A 73-year-old woman has gone viral after her poem about using gender-neutral pronouns struck a chord with thousands – including Chelsea Clinton.
The beautiful message of acceptance was posted by Theo Nicole Lorenz, a non-binary writer and artist who lives in Minnesota.
They wrote: “My 73-year-old aunt wrote a poem about my pronouns in her church writing group and it’s the sweetest thing,” before sharing the wonderful creation with the public.
The poem, titled “They,” read: “This person I know / Wants to be called they. / It could bring us much closer / To see them that way.
“It’s a strange thing to think / And harder to say, / But they are so happy / When the effort is made.
“For all the theys and thems / It is this that I pray, / We be kind and accepting / And just let them be they.”
Amen to that.
The post has attracted more than 125,000 retweets and likes.
Chelsea Clinton, daughter of President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and board member of the Clinton Foundation, retweeted the post and responded with a comment, writing: “This is beautiful and wise.”
In response, Theo said: “Thank you, I’ll pass the compliment along to my aunt 💖.”
Theo, the author’s nibling (a gender-neutral term used instead of ‘niece’ or ‘nephew’), used the opportunity to share some amazing facts about their aunt.
“She was a belly dancer in Alaska in the 70’s,” Theo explained, and is “listed as co-inventor on all of my late uncle’s workout machine patents.
“She does woodburning and carving and taught me the first one.”
Importantly, they also said their aunt was “one of the kindest people I know and my creative role model.”
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Theo had some additional, shade-filled words for those seeking to throw hate at non-binary people.
“And for those taking my elderly aunt’s poem as an opportunity to criticise other people’s lives,” they wrote, “I hope this helps.”
They then proceeded to link to an article entitled “7 Ways To Find A New Hobby.”
The response surprised and delighted Theo, who said: “I’m so glad my aunt’s poem resonated with so many people!
“This tweet keeps freezing my Twitter app and I’m on my way to a convention, so I’m muting the thread. Thank you to everyone who’s continuing to share, educate, and listen downthread!”
A 2018 survey found that only one in five people would be okay with using the pronoun “they” when talking to another person.
Non-binary activists have a friend in Brendon Urie though, with the frontman of emo pop band Panic! At The Disco making his support clear in a tweet in April.
And it’s not a new phenomenon. Merriam-Webster’s unabridged dictionary of 1934 featured the gender-neutral pronoun “thon” – short for “that one” – and continued to include the word until 1961.