By Amy Ryan
Jennifer Lopez has received lots of attention for a recent Instagram post after using gender-neutral pronouns when describing her sister’s child Brendan last week.
Her fans and members of the non-binary community praised the singer for her nonchalant use of the pronoun "they", highlighting Brendan's preference not to identify with a gender.
"This is Brendan my sister Leslie's second child!! They were the one person selected to represent their school at #globalyoungleadersconference in Washington DC!!!", said the singer in the post.
"And I couldn't be more proud!!! Brendan is strong and smart and loving and a obviously a leader!! Titi Jenn loves you!!" she added.
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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❤
Non-binary refers to a gender that is not exclusively male or female and many identify as one general type of a gender system.
Activists say that care should be taken when using pronouns such as 'he' or 'she' as this could be offensive for non-binary individuals who do not identify as male or female.
Jeffrey Marsh, a non-binary activist and author, told People Magazine that Lopez showed great respect for Brendan’s choice of pronouns.
“What I loved about Jennifer’s post is how ordinary it was,” said Marsh.
“It’s a post from a proud aunt about how amazing the kid is. Imagine being lucky enough to have such a famous and talented aunt, and then imagine being treated with respect like it’s not a big thing.”
"Wonderful. This makes us love you even more," said one Instagram user on the post.
"Thank you for showing respect for them. It's not every day you see a lot of actors/actresses, singers, etc speak out or stand up for LGBT+ issues. Something as simple as respecting a person's pronouns makes huge waves" added another user, theceattle.
"Thank you so much for helping to normalize gender-neutral language without making it about you. You are a true role model for others in the public eye," said glitterfem.
However, not all of the comments were supportive. Many people were confused by her choice of pronoun, with some pointing out the grammatical issues with using 'they'.
One user said "Brendan was selected" would have been fine. Pronouns can be so gnarly, but really, one person can't be a crowd."
Other commenters aired their views about gender neutrality and criticised the idea of choosing your gender.
"The confusion and denial of our society is getting out of hand. God forbid- but if your niece or nephew had an emergency and went to the hospital they had to check either MALE or FEMALE to be treated according to their GENDER. Anatomy isn't make believe," said another user.
Nurseamy88I said: "Who the hell are you if you won't say if your a boy or girl. This crap has gone way to far. It's insanity. Now you have kids who have no identity. It's complete lunacy."