US: The Future Is Non-Binary, and Teens Are Leading the Way

Danielle looked in the mirror and didn't recognize what she saw. "I noticed when I would look to the side, I would see my breasts, and I would just press them down." Clarity didn't come to her until high school: She didn't feel like a girl. Later, "she" became "he." But hold on—it's not so simple.

Danielle now goes by Danny and identifies as gender non-binary. Danny uses male pronouns but doesn't feel completely male or female. Some days he feels like a boy, sometimes not. He's attracted to boys, not girls. Sophomore year of high school, he cut his hair short. "That's when it felt right," he says.

Danny is part of a new generation leading a quiet revolution in how we think about gender and sexuality. Young people are creating new vocabularies and taxonomies, and we scientists of sexuality and gender are playing catch-up. When I began a project three years ago to study the lives of today's queer teenagers, I had no idea what I was in for.

The future is non-binary, and teens are leading the way. Well, not all teens. My research uncovered an important distinction I haven't seen emphasized in other research into today's teens. At the helm of this revolution is one group in particular: those assigned female at birth. Young people like Danny.

Among teens in my study who identified with a non-binary gender or sexual identity, the vast majority were like Danny: assigned female at birth. I found almost double the number of transgender boys, who were assigned female at birth, as transgender girls, who were assigned male at birth. Read more via Pacific Standard