Gender isn't as black and white as "male" and "female," and plenty of genderqueer or non-binary people are making their voices heard about how they choose to identify.
A non-binary person, according to GLAAD is:
[Someone] who experiences their gender identity and/or gender expression as falling outside the categories of man and woman. They may define their gender as falling somewhere in between man and woman, or they may define it as wholly different from these terms. The term is not a synonym for transgender or transsexual and should only be used if someone self-identifies as non-binary and/or genderqueer.
People are wiggling out of traditional gender boxes and step-by-step, they are being recognized by their governments, healthcare systems, and even in the entertainment industry.
Here are a few gender-neutral victory moments that we should all be celebrating as we continue to accept and support everyone's personal choice.
1. A Canada Hospital Gave Out The First Genderless Healthcare Card To A Baby
A baby born in November 2016, named Searyl Alti Doty, was recently issued the very first genderless healthcare card by a Canadian hospital, as reported by multiple outlets.
The infant's parent, Kori Doty is a nonbinary transgender person, who does not identify as a male or female, according to Buzzfeed.
Doty shared with the news outlet that they prefer not to assign gender to the baby, but instead would like for the child to decide that in time as an individual. When people ask about the gender of the child, Doty told CKNW news about their response, saying,
Often I'll just say I don't know yet, or I'm not rushing to apply those types of labels on this kid. Right now they're just a baby.
Doty previously trouble getting the Vital Statistics Agency to issue a birth certificate that omits gender, but is working with a human rights lawyer to submit their application for judicial review.
In the meantime, Doty received the genderless healthcare card, which their lawyer consider "a huge step forward."
2. Degrassi: Next Class Introduced Its First Non-Binary Character
You may remember Degrassi as the coming-of-age high school show, where Hollywood stars like Nina Dobrev and rapper Drake initially got their big acting breaks. The long-running series is known for addressing even the most controversial issues that teens deal with and being incredibly inclusive.
The new era of Degrassi, called Next Class, just debuted its first non-binary or genderless character, named Yael, played by Jamie Bloch. In episode six of Season 4, Yael comes out as a non-binary person after their classmates attribute their distaste for farts (that's Degrassi for ya) to being a girl.
Yael begins binding their breasts, tries to figure out if they are gay or not by kissing a girl, and even struggles in their relationship with their boyfriend because of the identity issues.
Ultimately, Yael determines they are not gay and that they just simply don't identify as a boy or a girl. It is Lola, the girl that Yael kisses, who affirms Yael and encourages them to embrace their non-binary identity.
The episode is honestly a nice crash course in the experiences of non-binary people, and carefully nails down the differences between sexual orientation and gender identity.
3. Washington D.C. Gave Out The First Genderless Driver's Licenses In The Country
On June 27, Washington D.C. issued the first genderless driver's licenses, with the option of "X" now being offered in place of the "M" or "F."
Washington D.C. resident, Nic Sakurai, was the first person of about 11 residents to receive the gender-neutral driver's license at a DMV office, according to The Washington Post.
They talked about their experience with the newspaper, saying,
It's important to me because it's knowing that as a District of Columbia resident, I'm valid and not erased. It's one piece of a larger picture.
4. Oregon Was The First State To Give Out Genderless Driver's Licenses
Since Washington D.C. is a district, Oregon is technically the first state to issue genderless driver's licenses. Like the D.C. cards, they now come with the gender option of "X" instead of "M" or "F", and were made available in June.
The gender identity change is an easy process that allows anybody getting their driver's license to choose "X" without any additional paperwork.
New ID card holder, J. Gibbons, a 26-year-old non-binary transgender person, told The Guardian,
This change in ID is a huge piece of validation for me. The state of Oregon sees me for who I am. I don't even think 'excitement' can capture all of my emotions about this change.
5. The Emmys Awards Show Allows Non-Binary Actors To Choose Which "Actor/Actress" Category They Prefer
Non-binary Billions actor, Asia Kate Dillon, reached out to the television academy about gender assignments given to the terms "actor" or "actress." Dillon, who prefers the pronouns "they" and "them," asked,
I'd like to know if in your eyes 'actor' and 'actress' denote anatomy or identity and why it is necessary to denote either in the first place?
The Emmys people got back to Dillon and informed them that people can choose which category they would like to be in for any reason, which was an affirming and welcoming response in a Hollywood industry known for its minimal representation of LGBTQ+ people.
6. Asia Kate Dillon Also Gave The First Genderless Award At The MTV TV & Movie Awards
Thanks to Dillon continuing to fight and be vocal about the inclusion of genderless people in awards show categories, MTV removed its "actress" category altogether for the 2017 MTV TV & Movie Awards and put all actors in the same category.
In more history-making awesomeness, Dillon also presented the genderless award, which Emma Watson won.
7. Gender Neutral Emojis Now Exist
The Unicode Consortium, which creates and approves the emojis we use, has announced 69 new emojis, according to the L.A. Times. Among them are a genderless child, adult, and an elderly person with no gender-related indicators in their design.
Jeremy Burge, the founder of Emojipedia and a member of Unicode's emoji subcommittee, told the L.A. Times,
If you don't feel strongly one way or the other...it's nice to have an option in the middle.
The emojis should be available by December 2017.
8. There Is A Gender Neutral Kindergarten In Sweden
The Egalia pre-school in Stockholm, Sweden offers gender-neutral schooling which includes avoiding "him" and "her" pronouns, has books that refrain from traditional gender roles, and toys that aren't separated by what's appropriate for "boys" and "girls" to use. The school opened in 2011.
A teacher there, named Emelie Anderson, told BBC in an interview the same year, that she applied for the position specifically because of the gender neutrality.
When we are born in this society, people have different expectations on us depending if we are a boy or a girl. It limits children. In my world, there is no 'girl's world' and there is no 'boy's world.'
A May 2017 study conducted by Uppsala University, the oldest university in Sweden,showed that students who attended the school were less likely to entertain gender stereotypes. They were also not interested in only playing with kids of their same sex, as reported by Newsweek.
9. Australia's Government Recognizes The Non-Binary Identity
In 2011, Australian passports were given a third gender option, which is the "X" category.
The country's foreign minister, Kevin Rudd, spoke with The Guardian about the change, saying,
This amendment makes life easier and significantly reduces the administrative burden for sex and gender diverse people who want a passport that reflects their gender and physical appearance.
In 2016, the Australian census also began recognizing the third gender in its surveys.