Pop culture is bursting with cool nonbinary references

Have you ever noticed that once you take personal interest in a topic, you start seeing it everywhere?

The first time you hear about someone being nonbinary, it might feel odd, uncomfortable or different.

People can get a little squirrelly about the idea of leaving the binary behind. Some people might get confused, feel scared or even make fun of “they/them” pronouns because it feels so different at first.

But once you know and love someone who is nonbinary, pretty quickly it feels normal. Then you start to see that it’s not so unusual after all.

It certainly feels like nonbinary people are popping up in more places now that our kiddo has come out as genderless. Maybe that’s not the case, but it sure feels that way.

Here are some of our favorite nonbinary moments from pop culture right now:

  • This is Us – Everyone’s favorite family show (*cough* tear-jerker) has covered many hot and important issues of our time. Now, Randall and Beth’s oldest daughter, Tess, has a nonbinary person as their first romantic interest. (Wow, that was tough to write! I wanted to say “girlfriend” but Alex is nonbinary, and therefore not a girl.)
  • Ants on a Log – This musical duo put out an album of children’s music called Trans & Nonbinary Kids Mix that uses gender neutral pronouns and humor to talk about gender. It is intended for young kiddos up through middle school and well worth a listen. There are a few songs that are real bops and have made it onto my favorite songs playlist on Spotify.
  • Alexa – ask your Alexa if it has a gender. It will tell you what’s up! But notice that most of us still call Alexa “she/her” because of its female-sounding voice. Some see that as problematic (i.e., we order this being around all day and it has to obey in a female voice?!) There are researchers working to create a genderless voice for AIs. I think Q has such a lovely-sounding voice and would much prefer to hear that in our home!
  • Steven Universe – The first animated show on Cartoon Network created by a woman, Steven Universe features LGBTQIA+ themes, loads of gender fluidity and strong female characters. We haven’t watched it yet but it’s at the top of my list for Xage and I to enjoy this winter.

My list above is short, but there are so many more. Wikipedia has a long list of nonbinary characters, most from shows or films I’ve not seen yet. I need to share the longer list with Xage because it’s so cool to see how many there are.

I also love shows that depict male and female characters in nontraditional ways. For example, we’re watching the smash anime hit Demon Slayer right now, and I absolutely adore how the male characters often display traditional feminine features or traits. It may not have a nonbinary character per se, but it definitely has characters who defy the binary in many ways.

Remember, representation is important. Kids need to see themselves in the media they consume in order to feel seen, real and valued. If you know and love a gender-creative child, be sure to look for books, TV shows and movies with some gender diversity like the ones we’ve mentioned above.

And if you know of other shows or movies that depict gender fluidity and diversity, please be sure to let me know in the comments below. We’re always looking to expand our horizons.

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About the author

Proud and loving midlife mama. Lucky and devoted wife. Dog, cat and snake mom. Travel nut. Natural born writer. PR and social media pro by day - tattoo doula by night.
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