Metro Weekly

Why Lily Gladstone Uses They/Them Pronouns

Golden Globe-winning actress and potential Oscar nominee Lily Gladstone uses they/them and she/her pronouns.

Killers of the Flower Moon
Lily Gladstone with Leo DiCaprio in Killers of the Flower Moon

Last week, Lily Gladstone won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama for her work in Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon. In case you were curious, Gladstone uses both she/her and they/them pronouns, and why she chooses to do so is fascinating.

“In most Native languages, most Indigenous languages, Blackfeet included, there are no gendered pronouns,” Gladstone told People magazine. The actor, who belongs to the Blackfeet Nation – one of many indigenous cultures in the United States – added that in her world, “There is no he/she, there’s only they.”

Gladstone was raised, in part, in Montana on a Blackfeet Nation reservation. She reportedly has mixed ancestry, and her heritage includes Piegan Blackfeet, Nez Perce, and European peoples. She clearly holds her Blackfeet heritage close, as she speaks the language and aligns with their ideas of gender and identity.

In the People interview, Gladstone explained that her people “don’t have gendered pronouns.” Instead, she said, “our gender is implied in our name.” Gladstone was open about admitting that even then, the gender of the person is not always clear, suggesting that “even that’s not binary.”

Gladstone’s decision to use both she/her and they/them pronouns wasn’t one she made lightly. She sees it as “partly a way of decolonizing gender for myself.” The idea of people only being male or female is specific to some cultures, but not all. It took hold around the globe after European colonizers invaded the world. People like Gladstone can fight back in their way by simply refusing to adhere to those rules.

The actor also added that her pronoun choices remind her that “when I’m in a group of ladies, I know that I’m a little bit different.” Her gender identity is something that makes her special and helps her stand out from the crowd.

At the Golden Globes, Gladstone faced tough competition when it came to winning her award, but she still managed to triumph. She beat out Hollywood favorites like Annette Bening and Carey Mulligan, and relative newcomers Sandra Hüller, Cailee Spaeny, and Greta Lee.

Gladstone is enjoying the biggest moment in her career thus far. Killers of the Flower Moon has serious Oscar buzz, and she sits at the top of the list of possible nominees for Best Actress. Now, with a Golden Globe to her credit, she seems to be a shoo-in for at least a nod, if not the major award itself.

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