People Are ‘Folx’ To Some Liberal Massachusetts Politicians

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What do you call people?

Do you ever use the word “folks” when referring to people?

Some liberal Massachusetts politicians use a different term:  folx.

(Pronounced like “folks.”)

So what does the term mean? 

Merriam-Webster defines it as, “FOLKX— used especially to explicitly signal the inclusion of groups commonly marginalized.” And of the term, says it is, “A variation on the word folks, folx is meant to be a gender-neutral way to refer to members of or signal identity in the LGBTQ community.”

Folks is already a gender-neutral term. People use the term informally to refer to a group of people, as Cambridge Dictionary points out.

Even so, several Massachusetts politicians use the term, including U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-Hyde Park), former Boston city councilor and Democratic attorney general candidate Andrea Campbell, and former Pittsfield city councilor Helen Moon, a Democrat.

Pressley has used the term on Twitter several times dating back to 2020, most recently in November 2021.

On November 21, 2021, Pressley tweeted:  “2021 has been the deadliest year on record for the transgender community. Yesterday, we came together in Boston to remember those lost to transphobic violence, to hold space for grief, to affirm the dignity of all trans folx, & to recommit to ending this unconscionable hate.”

She also used the term when offering support for the Black Lives Matter movement. On June 1, 2020, Pressley tweeted:  “Boston, I see you and I love you. We will center Black voices & our movements will not be co opted. Let us be led by the young folx, guided by our ancestors, clear in our focus, and resolved in the pursuit of racial justice.”

And two months earlier, she used the term when talking about the cost of replacement inhalers.

“Went to get a replacement inhaler today,” Pressley tweeted in April 2020. “Told me generic is sold out with a wait list. So my only option is one that cost $175. My co pay for the other is usually $10. I can afford the increase but millions wont be able to. Literally what folx need to breathe/ live is political.”

Campbell tweeted it at the start of Pride Month last year, when she was a Boston city councilor.

“Today marks the beginning of #PrideMonth. After several conversations with BIPOC LGBTQ+ residents & organizers, I have decided not to participate in the Boston Pride candidate forum,” Campbell tweeted on June 1, 2021. “I look forward to joining pride events that value and empower BIPOC queer and trans folx.”

The tweet came during Campbell’s campaign to become mayor of Boston. Critics of Boston Pride said the organization is not racially diverse enough; it dissolved in July 2021 as a result of those complaints.

Moon, who served on Pittsfield’s city council from 2017 to 2021, tweeted the term “folx” a few times while in office.

She used it in a tweet saying she opposed cutting health insurance benefits for city employees.

“The threat of cutting health insurance for electeds most impact low-income & marginalized folx,” Moon tweeted on June 18, 2020. “If we are supposed to be a representative democracy then representation matters. We should be decreasing obstacles not creating more barriers. #mapoli #RepresentationMatters.”

Two months later, she used the term again when expressing her anger at then-U.S. Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Newton) for a photo Kennedy took with someone at a homeless shelter in the city. (Moon endorsed the incumbent, U.S. Senator Ed Markey, in the Democratic primary; Kennedy at the time was challenging him.)

“Using the houseless community in Pittsfield for a campaign photo op (he brought his own camera folx to take this ‘candid’) is disgusting,” Moon tweeted. “I, for one, don’t want a Senator that exploits our most vulnerable for political expediency.”

Moon also used the term in a December 2020 tweet in which she criticized the higher education system.

“What a failure of our society that folx believe students are customers and education should be part of a capitalistic model in which knowledge is owned and needs to be purchased,” Moon tweeted.

Pressley, Campbell, and Moon could not be reached for comment on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or Monday.


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