A poem about pronouns is bringing people to happy tears.

Three years ago, Theo Nicole Lorenz began going by the gender-neutral pronoun "they." Some people didn't get it.

Lorenz is nonbinary, meaning that they don't identify as a man or a woman. About three years ago, they ditched the more standard gendered pronouns ("he/him/his" or "she/her/hers") in favor of "they/them/theirs."

The whole concept of being nonbinary is something that people sometimes have a tough time wrapping their heads around, but sometimes life just doesn't fit into neat little boxes.


"I knew there would be pushback," Lorenz says about efforts to get people on board with their pronouns. "When you start using they/them pronouns, suddenly everyone around you is an English major, you know?"

Photo courtesy of Theo Nicole Lorenz.

It's taken a few years, but Lorenz has found a great ally in their 73-year-old Aunt Suzy.

"When I first came out to her, she understood my gender identity but not my pronouns," Lorenz says. "She said, 'We always knew you were different, and we love you just the way you are.' But also, on my pronouns — 'I don't know if I can get used to that. I'll try.' It's taken her a few years."

On May 21, Lorenz shared a poem written by Suzy for her church writing group. It was heartwarming and really gets to the core of the whole pronoun issue.

"This person I know
Wants to be called a 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 is 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."












What makes the poem even more touching is that Lorenz and their aunt have always had a special relationship.

Lorenz credits Aunt Suzy with inspiring their interest in art, which led to a career as a professional illustrator. "Whenever she and my late uncle were doing well, they'd send me money for art supplies. Her home was my creative retreat growing up," they say.

"We're both quiet artist types who'd rather stay home in a cocoon of cats and B movies than party," they add. "Every time we get together, it's like no time has passed at all, and we talk for hours. Throughout her life she's been a belly dancer, inventor, painter, woodcarver, and scuba diver, and I've always looked up to her."

A sample of some of Lorenz's artwork. Images via theonicole.com.

A common complaint people have about referring to an individual person as "they" is that it's usually used as a plural pronoun.

But in truth, the singular "they" dates back hundreds of years, and most people use it regularly without even realizing it. For instance, if someone cuts you off in traffic, you're likely to say "They cut me off!" even though it's clearly just one person driving the car.

We often use singular "they" whenever we're referring to someone whose gender isn't readily known, especially in casual conversation; so using it for someone who specifically uses it shouldn't be too tough.

For Lorenz, using a person's prounouns is really just a way to demonstrate common courtesy and show that you view them as a legitimate individual in the world.

"Using someone's correct pronouns is a small, vital way to tell them, 'You belong here,'" they say. "When you refuse to use someone's pronouns, you're denying their identity. In the case of 'they/them' pronouns, a lot of people use grammar as an excuse to refuse it, which is like saying, 'I value the grammar I learned in ninth grade more than your comfort.'"

We can all choose to be kind. As Aunt Suzy says, "just let them be they."

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Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Welcometoterranova and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Welcometoterranova-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.