Pokemon Go used gender neutral pronouns to refer to one of its Team Leaders during a recent blogpost, seemingly confirming that the character is non-binary. Earlier this weekend, Pokemon Go posted on its blog about an encounter between Professor Willow, Team Mystic leader Blanche, and the Team Rocket admin Cliff. While the blogpost dealt mainly with Willow and Blanche backing down from a confrontation with Cliff, it also used a gender neutral pronoun to refer to Blanche, which confirmed that the Pokemon Go character is non-binary. A non-binary person is someone who does not identify as exclusively masculine or feminine.
Pokemon Go players first noticed that the Pokemon Go Twitter account seemed to avoid using gendered pronouns when referring to Blanche over the summer, specifically when it came to Blanche's Global Challenge during August's Pokemon Go Fest. Instead, the Twitter account always used Blanche's name, while it used gendered pronouns when referring to either Candela or Spark, the leaders of Pokemon Go's other teams. The most notable examples can be found below, in the mini-biographies posted to Pokemon Go's Twitter accounts earlier this summer.
Meet Blanche— Pokémon GO (@PokemonGoApp) August 6, 2019
❄️ Team Mystic leader
❄️ Cool headed, analytical, and serious
❄️ Does not take jokes well
❄️ Fascinated by Pokémon Evolution
❄️ Loses track of time when doing research
Let’s make Blanche proud during the Global Challenge, Trainers! pic.twitter.com/u0FSnJ5GB3
Meet Candela— Pokémon GO (@PokemonGoApp) July 3, 2019
🔥 Team Valor leader
🔥 Oldest of the three team leaders
🔥 Charismatic, hot-tempered, and talks with passion
🔥 Likes to study ways to strengthen Pokémon
Let’s make her proud during the Global Challenge, Trainers! pic.twitter.com/I2SdNAdhu9
It should be noted that Pokemon Go's German, Spanish, French, Italian, and Brazilian Portuguese translations all refer to Blanche using female pronouns. Some of those languages don't have explicitly gender neutral pronouns, though, and it's possible that translators weren't informed to refer to Blanche using gender neutral terms.
Still, non-binary fans are thrilled about the inclusion in Pokemon Go. It's a subtle reference (and one that most fans probably wouldn't even notice) but it's these sort of things that make a world of difference to non-binary people.