The photo comes from Brendan’s incredible success after attending the Global Young Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C., where they were chosen as the only person from their school to attend. Killing it, Brendan!
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This is Brendan my sister Leslie's second child!! 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!! #superproudauntie #familia❤
The other important note, of course, is Lopez’s use of the gender-neutral pronoun for Brendan. For a young nonbinary person, hearing others use their preferred personal pronoun can be life-changing, especially when it’s being posted on a global stage such as Lopez’s Instagram account. While there’s no official term for niece or nephew for nonbinary people, the proud aunt’s use of the proper pronoun speaks volumes for the LGBTQ community. She normalizes the often misunderstood notion of nonbinary-identifying people by respecting Brendan’s identity and using it in a simple Instagram caption.
“This is Brendan my sister Leslie’s second child!!” JLo writes. “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 obviously a leader!! Titi Jenn loves you!! #superproudauntie #familia”
Brendan’s success is definitely the most important part of all this, but commenters were quick to also acknowledge Lopez’s use of “they.” One commenter wrote, “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!”
And another commenter wrote, “[I] love that preferred gender pronoun. stay woke sis.”
There will always, unfortunately, be people who don’t understand, like those commenters who tried to correct the pop star’s grammar. But as of 2017, “they” is globally recognized as a singular noun that is complete and proper grammar. So while this is a helpful leap forward for nonbinary identities around the world, congratulations for Brendan are more so in order for their incredible accomplishments in D.C.!