Jennifer Lopez used a gender neutral pronoun to refer to her sister's child on Instagram and her followers are freaking out.
Brendan, who looks to be about middle school age, attended the Global Young Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C. in June of this year.
"This is Brendan my sister Leslie's second child!!" Lopez writes in the caption. "They were the one person selected to represent their school at #globalyoungleadersconference in Washington DC!!! And I couldn't be more proud!!! Brendan is strong and smart and loving and a obviously a leader!! Titi Jenn loves you!!"
Obviously, the important part of the post is Brendan's success. It's important to recognize, though, the fact that Lopez uses "they" to refer to Brendan. (There has yet to be an official gender neutral term for the niece/nephew relation, although some websites claim it is "nibling.") Lopez's followers noticed this detail in the caption, and were quick to point it out. Most are appreciative that Lopez made the effort to use a gender neutral pronoun for her family member.
One commenter writes, "Woooooo!!! @jlo good job using the gender pronouns they prefer, and not making a whole big thing about it. This is what we need more of! Love you even more now!"
Another notes, simply, "i love that preferred gender pronoun. stay woke sis."
A few commenters were confused by the use of the pronoun, noting that "they" used in the singular form is improper grammar. (More than a few missed the pronoun entirely and wrote, "Congrats to your niece!") However, as of 2017, "they" as a singular noun is widely recognized as 100% proper. In 2015, the American Dialect Society named it as the Word of the Year and Associated Press style guide deems it allowable in the case of a non-binary individual.
The fact remains, though, that Brendan was selected to attend the Global Young Leaders Conference this year — more than anything else, congratulations are in order for them.
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