HomeNewsWhat is “non-binary”? Learn from our favorite TV characters

What is “non-binary”? Learn from our favorite TV characters

As anyone can tell you in 2020, gender and sexuality is a spectrum. What is non-binary? Here's how we can learn from our favorite TV characters.

What is “non-binary”? Learn from our favorite TV characters

As anyone can tell you in 2020, gender and sexuality is a spectrum. There’s no strict definition for, well, anyone. It’s a process and one which we’re constantly figuring out and growing with. One term that has risen to prominence in recent years is that of “non-binary”. 

What does non-binary mean? Non-binary refers to people who identify themselves as being outside of the feminine and masculine gender binary. It functions as an umbrella term: covering people who are bigender (having two or more gender identities), agender (having no gender identity), or genderfluid (moving between genders). Those who identify as nonbinary tend to set their pronouns to best suit their gender identity. 

Recently, celebrities such as Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness, Batwoman’s Ruby Rose, or Voltron’s Bex Taylor-Klaus have come out as non-binary. This is also being featured more in various media offerings, such a television.

If you’re still curious about the non-binary identity, then be sure to get a general idea from these television characters. 

Syd – One Day at a Time (2017-Present)

One Day at a Time has been doing excellent work in portraying Syd (Sheridan Pierce), the non-binary “syd”-nificant other to Elena Alvarez (Isabelle Gomez). Syd uses “they/them” pronouns and meets Elena in season two of One Day at a Time. The duo have been doing great as a couple since then and have worked hard so that they have a strong and healthy relationship.

One episode is dedicated to finding the right term to call Syd as they don’t like the term “girlfriend” as it conflicts with their gender identity. In another episode, Elena gives Syd a card with a “non-binary heart” on it. It’s too cute. 

Angels, Demons, and Horseperson of the Apocalypse – Good Omens (2019)

Good Omens is the adaptation of the beloved 1990 novel from Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Any angel or demon that you see onscreen is a non-binary character. In fact, angels and demons identify as agender, meaning that they have no gender. According to the text, they are “sexless unless they really want to make an effort”. As such, angels and demons were gender blind in regard to casting, meaning the best actor got the part.

One of the Horsepeople of the Apocalypse, Pollution (Lourdes Faberes) has been confirmed as non-binary by co-author and series showrunner Neil Gaiman. Pollution uses a singular “they” pronoun. These are all some of the most powerful beings in the universe and they don’t subscribe to the gender binary. 

Janet – The Good Place (2016-2020)

Janet (D’Arcy Carden) is an all powerful and genderless entity who appears physically as a woman and uses “she/her” pronouns. When others, however, attempt to gender her by referring to her as a girl or woman, Janet will remind them that she is “not a girl”. By this, she is a non-binary person. 

This follows the trend of all powerful beings not falling into the gender binary, which is pretty awesome to see. Janet goes on a journey to love the humans and demon that she is surrounded by, especially Jason Mendoza (Manny Jacinto).

Danny the Street – Doom Patrol (2019-Present)

Doom Patrol is the weirdest series in the DC Universe right now and we mean that in the best possible way. Following a group of misfits with powers, Doom Patrol takes us to some very odd corners of the DC canon. With it, we’re introduced to the Grant Morrison created the character “Danny the Street”. Danny is, well, an actual living street that takes in lost souls to populate them.

Danny teleports all over the place and gives these people a safe home. Danny also uses “they/them” pronouns. This non-binary is reflected into the various businesses on the street, such as the pretty dresses in the men’s clothing store. Danny is a fun character though and you can’t help but love them.

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Bec Heim is a freelance writer who has contributed and edited for sites like NetflixLife, ScreenRant, and 4 Your Excitement. When not talking and writing about pop culture (especially superheroes or any show with a paranormal bent), she is usually tackling her mountain of books, writing scripts or stories, or listening to podcasts.

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