What's that smell?

Tree Story

We are reminded, or informed, for those of us who were blissfully unaware until now, that Keiynan Lonsdale—an actor best known as someone that I'd never heard of before—self-identifies as a tree…FFS, even my sense of humour isn't so perverse as to make this shit up! Lonsdale unironically prefers tree/treeself pronouns, rather than he/him. And the male population breathes a hearty sigh of relief.

The Love, Simon star opened up about sexuality and gender pronouns in an intimate Instagram Live session on Tuesday.

When a fan asked if Lonsdale was gay, the actor was surprised to keep getting that question. “Now it just depends on the day. Sometimes I’m bisexual, sometimes I’m gay, sometimes I feel straight, sometimes I’m not anything,” Lonsdale said on Instagram Live. “It doesn’t matter. Either way, throughout all of that, I’m Keiynan.”

Lonsdale further explained: “I don’t want to go by ‘he’ anymore, I just want to go by ‘tree.’ I want people to call me ‘tree,’ because we all come from trees, so it doesn’t matter if you’re a he or a she or a they or a them. At the end of the day, everyone’s a tree. I want to call my friends ‘tree’ and me ‘tree’ and everyone ‘tree.’ So, I think, like now, when people ask me what my preferred pronoun is, I’m going to say ‘tree.’”

Joshua Bote, Billboard

image from Prudential advert showing hippy and tree
I want to be a tree: The Prudential beat Lonsdale to it by thirty years, in this 1989 TV advert.

Bisexual, gay, straight, none; he's just pretty much described bisexuality—using the actual word—with the odd day off to recuperate.

Sexual orientation should be irrelevant to the great unwashed—and I'm including you and I in that, dear reader. But there seems to be a special form of mental illness, a narcissism afflicting those in the public spotlight, even one as small and as dim as Lonsdale's. It's a need to be recognised as special and different, and to share that with the world; whether or not the world really wants them to. The obsession with declaring sexuality and pronouns is a form of attention-whoring. But in a brave, and true, and empowering way; rather than the thunder-thighs and latex bodystocking shock tactics favoured by the likes of Cardi B and Nicki Minaj.

Surely, some prurient individuals want to know the inner secrets of the rich and famous—the gossip column goes back way before the golden age of Hollywood—but that's not to say that their curiosity should be satiated. Celebrities not only have a right to privacy, they should actively practice it; after all, celebrity is nothing without mystique. Unfortunately, the notion of celebrity has become tarnished by overexposure through mainstream and social media, and by dilution from the wannabes in the public eye, the influencers and reality TV stars.

It's interesting to note the double standard between how Lonsdale's preference for tree/treeself pronouns is blithely accepted, while there was vehement outrage over Gina Carano's lighthearted choice of beep/bop/boop. Quite clearly, she overstepped some mark. But, equally clearly, the problem wasn't with her mocking pronouns; Lonsdale's case proves that—unless he's flying too far under the relevance radar to count. Simply put, who on earth does she think she is? Taking three pronouns when the rest of us, even the most delicate of special snowflakes, have to muddle by with only two! You should've settled with bop/boop, Gina. Or beep/bop, if you were seeking a more '50s rock'n'roll vibe, and the presidency of the Gene Vincent fan club.

Flippancy aside, I mean this as a serious question. If beep/bop/boop is supposedly mocking pronouns, then what the hell is tree/treeself? Other than a sign of mental health problems.* (SMH)


* Lonsdale's declaration comes from an interview in September, 2018. Assuming that he wasn't taking the piss—Bote describes the interview session as intimate, not riotously hilarious—his musings on trees are interesting and thought-provoking, if not flat-out whack.