Transfeminine (also written trans-feminine or trans feminine, and sometimes abbreviated to transfem or transfemme[note 1]) describes a transgender person (who was assigned male at birth) who seeks to present femininely, or to transition to look more feminine, or who identifies as more female than male. The label "trans-feminine" can be considered either a gender identity, a gender expression, or both. It is an umbrella term that includes trans women who don't consider themselves nonbinary, and nonbinary feminine people. One web-site about nonbinary gender identity explains how someone can be both trans-feminine and nonbinary:
Some neutrois people [neutrois is a specific nonbinary identity that is neither male nor female] feel they aren’t completely 100% gender-free or gender-neutral; rather, they lean a little more towards one side or another of the gender spectrum. Transfeminine means the person tilts towards female [...] It’s important to note this does not invalidate, contradict, or cancel out being neutrois, as they still feel a strong affinity with this identity. Instead, being transmasculine [...] is more of a modifier or a complement which adds to the complexity of their gender, gender expression, or gender identity. In these cases there might be a preference to present more closely to one gender over another, or it can be more comfortable to just live as one binary gender rather than the other. However, this choice is more often a result of convenience in order to navigate a society in which only two genders are recognized. A lot of people would ideally opt to have neutrois recognized as their gender and not be forced to make a decision between male and female only.
-Micah, "What is neutrois?"
This explains several reasons why a person can identify as both trans-feminine and as a nonbinary identity.
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We would appreciate information about when transfeminine was coined, or sources showing its earliest known usage.
The word "transfeminine" was used in a 1985 issue of The TV-TS Tapestry, a magazine "for persons interested in crossdressing & transsexualism". In that issue, Jane Nance wrote about the difficulties of describing herself with the then-current terminology: Since Jane felt her identity was fully womanly, she did not want to identify as "transvestite", and since she did not want surgical transition she felt that "transsexual" was not accurate either, and neither was "transgenderist", since "I'm living and functioning in the world most of time in the male role." She proposed "transfeminine" as a possibility and said that the definition could be "a male who feels like a female, strictly undefined in relation to any issue of an operation". This might or might not be the first recorded usage of the word "transfeminine".
"Transfeminine" was one of the identities that became available in the gender selection on Facebook in 2014.
A similar but distinct umbrella term to the trans-feminine spectrum is the male-to-female spectrum (MtF spectrum), meaning that they were assigned male at birth, and transition in a more female direction. This term is also not limited to people who specifically identify as women. "Trans-feminine" and "MtF spectrum" carry different nuances of meaning that may suit people in different ways. Trans-feminine doesn't call out someone's birth assignment, but does call out their gender expression as being feminine. There are trans women who prefer a more butch than feminine gender expression. Meanwhile, MtF spectrum doesn't specify one's gender expression as being feminine, calls out one's birth assignment, but transgender people can feel uncomfortable with having their gender assignment pointed out. Due to these nuances, people may feel that one term is more suitable than the other for their own comfort and for the most accurate description of their identity.
The counterpart of trans-feminine is trans-masculine.
There is more information about this topic here: notable nonbinary people
Notable people who consider their identity to be outside the Western gender binary, and who describe themselves with the word "transfeminine," include:
- Indian-American writer, activist, fashionist@, and performance artist Alok Vaid-Menon (b. 1991)
- Musician Liv Bruce
- Activist and educator Geo Neptune
- Politician and drag queen Maebe A. Girl (b. 1986)
- Activist and actor Ianne Fields Stewart
- Drag Queen Willow Pill
- The word femme is mostly used in relation to lesbians. See Femme for more information on the topic.
- NB/GQ Survey 2016 - the worldwide results, March 2016.
- "Transfeminine." Dictionary.com. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/transfeminine
- Micah, "What is neutrois?" Neutrois.com. Retrieved April 14, 2019. http://neutrois.com/what-is-neutrois
- Nance, Jane (1985). "Transfeminine!!!". The TV-TS Tapestry (47): 31–33.
- "Facebook custom gender options: Here are all 56 custom options.", Slate. February 13th, 2014. Accessed April 10th, 2017.
- http://www.asexuality.org/en/topic/55798-definitions-master-list/ AVEN: Definitions Master List
- Hawgood, Alex (October 29, 2020). "Yass, We Can! Drag Performers Enter the Political Mainstream". W Magazine. Retrieved October 31, 2020.