In the past, hundreds of ants have been named in honour of people. These names end with “ae” to recognise females and “i” to recognise male.
A newly discovered ant is the first animal species to be given a scientific name ending with 'they', in a tribute to non-binary people.
The miniature trap jaw ant discovered in Ecuador, by an entomologist in 2018, has recently been given the unconventional scientific name Strumigenys ayersthey.
Entomologist: A person who is knowledgeable about and studies insects.
When naming a new species, the first part of the name (Strumigenys) identifies the genus to which the species belongs. And the second part (ayersthey) identifies the species within the genus.
Ayersthey also pays tribute to artist and activist Jeremy Ayers who passed away in 2016. Although Ayers identified as being masculine, he worked towards getting recognition for gender neutral and non-binary people.
Do you understand what gender means?
Gender refers to characteristics of a person in a social environment.
Traditionnally only two genders were recognized: male and female. And people’s identity was classified as masculine or feminine. Now however, multiple genders and gender-neutral individuals are also recognized around us. People who do not identify with either being male or female are called Gender Neutral. They are also called ‘non-binary’.
Merriam-Webster named "they" its word of the year in 2019. The new ‘They’ was added as a singular pronoun for people who do not identify themselves as male or female.
Gender neutrality, also known as gender-neutralism is the idea that policies, language, and other social institutions should avoid distinguishing roles according to people's sex or gender.