The Guardian coined it best when naming this generation of young people the “gender fluid generation.” To be gender fluid is to have different genders at different times. Somebody who is gender fluid may feel closer to being a female, and choose to act/dress in that way. In another instance they may feel more male and identify with that gender.

Photo of Holly Grey

Photo of Holly Grey

“Gender as a concept has always been very difficult for me to understand, so identifying as “A-gender” is both me accepting myself for who I am but also using the label to express to others where I’m at as far as understanding what gender is and how it applies to me,” says Holly Grey, a 20-year-old London, Ontario native who identifies as gender fluid.

For many, the world of gender identity is anything but black and white. Dr. Pacheco is a registered psychologist who defines gender fluidity as a state of being. “In gender fluidity the anatomy is not that important anymore because they can use it however they want and they still feel good. It projects themselves beyond the anatomy. It is a state of being within the individual, opposed to being limited to whatever organs they have as part of their make up and constitution.”

Mainstream media from Facebook to fashion designers such as Louis Vuitton and Chanel are beginning to embrace gender identity, as well as promote and profit off of it. Most recently Jaden Smith, child of mega actor Will Smith, became the face of a Louis Vuitton women’s ad campaign. Jaden sported skirts as well as other women’s clothing from the designer. OITNB actor Ruby Rose also made headlines when coming out in 2014 as not subscribing to either the male or female gender.

Although gender fluidity and gender identity is becoming a more prevalent topic, there is still a large amount of people who struggle with the concept that, somebody’s gender can vary from that which they were born with. “I’ve never heard about it before now, it’s all news to me,” says Tanja a second year student at Sheridan College. “I definitely believe gender fluidity is a choice. I also believe it’s a phase. Scientifically and religiously we’re born as either male or female, you can’t alternate between moods. Like today I feel like being a boy and tomorrow I feel like being a girl, no I personally think it’s just for attention,” Tanja continued.

Acceptance and understanding is something that may come with time. However for now, those who identify as gender fluid do face discrimination for just being who they are. “When I’m making friends it’s very difficult because I never know how people are going to react to my identity, how people are going to respect my identity. Mostly because people don’t really talk about my identity outside of the small little niche in the queer community,” Says Holly Grey.

Mental illness is an unfortunate bi-product of being apart of the LGBTQ community. In fact LGBTQ youth are 14 times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual counterparts. 77% of transexual respondents in an Ontario survey have reported seriously contemplating suicide. 44% had actually tried to commit suicide but were unsuccessful.  “The pressures in our society are such that they create an environment that makes it difficult for any one individual to not conform to the binary scheme of things,” says registered phycologist Dr. Pacheco.

To learn more about gender fluidity watch out featured segment below: