Pokemon Announces First Ever Non Binary Character

Stacey Henley applauds Nintendo's progressive moves in Pokémon Go

Stacey Henley
12th November 2019
Image: Twitter (PokemonGoApp)
Enbies everywhere can add another virtual face to their team alongside fellow video game enbies Fl4k and Bloodhound - Pokémon seems to have suggested that one of their characters is non-binary.

The character in question is Blanche, the leader of Team Mystic in Pokémon Go. A recent press release from Go developers Niantic referred to Blanche with the gender neutral pronoun ‘they’, while using ‘she’ for Valour team leader Candela and ‘he’ for Instinct’s Spark. While they stopped short of actually saying ‘non-binary’, it’s clear this was a deliberate choice to have Blanche use typically non-binary pronouns.

With their typically feminine hairstyle, more masculine face and stance plus their gender neutral clothing, it has been fan canon that Blanche is non-binary ever since they were revealed back in 2016.

...in Pokémon X & Pokémon Y, an NPC Beauty told the player character they used to be a Black Belt, but thanks to “medical science” are no longer.

The mainline Pokémon games have some form in this area too. Back in 2013 with Pokémon X & Pokémon Y, an NPC Beauty told the player character they used to be a Black Belt, but thanks to “medical science” are no longer. For context, Beauty is a trainer class only available to women, while Black Belt is just for men, implying the Beauty had completed her gender transition. The Western translations nixed “medical science” for “quite the transformation”, but the message remained the same. 

Understanding and appreciation for non-binary folk has increased rapidly in recent years, and Blanche is the latest in a growing number of notable figures to join the they/them ranks.

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AUTHOR: Stacey Henley
Stacey Henley can most often be found roaming through vivid expansive spaces and discovering the world around her, but only in video games. In real life, she mostly stays home. Blog at http://screenspike.wordpress.com. Tweet at @FiveTacey. Published in TechRadar & WhatCulture

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