Transcending The Binary?


I recently read Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation by Kate Bornstein and S. Bear Bergman (such a great book, I would recommend) and there was a comic strip/zine in it called ‘Transcension’ by Katie Diamond and Johnny Blazes. Parts of it were really empowering and thought-provoking to read – it gave me one of those penny drop/light bulb flash moments, so I thought I’d write a little bit about it.

“There are more meanings to trans that I had remembered! Not only does it mean across, but it also means beyond! So transgender doesn’t have to imply crossing an imaginary line…it could mean going completely BEYOND the gender binary! I can transgress the rules set in place by the patriarchy about how gender must be enacted. I can transcend gender” (pg. 181)

There’s a big misconception that being transgender means you are moving from box A to box B, which isn’t necessarily the case. Sometimes it just means you’re saying, fuck boxes, I’m going to go beyond the gender binary because I don’t identify with it at all. You don’t need to be moving from one binary gender to another. Your identity can be fluid, non-binary, somewhere in-between or outside the binaries, or on various different points of the gender spectrum. For example, if you’re a non-binary trans masculine person who uses gender neutral pronouns then your trans identity is still valid! Your identity is no less valid if you’re not moving from binary to binary – because actually there’s a plethora of space between and around the gender binaries that might suit you perfectly.

As someone who is struggling with their gender identity and not identifying fully with a binary gender, this piece was incredibly empowering to read. It was a eureka moment where I realised that I can be in-between binaries and that’s okay. It doesn’t make my trans identity any less valid. Finding things like this is incredibly validating and makes you realise that you don’t have to squeeze  yourself into a box because actually, there is so much wonderful space between or just outside ill-fitting boxes that would suit me more. And that’s okay.


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