Trans Misconceptions?

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 thing 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 quite 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 could be fluid or non-binary and so you could identify as somewhere in-between or outside the binaries, or on various different points of the gender spectrum. For example, you could be a non-binary trans masculine person who uses gender neutral pronouns and your trans identity would still be valid because you don’t identify with the gender you were assigned at birth. Your identity is no less valid if you’re not moving from binary to binary – because actually there’s a tonne of space between and around the binaries that might suit you perfectly.

As someone who is struggling with their gender identity and with the feeling that they don’t identify fully with a binary gender, this piece was incredibly empowering to read because it was a bit like a eureka moment where I was like, hang on, I can be in-between and still be trans, it doesn’t make me any less trans. It was just a really validating experience and made me realise that I don’t have to squeeze myself into a box because actually, there is all this wonderful space between or just outside boxes that would suit me much better.