POKEMON Go is a new smartphone app game that has taken the world by storm since its release last week – and it is being praised for its

The augmented reality game encourages players to catch and battle with Pokémon characters in real-life locations.

Currently only available in Australia, Japan, New Zealand and North America, the game has become a cultural phenomenon with players flocking to public places to catch popular Pokémon, including more than 2000 people who turned up to the Sydney Opera House on Sunday to play the game.

However, many users are congratulating Pokémon Go developers for creating gender non-binary avatars for players to choose from.

When setting up a profile, players are asked to ‘choose their style’ rather than choosing a gender.

pokemon

“By not labelling these avatars as male or female, they’ve acknowledged that clothing/hair aren’t inherently gendered, and by not asking players “are you a girl or a boy?”, they’ve made the game more comfortable for non-binary people, because we won’t be forced to misgender ourselves,” Sam Lilit wrote for youth organisation Minus18.

The changes to profile options, follows a petition on change.org which pleaded with the game developers to acknowledge non-binary and gender fluid options.

“As societies are continuing to evolve and recognize diversity in fellow human beings, so too should games as they are a reflection of society,” the petition questioned.

“That is why we are asking that Nintendo, while Pokémon GO is still in development, to add an “Other” gender option to the game.

“After all, Pokémon themselves have three genders (Male, Female, and Genderless): so why can’t trainers?”

The removal of gendered avatars is not the LGBTI development for the new Pokémon Go game, with the iconic T2 building in Sydney’s Taylor Square – which has been slated as a potential LGBTI museumbecoming a landmark Pokémon gym, where players can go to train their capture Pokémon to battle.

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