We Need to Talk About Gender Pronouns for Transgender People
Yesterday was a huge day for the Kardashian-Jenner family. Kendall + Kylie debuted their Topshop collection, Kim announced her second pregnancy and (most importantly) Caitlyn Jenner made her debut on the cover of Vanity Fair. While a lot of Internet chatter yesterday focused on giving North’s lil sib a compass-themed name and congratulating Caitlyn’s bravery, a bigger discussion seemed to be developing: the correct use of gender pronouns when discussing Caitlyn and others in the transgender community. So much so that there’s even a bot working to correct ignorant tweets.
As transgender issues have increasingly become a bigger topic thanks to famous faces like Laverne Cox, Jazz Jennings and others making major public strides, many are still new to the T in LGBTQ. Before diving into a discussion on proper pronoun usage, here are a few things you need to know:
1. Gender identity and sexual orientation are completely different things. Understand the difference.GLAAD sums up the difference between the two succinctly: “Sexual orientation is about who we’re attracted to. Gender identity is about our own personal sense of being male or female (or someone outside that binary). Transgender people can be gay, lesbian, bisexual or straight.” Essentially what that means is you can identify as a transgender woman who is attracted to women but not see yourself as a lesbian, which is what Caitlyn noted in her discussion with Diane Sawyer.
2. Use the terms that the person you’re speaking about/to identifies with. When it comes to using correct pronouns when referring to someone who is transgender it is important to make sure you are using the terms they identify with, since every transgender person could identify with a different pronoun.
3. If you don’t know, just ask. No one is going to think you’re a jerk if you don’t know, but they might if you disregard someone’s personal preference. So… just ask! If you’re unsure of how to approach a conversation like that, GLAAD’s “Tips for Allies of Transgender People” provides the perfect scenario. “If you must ask which pronoun the person prefers, start with your own. For example, ‘Hi, I’m Dani and I prefer the pronouns she and her. What about you?'” Then once you’ve identified a person’s preferred pronouns, it’s as easy as respecting that.
The Vanity Fair headline “Call me Caitlyn” answered that question for the public. Caitlyn then reiterated her preferred pronouns through one of her first tweets, “Can’t wait for you to get to know her/me.” But still, 24 hours later, people from news shows to Twitter are referring to Caitlyn as Bruce and using pronouns like him and he. If that happens…
4. It’s totally okay to call someone out and correct their behavior.Mic highlighted Upworthy writer Franchesca Ramsey’s thoughts on misgendering a trans person. She tweeted, “Please check folks who don’t get someone’s pronouns right. We need to call each other out on that shit.” She continued in another tweet, “And yes, you should respect someone’s pronouns even when they aren’t in the same room. Stop that.” Preach, Franchesca.
If you don’t call out a lost Tweeter, tech is on your side. The Twitter bot @she_not_he was created to combat the misuse of pronouns and/or transphobia on the Internet when referring to Caitlyn Jenner. It will correct users who are either ignorantly misusing her preferred pronouns or are just generally confused by tweeting at them “It’s she, not he. Thanks!” when the user tweets “he” in conversation about Caitlyn Jenner. The bot developer told Mic, “Misgendering may seem like a small thing, but it goes to the heart of an individual’s gender identity and to our greater cultural understanding of gender. A bot seemed like a polite, quiet way to remind people of that.” Sometimes our faith in humanity isn’t shattered through the Internet <3
While all of this may be new and overwhelming to some, it’s essential to remember that life is about learning. Open your minds, ask questions and respect others. Even on Twitter. Okay, especially on social media.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
(Photos via Annie Leibovitz/Vanity Fair)
Welcome to Selfmade Finance School, our new money series with Block Advisors to help small business owners with their tax, bookkeeping, and payroll needs year-round. This week, we explore the tax implications of bringing family members into your business.
The question for today is this: Does hiring your family members make sense for your business? Let me be clear. This is not a piece about whether hiring your family members makes sense for your relationships with those family members. As someone who is part of a family business, I could fill up a lot more than 600 words on my opinions about that. For today's purposes, we focus on whether it makes sense from an overall "good business and tax implication" perspective. As it turns out, there is a decent amount of tax nuance when it comes to employing your family. Let's break it down based on relationship to the employee:
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Spouses Who Are In Business Together
Personally, if I had to be in business with my husband, it would not go well. However, many couples build viable, strong businesses together and I say, good for them! Depending on how you have your business entity structured, it will make a big difference on the tax treatment of you and your spouse working as partners. Because a business jointly owned and operated by a married couple is generally treated as a partnership for Federal tax purposes, the spouses must comply with filing and record keeping requirements imposed on partnerships and their partners. The election to file two Schedule C (Form 1040) forms, (one for each spouse) permits certain married co-owners to avoid filing partnership returns, provided that each spouse separately reports a share of all the businesses' items of income, gain, loss, deduction, and credit. Under the election, both spouses will be subject to self-employment tax and on net earnings from self-employment and receive credit for Social Security earnings.
One Spouse Employs Another
If you have a dynamic where your spouse is an employee of your business, then your spouse's wages are subject to income tax withholding, Social Security and Medicare taxes. If you are self-employed (not a corporation or a partnership), your spouse's pay does not have to be included in your federal unemployment tax account (FUTA) contributions and payments. However, if your business is a corporation or a partnership you must include that spouse's pay in your unemployment tax contribution calculation.
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You Employ Your Child
First, let's be clear. I work in my family business, but I am an adult, so I am treated just like a normal employee. However, if you, for example, run a family restaurant and want to hire your children under 18 to work for you, there are some tax benefits. But first, you should check with your state for rules on how many hours minors can work (in non-agricultural jobs) and reference the Fair Labor Standards Act for information on limitations on the kinds of work children can perform.
"This is an often overlooked or under-utilized strategy. Paying your children for true services they provide in your business can be a powerful tax-saving tool," says Cathi Reed, Block Advisors Regional Director. "If you are a sole-proprietorship or single member LLC, and the child is less than 18 years of age, the business is not required to withhold FICA or payroll taxes. The child can use his or her standard deduction against income you pay."
You Hire Your Parent
Oh dear. If you are brave enough to do this, know that you will need to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on your parent's wages and make the appropriate withholdings, but you don't have to pay unemployment taxes. Now all you have to do is convince your parent that you are the boss. Have fun with that!
Is Hiring Family Members Worth It For The Tax Benefits?
"There are some positive tax advantages to hiring family members. It's important to treat a family member like any other employee. Hiring your children can result in substantial savings for businesses. Make sure your child has real, age-appropriate work to do and a reasonable pay rate, comparable to other employees. Consult with a Block Advisors small business certified tax pro to ensure that you are complying with all requirements," advises Reed. "Block Advisors, a team within H&R Block, is dedicated to meeting the tax, bookkeeping and payroll needs of small business owners year-round. To start working with the tax experts at Block Advisors, visit blockadvisors.com."
In my opinion, you should not hire a family member solely because of the tax benefits. You should always hire based on whether that person is right for the job and keep in mind how this hire could materially impact your relationship with that person and others in your family. Finally, as I mentioned, make sure you have a tax professional on your team when making these determinations. As you can see, things can get a little tricky!
*All details were sourced from IRS.gov and blockadvisors.com