the root of Syria’s civil war.

A photo posted by Everyday Climate Change (@everydayclimatechange) on Mar 6, 2015 at 5:16pm PST

Photo by @edkashi/@viiphoto

Climate change and
one of the worst droughts in modern history have been
directly connected to the war
in Syria, which has displaced millions and devastated an entire nation.

7. Drought.

Friends hang on the parched streets of Stratford, California, where the economy is drying up along with the land.

A photo posted by Everyday Climate Change (@everydayclimatechange) on Feb 28, 2015 at 9:05am PST

Photo by @mrobinsonchavez

Drought is a slow, quiet killer of wildlife, livestock, crops, and ways of life. For a fourth straight year, lack of snow in the Sierra Nevada has meant low meltwater to feed many rivers and irrigated fields in California. 430,000 acres of choice Central Valley agricultural land will lie fallow during the growing season of 2015 due to lack of rain and snow.

A lot of us can relate to what at least one of these kids is facing.

We can change direction. We have the technology to shift away from climate-changing fossil fuels.

Let’s make sure the kids are all right.

Everyday Climate Change on Instagram features kick-ass work by photographers on five continents (and a lot of places in between) whose photos help all of us reckon with what climate change means for people living where it’s hitting the hardest. Visit them on Facebook too. We tried in vain to find the creator of the quote graphic. If you know who created it, tweet me!

When choosing a new puppy, there’s 1 factor more important than how cute he or she is.

Everyone loves puppies, right?

March 23 marks National Puppy Day.

Not that anyone needs extra reason to share pictures of adorable dogs, National Puppy Day devotes a day to do that and focus efforts on one of the big issues facing dog lovers: puppy mills.

A puppy mill is a commercially run dog-breeding facility that supplies pet stores with dogs, which are then sold to consumers.

Puppy mills often emphasize selling as many dogs as possible without caring much about the actual health and safety of the animals they sell. Groups like the ASPCA and Humane Society have been working to put an end to puppy mills.


#NorthCarolina, take action to STOP puppy mill suffering before it starts! http://t.co/X65RE8Zbn0 pic.twitter.com/PnuJ8PJIcN— ASPCA (@ASPCA) March 23, 2015



#NationalPuppyDay a good day to raise awareness about #Arkansas

Adopting from a shelter is a much more humane, affordable approach to pet ownership.

By adopting from a shelter instead of shopping at a store, animal lovers aren’t supporting puppy mills. And on top of that, adoption saves a life.

Dog trainer Victoria Stilwell of Animal Planet’s “It’s Me or the Dog” used her Twitter account to voice support for shelter adoption.

Today is #NationalPuppyDay! Remember, you can always find great puppies at your local shelter. Photo: @kevinlowery pic.twitter.com/rEQADuqo5y— Victoria Stilwell (@VictoriaS) March 23, 2015

As did Melissa Knowles of HLN’s “The Daily Share.”

More #PuppyLove in @TheDailyShare studio. Meet Colleen. #NationalPuppyDay #TheDailyShare #HLN #AdoptDontShop pic.twitter.com/rZrMxbIzxC— Melissa Knowles (@Knowlesitall) March 23, 2015

If you’re planning on adding a furry new friend to your life, save a shelter dog!

The Humane Society, Maddie’s Fund, and the Ad Council have joined together to create a national adoption database.

It

Check out this heartwarming video by the Shelter Pet Project featuring “Scandal” actress Bellamy Young.

Video comes from the Shelter Pet Project. The thumbnail image is from Flickr user Bev Sykes, and the puppy image above comes from Flickr user Jonathan Kriz. Both are used under Creative Commons license.

When choosing a new puppy, there’s 1 factor more important than how cute he or she is.

Everyone loves puppies, right?

March 23 marks National Puppy Day.

Not that anyone needs extra reason to share pictures of adorable dogs, National Puppy Day devotes a day to do that and focus efforts on one of the big issues facing dog lovers: puppy mills.

A puppy mill is a commercially run dog-breeding facility that supplies pet stores with dogs, which are then sold to consumers.

Puppy mills often emphasize selling as many dogs as possible without caring much about the actual health and safety of the animals they sell. Groups like the ASPCA and Humane Society have been working to put an end to puppy mills.


#NorthCarolina, take action to STOP puppy mill suffering before it starts! http://t.co/X65RE8Zbn0 pic.twitter.com/PnuJ8PJIcN— ASPCA (@ASPCA) March 23, 2015



#NationalPuppyDay a good day to raise awareness about #Arkansas

Adopting from a shelter is a much more humane, affordable approach to pet ownership.

By adopting from a shelter instead of shopping at a store, animal lovers aren’t supporting puppy mills. And on top of that, adoption saves a life.

Dog trainer Victoria Stilwell of Animal Planet’s “It’s Me or the Dog” used her Twitter account to voice support for shelter adoption.

Today is #NationalPuppyDay! Remember, you can always find great puppies at your local shelter. Photo: @kevinlowery pic.twitter.com/rEQADuqo5y— Victoria Stilwell (@VictoriaS) March 23, 2015

As did Melissa Knowles of HLN’s “The Daily Share.”

More #PuppyLove in @TheDailyShare studio. Meet Colleen. #NationalPuppyDay #TheDailyShare #HLN #AdoptDontShop pic.twitter.com/rZrMxbIzxC— Melissa Knowles (@Knowlesitall) March 23, 2015

If you’re planning on adding a furry new friend to your life, save a shelter dog!

The Humane Society, Maddie’s Fund, and the Ad Council have joined together to create a national adoption database.

It

Check out this heartwarming video by the Shelter Pet Project featuring “Scandal” actress Bellamy Young.

Video comes from the Shelter Pet Project. The thumbnail image is from Flickr user Bev Sykes, and the puppy image above comes from Flickr user Jonathan Kriz. Both are used under Creative Commons license.