June 6th, 2020

Gender Invert, or Nonbinary Trans?

Like most people born with a penis and testicles, I was AMAB: assigned male at birth.

I don't refer to myself as transgender because I don't seek to be perceived as a female person. And I don't tend to identify as nonbinary because I don't seek to be perceived as someone who is neither male nor female.

I identify as genderqueer and, more specifically, as a gender invert.

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There are a lot of ongoing discussions, especially within the trans communities, about how you don't have to be on hormones, don't have to get an operation, to be valid as a transgender person. About how the legitimacy of one's identity as transgender does not depend on changing one's body.

The ones who do — the people conventionally designated as "male to female" or "female to male" — are nowadays often referred to as "binary transgender". And the assertion that you don't have to be binary trans in order to be authentically trans is an affirmation of nonbinary transgender identities.

The fact that there are so many posts and statements saying so is a clear sign that a lot of people think "transgender" means that if you were assigned male at birth you wish to be perceived as female, accepted as a woman, not differentiated from cisgender women, that you present as female, that you do everything at your disposal to do so successfully, that you seek to pass. And reciprocally the other way around if you were assigned female at birth.

That's what the term "transgender" means to a lot of people out there, both within the trans community itself and in the mainstream.


Hello. I am a person who could identify as a "nonbinary transgender" person.

I don't choose to do so. I don't feel like it communicates. I feel like it just confuses people. They make one set of wrong assumptions when they see me and mentally assign me as a male person. If I tell them I'm transgender they make a different set of wrong assumptions and I'm no better off.

Meanwhile, out there are a bunch of male-to-female and female-to-male transgender folks. A handful of them are "truscum" or "transmedicalist" and don't consider anyone to be authentically trans unless they seek a medical transition. Then there are quite a few more who don't have that kind of absolute judgemental definitional thing going on, but who will admit to missing the days when the only kind of trans people were binary trans. I'm not going to say they're right, especially since so many of my friends and colleagues identify as nonbinary transgender. But I have to confess, I sympathize with them and their viewpoint. Many of them have been around as long as I have. That means they lived through decades when most of society had only heard dirty jokes and porn references to trans people. And some of them feel like they did the hard work to get transgender issues in front of the social consciousness and now all these newfangled nonbinary trans people want to be a part of the phenomenon.

There's a reason why there aren't more people identifying as I do, as gender invert. It's because they haven't heard the term. Nobody offered it to them as an option to consider. So they went with "transgender". Or "nonbinary". Or "nonbinary transgender".

But what if you were assigned male at birth, you consider your body to be, in fact, male, but your gender isn't masculine, isn't man, isn't guy, isn't boy, that instead you are femme, one of the girls? Or if you were assigned female at birth, recognize your body to be female, but have never been a girl or a woman, and instead you're all man, all guy, all boy, totally a masculine individual?

If you say "transgender" and folks know you were AFAB they'll almost universally assume you identify as "male". If you say "transgender" and they understand you were AMAB, they'll assume you to identify as "female".

Specifying "nonbinary transgender" just shifts the problem. Now people are likely to assume that you don't want to be identified as any named sex or gender. That you're declaring yourself to be neither male nor female, neither man nor woman.

If what I'm saying resonates for you, you're welcome to come join me as a gender invert instead.




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You're secluded in quarantine, and all the performances and events have been cancelled, so it's a good time to read a book!

My book, GenderQueer: A Story From a Different Closet, has been published by Sunstone Press. It is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble in paperback and ebook, and as ebook only from Apple, Kobo, and directly from Sunstone Press themselves.


Links to published reviews and comments are listed on my Home Page

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