Netflix’s Degrassi: Next Class character comes out as non-binary in landmark move
A student on Netflix’s Degrassi: Next Class will come out as non-binary in its new season.
The landmark move follows Showtime drama Billions introducing non-binary character Taylor in its latest season.
The Degrassi franchise, which first aired in Canada in 1979 and once starred Drake, has a long history of addressing stigmatised themes such as homosexuality, suicide and abortion.
In a preview of season 4 before its July 7 release, Yael (Jamie Bloch) interrupts her friend Lola (Amanda Arcuri) while she’s talking about why farts are funny to kiss her.
“I’m really sorry,” she tells her friend – “I was just trying to see if I’m gay…I don’t think I am.”
Yael, a junior at Degrassi Community School, asks Lola: “What is wrong with me?”
“Sorry, I’m really confused,” comes the reply.
“Me too!” says Yael, finally telling her: “I feel in between.
“I don’t feel like a girl, or what everyone thinks is a girl.
“I don’t like makeup or stuff like you do. I really, really hate my boobs.
“But I don’t feel like a boy either. And I’m definitely not gay.”
Lola calms her confusion, explaining that she has heard of others who feel the same way.
“My favourite vlogger did a thing about this – they identify as genderqueer. Or…genderfluid.
“They feel like they’re between a boy or girl. Or both. Or neither,” she adds.
“It’s like – if being a boy or girl is made up, then you can make whatever you want.”
After showing Yael pictures of the vlogger, Lola offers her a makeover.
Yael tells her not everything requires a makeover, but she responds in the way every friend should.
“Just tell me what you’d want to look like if you weren’t worrying about being a boy or a girl – if you were worrying about being Yael.”
Billions character Taylor, played by Asia Kate Dillon, who is also non-binary, is an intern at the hedge fund.
Taylor is super-intelligent, a vegan, and also happens to use the pronoun ‘they’ – as briefly discussed with another character.
Dillon explained: “When I was growing up, if there had been someone like Taylor on TV, it would have meant something to me.
“So it feels good to be playing a character who might mean something to someone else.”
Watch the full Degrassi: Next Class clip below: