The rise of the third gender

In my day-to-day job as a designer, androgyny has been a key word for a long time now. I spend a lot of time observing global social shifts and always try to work from the positives. Hope you find this interesting!

We are living in incredibly exciting times. Our youth, the future genderless generation is more open minded than ever. It may not seem that way in some parts of the world but everything is relative and countries develop at their own pace. Even if we stall for a while, there’s always a sprint at some point. Despite the US elections, this is the very reality we are facing and although it may seem like we’re moving backwards sometimes, the world is changing for the better. Al least that’s what I like to think.

Some call it the genderless era, a time where people can decide to be whomever they feel like on a day-to-day basis. It may seem far-fetched but with global expanding of social media, changes are happening much quicker nowadays than fifty years ago.

Pioneers like Ruby Rose and Andrey Pejic, have inspired young people all over the world to be more fluent in their identity. There has been a major shift in redefining gender as we know it and this is only just the beginning. Ten years ago, androgynous people were seen as ‘freaks’. Now, some of them are worshipped by millions of people. It’s the first time since the supermodel era in the late eighties / early nineties that a new ‘look’ has become so popular. However, this time it’s not about fashion. It’s about identity.

Needless to say, the androgynous look is nothing new. Stars like Annie Lennox and David Bowie paved the way years ago but what’s fascinating now, is that this is becoming mainstream. It’s not visible yet but in five years from now, we will see a clear shift, empowering people all over the world to choose who they want to be.

Sexuality has been a big topic in the past couple of years and it’s changed how people view themselves and others. Millennial lesbians may define themselves as ‘butch’ or ‘femmes’, but our generation Y is sailing along on a more fluent ship with celebrities like Cara de Lavigne and Miley Cyrus. They don’t want to define themselves for life anymore. They want flexibility and choice.

There has been a change in parenting too. As being gay in some countries is no longer seen as ‘a bad thing’, parents will stimulate their children to become the person they want to be instead of trying to cure them from their so-called flaws. My little sister Ping Pong, twelve years of age, likes to dress like a boy. She lives in Thailand and has a girlfriend, something the other kids at school find completely normal. When she feels like dressing up girly, she will. Not because her mother tells her to but because she wants to.

It’s opened up a lot of interesting questions about how the new generation will live their lives in twenty years time. Names for example. Will they have two names? Will Peter decide he wants to be addressed as Fiona at work when he comes in dressed as a girl twice a week? Will people prefer to have two identities entirely? Or will names and ‘looks’ simply become more genderless? Will there be an official third gender ‘tick box’ on forms where people can choose not to define themselves as male or female? And what would that word be? Some people claim that when they shift from boy to girl, or the other way around on a daily basis, their character shifts along. They might use different words, intonation or humour. Does that mean we might have friends that we only hang out with when they’re in the character we are drawn to as a person? And what about ID’s? Passports, drivers licenses etc. Could we have two official identities? Will it even matter? The future of identification lies in ‘scanning’, not in a picture so it’s likely this won’t even be an issue. The point is, topics will be raised. Topics that people have never even thought about before and governments will have to work through the practicalities of a changing world. Let’s hope they can make it work for everyone.

pejicI’m going to read this blog entry back in ten years time. Maybe I’ll still be myself and maybe I won’t, who knows?



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