Why "they" was named word of the year

Merriam-Webster named the nonbinary pronoun the word of 2019. Here's why.

Not conforming to gender binary "norms"

Singer Sam Smith and Actors Nico Tortorella and Indya Moore identify with the gender-neutral pronoun “they.” This gender-neutral singular pronoun was named the word of 2019 by the Merriam-Webster dictionary. The new use of "they" describes someone who does not identify as male or female. The selection of the word of the year is based on data on the words looked up in large numbers. As more celebrities are coming out as non-binary, they are shedding a light on this gender identity.

Anyone who does not identify as either male or female

There is evidence of people identifying as something other than male or female as far back as 400BC. Using gender neutral pronouns reduces mental biases favoring men and boosts positive feelings towards women and LGBTQIA people, according to a recent study from PNAS. Someone who is non-binary or genderqueer thinks of gender as a spectrum rather than a binary opposition. And this, obviously, happens regardless of sex assigned at birth. There are also frequent cases of parents deciding to raise their kids as non-binary. This genderfluid parental approach allows children to pick the gender they feel more comfortable identifying with when they’re old enough.

Despite what a common misconception states, identities beyond the gender binary aren’t new

An underrepresented part of the broader LGBTQIA community, non-binary folks are constantly challenging gender stereotypes associating this identity with androgyny. Being non-binary, in fact, doesn’t necessarily imply a need to be androgynous or rather comply with the traditional idea of what androgynous should look like. Other Hollywood stars have opened up about rejecting the gender binary. "Queer Eye" star Jonathan Van Ness and "Billions" star Asia Kate Dillon identify as gender non-binary. To be gender non-binary means that a person feels like they don't fit into a strictly "male" or "female" category.