US dictionary Merriam Webster has picked the word of 2019; one that paved way for many discussions this year. Giving away the title to gender neutral pronoun 'they', Merriam-Webster said searches for the use of the word, which was added to its dictionary in September, had increased by more than 300 per cent this year as more and more people identify as non-binary—neither a man nor a woman.
A number of celebrities came out as non-binary this year. In September, British singer Sam Smith identified himself as non-binary, and urged on the use of pronouns 'they' and 'them'. He wrote on Instagram: “Today is a good day so here goes. I’ve decided I am changing my pronouns to THEY/THEM. after a lifetime of being at war with my gender I’ve decided to embrace myself for who I am, inside and out. (sic)”
The word 'they' was widely searched in January this year after model Oslo Grace rose to fame. The 21-year-old Californian model identifies herself as 'non-binary transgender' and walks the ramp wearing both men's and women's clothes. In April, the word came back on the search list when US congresswoman Pramila Jayapal spoke about her gender-nonconforming child while arguing for LGBTQ rights legislation.
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Today is a good day so here goes. I’ve decided I am changing my pronouns to THEY/THEM ❤ after a lifetime of being at war with my gender I’ve decided to embrace myself for who I am, inside and out. I’m so excited and privileged to be surrounded by people that support me in this decision but I’ve been very nervous about announcing this because I care too much about what people think but fuck it! I understand there will be many mistakes and mis gendering but all I ask is you please please try. I hope you can see me like I see myself now. Thank you. 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 but I have also tagged below the human beings who are fighting the good fight everyday. These are activists and leaders of the non binary/trans community that have helped me and given me so much clarity and understanding. @tomglitter @munroebergdorf @transnormativity @alokvmenon @katemoross @glamrou @travisalabanza @twyrent @chellaman @jvn @lavernecox @stonewalluk @glaad @humanrightscampaign @mermaidsgender Love you all. I’m scared shitless, but feeling super free right now. Be kind x
Other words that competed with ''they' for the title include ‘quid pro quo’, ‘impeach’, ‘crawdad’.