We're only days away from season 4 of Degrassi: Next Class dropping on Netflix, and now, we're getting a sneak peek at the struggle one character is coping with. In a preview for the new season made available by Entertainment Weekly, gamer Yael (Jamie Bloch) is grappling with their identity: specifically, they are struggling to figure out why they doesn't feel comfortable with the "girly" things that their friend Lola (Amanda Arcuri) loves. That's when Lola introduces Yael to a new term: gender fluidity.
"I don’t like makeup or stuff like you do. I really, really hate my boobs… But I’m definitely not a boy either," says Yael in the new clip.
The revelation makes a lot of sense for Yael. For as long as we've known Yael on Degrassi: Next Class, they have seemed uncomfortable with femininity. When Lola began creating makeup tutorial videos for gamer club, Yael was totally put off — until the pair came to the conclusion that there's no right or wrong way to be a woman. Though Lola is ultra feminine and proud of that fact, it's Lola who recognizes that Yael might wish to identify as gender-fluid.
"[People who are gender-fluid] feel like they’re between a boy or girl. Or both. Or neither," Lola explains to her friend. "If being a boy or girl is made up, then you can make whatever you want."
As Lola states in the preview, people who identify as gender-fluid (like Lola's favorite vlogger) don't identify with a fixed gender. While there are plenty of public figures — like Miley Cyrus and Ruby Rose, for example — who identify as gender-fluid or gender-queer, the concept is not often discussed in mainstream media. That's why having a gender-fluid character on Degrassi: Next Class feels so revolutionary: it's making the topic a little less taboo for young fans.
Of course, it's all par for the course with Degrassi, a franchise that prides itself on breaking down barriers with its audience in order to discuss tough-but-important issues. Season 4 of Degrassi: Next Class promises to continue that trend, and I can't wait to see where Yael's self-exploration journey takes them.