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Japanese-American singer-songwriter Hikaru Utada has come out as non-binary.
During their Instagram livestream on Saturday, Utada said at the opening of the video (at 2:32), “It’s the month of June, and I’m non-binary. So, Happy Pride Month!”
Non-binary people don't identify as being either fully male or female. Other terms to describe this gender identity include "genderqueer" and "agender", although each term may mean slightly different things. Basically, gender identities fall along a spectrum, and not everyone falls under the binary framework of "male and female". Non-binary people often use the pronouns "they/them".
A fan of the J-pop singer uploaded a clip of them coming out on Twitter:
— poupée (@poupee19) June 26, 2021
Fans have responded positively to the 38-year-old singer coming out:
Utada Hikaru coming out as non-binary as a person of influence in Japan is one of the bravest things I’ve seen
— SPUUKY (@SpuukyLIVE) June 26, 2021
utada hikaru came out as nonbinary, meaning an nb individual made two of the BIGGEST VIDEO GAME BOPS pic.twitter.com/ok0aR0z7JI
— Pixar’s Luca Stan Account (@spiderrods) June 26, 2021
the absolute POWER utada hikaru has to come out as non binary after singlehandedly raising a whole generation of lgbt kids
— louie✨ (@balloonaga) June 26, 2021
Japanese morning TV doing a great job raising LGBTQ awareness. Well done Hikaru Utada for being the catalyst and otsukaresama 💜 And before people @ me, yes I know Japan has a long way to go but good to see the effort to try and understand. #Japan pic.twitter.com/1gYV0APjL2
— Melanie Brock (@melaniebrockjpn) June 27, 2021
Utada also said during the livestream that their beloved imaginary best friend, a teddy bear stuffed toy named Kuma (Japanese for bear), is gay.
On 18 June, Utada had also shared on their Instagram how traditional gender markers make them uncomfortable:
“I’m sick of being asked if I’m 'Miss or Missus’ or choosing between ‘Miss/Mrs/Ms’ for everyday things. It makes me uncomfortable to be identified so markedly by my marital status or sex, and I don’t relate to any of those prefixes. Every time, I feel like I’m forced to misrepresent myself. I long for an alternative option, one that anybody of any gender or social standing could use,” wrote Utada.
After coming up with the prefix “Mys” which stands for “mystery”, Utada discovered the neutral prefix “Mx” which she said is pronounced “Mix”.