‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ star Lily Gladstone uses she/they pronouns: ‘Decolonizing gender’

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“Killers of the Flower Moon” actress Lily Gladstone has always felt comfortable using the she/they pronouns in an effort to “decolonize gender.”

“I remember being 9 years old and just being a little disheartened, seeing how often a lot of my boy cousins were misgendered because they wore their hair long,” Gladstone, 37, told People on Sunday. “It happens to a lot of kids, I think, especially Native boys leaving a community where long hair is celebrated [and then] just kind of getting teased for it.”

“So I remember back then being like, everybody should just be they,” the actress continued.

Gladstone, who has a heritage stemming from both Nimiipuu and Blackfeet tribes, was raised on the Blackfeet reservation in Montana for a decade and revealed that most indigenous languages don’t have gendered pronouns.

Instead, the person’s gender is suggested by their name.

“So Blackfeet, we don’t have gendered pronouns, but our gender is implied in our name. But even that’s not binary,” Gladstone said, noting her grandfather’s name actually meant “Iron Woman.”

“I remember being 9 years old and just being a little disheartened, seeing how often a lot of my boy cousins were misgendered because they wore their hair long,” Gladstone, 37, told People. Eric Charbonneau/Getty Images for Apple TV+

“He had a name that had a woman’s name in it. I’d never met my grandfather. I wouldn’t say that he was nonbinary in gender,” explained Gladstone. “But he was given a woman’s name because he kind of carried himself, I guess, the way that women who have that name do.”

“There were lots of women historically and still now who are given men’s names,” Gladstone went on. “They fulfill more of a man’s role in society as far as being provider, warrior, those sort of things.”

“There is no he/she, there’s only they.”

Gladstone was raised on the Blackfeet reservation in Montana for a decade and revealed that most indigenous languages don’t have gendered pronouns. Melinda Sue Gordon/Apple TV+ via AP
“So I remember back then being like, everybody should just be they,” the actress continued. Eric Charbonneau/Getty Images for Apple TV+

The “Certain Woman” star told the outlet that “my pronoun use is partly a way of decolonizing gender for myself.”

According to the Golden Globe nominee, the use of her mixed pronouns is a way of “embracing that when I’m in a group of ladies.”

“I know that I’m a little bit different. When I’m in a group of men, I don’t feel like a man,” she said. “I don’t feel [masculine] at all. I feel probably more feminine when I’m around other men.”

When asked by People about her feelings regarding gendered award show categories, the Critic’s Choice nominee revealed that she is happy with the way things are headed. Mike Coppola/Getty Images for The Gotham Film & Media Institute

When asked of her feelings regarding gendered awards show categories, the Critic’s Choice nominee revealed that she is happy with the way things are headed.

“I think it’s really cool that we’re seeing ‘performer’ and we’re seeing everybody brought in together,” she said. “I do feel that historically having gendered categories has helped from keeping women actors from a lot of erasure because I think historically people just tend to honor male performances more.”

“I know a lot of actresses who are very proud of the word ‘actress’ or are very proud of being an actress,” she continued. “I don’t know, maybe it’s just an overly semantic thing where I’m like, if there’s not a ‘director-ess,’ then there shouldn’t be actresses. There’s no ‘producer-ess,’ there’s no ‘cinematographer-ess.’ ”



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