Wednesday, March 13, 2024

I love A Success Story - Audrey Mason-Hyde

 How non-binary teenager Audrey Mason-Hyde is breaking down gender identity stereotypes, one label at a time


In many respects, Audrey Mason-Hyde is a typical 13-year-old: bubbly, excitable, whip-smart and funny – her conversation is littered with “likes” and her face lights up when talking about her favorite YouTube stars or a poetry slam contest she’s to perform at.

But halfway through lunch, Audrey needs to go to the bathroom. Her eyes dart over to the cafe’s toilets and a nervous hesitation crosses her face, all confidence drained in an instant. She watches the women’s door for a minute, wondering if there is anyone inside.

For when it comes to going to the bathroom in public, Audrey is no typical teenager. Audrey was born biologically female, but doesn’t typically identify as one, nor does she identify as a boy. Non-binary, gender fluid, gender neutral, gender queer – label it what you will –Audrey shrugs her shoulders when asked what moniker she prefers: “I guess I identify as non-binary, or just Audrey, you know?”

Just Audrey. Just Audrey is just right – after all, as she says, “why is it your business whether I’m a boy or a girl?” It was this exact question Audrey posited at a TED Talk in her home town of Adelaide last year –the extraordinary child (she was 12 at the time) bravely standing solo on stage in front of hundreds of people discussing “toilets, bow-ties, gender and me”.

Toilets, bowties, gender and me | Audrey Mason-Hyde | TEDxAdelaide

Audrey is one of many atypical teens coming to terms with their identity in this modern era of fluid gender and sexuality. It is an era in which we’ve finally seen gay rights being widely accepted, and recently witnessed transgender becoming publicly acknowledged – thanks to the high profiles of Caitlin Jenner, Laverne Cox and our own Andreja Pejić (who made history as the first transgender model to grace the cover of Vogue Australia last April). And it is now a time in which the term ‘gender fluid’ has also entered the vernacular, thanks to celebrities such as Ruby Rose and YouTube vloggers such as Miles McKenna [of Miles Chronicles] openly discussing their struggles with not conforming to either standard gender, in turn becoming important role models for LGBTQI teenagers coming to terms with their own identities.

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