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Jennifer Lopez used a gender-neutral pronoun for her sister's child and her fans are going wild

Gender: The Space Between
CBS Reports presents Gender - The Space Between 30:51

Jennifer Lopez used gender-neutral pronouns to describe her teen relative, and fans are taking notice.

In an Instagram post on July 18, Jennifer Lopez posted a picture of her sister's second child, Brendan, congratulating the family member for being chosen to attend this year's Global Young Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C. And while many of the pop star's fans immediately posted congratulatory replies about the teen's academic achievement, others seemed more moved by the choice of words in Lopez's caption.

"This is Brendan my sister Leslie's second child!!" the caption reads. "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"

In March 2017, the AP Stylebook adopted the use of "they," "them," and "their" as singular or gender-neutral pronouns when referring to individuals who do not identify as being male or female. And now, it appears that Lopez is embracing the pronouns as well.

Gender terminology 101 01:41

By using the gender-neutral pronouns "they" and "their" to refer to Brendan -- while simultaneously avoiding the gendered words "niece" and "nephew" -- Lopez seemed to communicate her support of the non-binary community and their preferred pronouns. The gesture was not lost on her fans.

"The caption. I'm crying," wrote one of Lopez's followers. 

"You and Brendan ROCK @jlo !!" chimed in another. 

Other Instagram comments included, "Pronouns for the win," and  "YESSSSSSSSSSS @jlo THEY are lucky to have a great support system."

Non-binary: The gender beyond he or she 01:36

Not all of them were supportive, though. Controversial political commentator Milo Yiannopoulos, for example, commented, "Is it a boy or a girl?"

The answer to that question, however, is "neither," "both" or perhaps even "it depends on the day." Some non-binary individuals, as Brendan may be, often choose to reject gender completely, blend aspects of both or fluctuate between masculinity and femininity on a day-to-day basis. Transgender people who transition from male to female or female to male make up just one part of the trans community. 

This week, in a simple paragraph on social media, Lopez showed that she understands the different nuances of the gender spectrum without drawing attention to what she was doing or taking away from Brendan's accomplishment.

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