Nonbinary gender in fiction
This list of fictional depictions of nonbinary gender is for taking note of all examples of nonbinary gender identity in fiction in any kind of media. The media includes animation, board and card games, books and other literature, comics and graphic novels, movies, performance, TV, webseries, and video games. Since most people don't know that people can have a nonbinary gender identity, the way that nonbinary genders are represented in fiction can be a valuable part of nonbinary visibility and awareness. Fiction can also be an outlet for nonbinary people to explore their identities and the possibilities of society's attitudes toward them. These are reasons why representation matters. It's very rare for fiction to have any real representation of nonbinary gender. It's almost as rare for characters to have an undisclosed gender, or to have a fictional sex, which almost but not really counts as nonbinary representation. They're close enough that they are dealt with on this page and the page Undisclosed gender in fiction.
There is a difference between being born with a physical intersex condition, and having a nonbinary gender identity. Many intersex people identify as just female or male, not nonbinary. Many nonbinary people were not intersex, meaning they were assigned female at birth or assigned male at birth. If a character has a real-life kind of intersex condition, you should still list them on this page only if they also have a nonbinary gender identity.
If you add a piece of media to this list, please tell exactly which character is nonbinary, and how this is told in canon, or your entry will be deleted. Don't include media here that just has a popular "headcanon" (a fan's imaginary interpretation) of a nonbinary character, because this isn't representation. Please give direct quotes from canon that are evidence that the character is nonbinary.
- 1 Nonbinary genders in fiction
- 2 Fictional sexes
- 3 Gender nonconformity in fiction
- 4 See also
- 5 References
Nonbinary genders in fiction[edit | edit source]
This section is for the most true-to-life representation of nonbinary gender identities. The story explicitly says that they don't identify as a woman or man, but as a different gender. The characters aren't nonbinary because of having fictional sexes. Their physical sexes and genders assigned at birth are non-intersex or a real-life intersex condition. If their physical sex or gender assigned at birth is undisclosed, their gender identity is still explicitly, specifically labeled as not female or male, but something else. They may or may not take a social or physical transition in their gender expression. They may or may not look androgynous. They may or may not go by gender-neutral pronouns.
Animation[edit | edit source]
- In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, the character Leeron states "I'm both and neither a man and a woman."  (Most fans treat Leeron as a gay man.)
- Season four of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power introduces the nonbinary character Double Trouble, who uses singular they pronouns and is voiced by nonbinary actor Jacob Tobia.
- Milo, from the Danger & Eggs animated series, is a minor nonbinary character played by the agender voice actor Tyler Ford.
- Shep in Steven Universe Future is a human nonbinary character (as opposed to the Gems who are nonhuman, see Fictional sexes section of this page). Shep uses singular they and is voiced by Indya Moore.
- In Nickelodeon's Middle School Moguls, one of the teachers, Wren, is nonbinary.
|Which character(s) are nonbinary||Proof of nonbinary status||Character Role||Title||Showrunner(s) / Creator(s)||Air Dates||Publisher(s)||Genre(s)||Content Warning||Notes|
|Leeron Littner||Littner states "I'm both and neither a man and a woman."||Protagonist - Supporting||Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann||Hiroyuki Imaishi and Kazuki Nakashima||04/01/2007 - 09/30/2007||Aniplex, Konami||Adventure, Mecha||Many major characters die in the series, but not Leeron.||Most fans treat Leeron as a gay man.|
|Double Trouble||uses singular they pronouns||Side character||She-Ra and the Princesses of Power||Noelle Stevenson||04/2016 - now||Dreamworks Animation Television||Adventure||Double Trouble is voiced by nonbinary actor Jacob Tobia.|
Audio[edit | edit source]
- In the podcast The Adventure Zone, there are four characters who are refered to as they/them. In the first season, The Adventure Zone: Balance, a minor character named Roswell (an Earth Elemental made of living clay in a suit of armor, who talks via a small bird) is agender and uses they/them pronouns.
- In the second season, The Adventure Zone: Amnesty, a reoccurring secondary character named Hollis (the leader of a local gang named The Hornets) is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns. 
- In the third season, The Adventure Zone: Graduation, both a gnome student named Mimi and one of the recurring teachers, Festo the faerie, use they/them pronouns.
- In the podcast series Welcome To Night Vale, there are several non-binary characters who are referred to with "they" pronouns. Recurring non-binary characters include a scientist named Alice and the town's new Sheriff, Sam.
- In the podcast The Penumbra Podcast, there are a vast number of non-binary characters. The most prevalent of these is the namesake of the Juno Steel arc, who uses he/him pronouns but is explicitly non-binary and refers to himself as a lady on several occasions.
- In the podcast The Strange Case of Starship Iris, Krejjh uses they/them pronouns, finds the concept of binary genders funny and states "[no pronouns] feel great"
Board and card games[edit | edit source]
- Magic the Gathering features multiple nonbinary characters.
- Ashiok is a character of unknown gender, who explicitly resists categorisation. Though some depictions of the character erroneously use “he” as a pronoun, Ashiok uses no pronouns.
- Karn is an agender golem from the plane of Dominaria created by the planeswalker Urza as part of his experiments with time travel. Narration and other characters use he/him pronouns for Karn, though he has no pronoun preference. Although as a golem he has no sex, he was assigned male at creation.
- Hallar the Firefletcher is an nonbinary elf from the Llanowar forest on the plane of Dominaria. They use an unknown elvish pronoun set which is described as "genderless" and reflecting their "ambiguous identity". The narration refers to them with they/them pronouns.
Books and other literature[edit | edit source]
- Beyond Binary: Genderqueer and Sexually Fluid Speculative Fiction edited by Brit Mandelo
- River of the Gods and Cyberabad Days by Ian McDonald - India, 2050, with interesting subplots about Hijra.
- Luna: Wolf Moon and Luna: Moon Rising, also by Ian McDonald
- Crooked Words by K. A. Cook has several short stories about characters who are explicitly said to be nonbinary. The character Chris cultivates an androgynous appearance, and asks to be called by "they" pronouns. Chris is in the short stories "Blue Paint, Chocolate and Other Similes" and "Everything In A Name." In "The Differently Animated and Queer Society," the queer-identified characters Pat and Moon go by "ze, hir" and "ou" pronouns, respectively. In "Misstery Man," the self-described non-binary character Darcy asks to be called by "ey and eir" pronouns.
- Greg Egan's novel Distress (1995) includes transgender humans who transition to a specific gender outside the binary that they call "asex", called by ve pronouns.
- In Kameron Hurley's fantasy novel, Empire Ascendant, all people in a consent culture get to choose which of the five gender roles they identify with. Hurley calls characters who are "ungendered" by singular they pronouns.
- In a short sci-fi story by Benjanun Sriduangkaew, "Silent Bridge, Pale Cascade" (2013), one of the characters is described as a "neutrois," and called by "they" pronouns.
- Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg, a semi-autobiographical novel about a butch named Jess Goldberg, and the trials and tribulations she faces growing up in the United States before the Stonewall riots. Feinberg defines butch as a gender identity neither female nor male.
- Take Me There: Trans and Genderqueer Erotica edited by Tristan Taormino
- In Surface Detail, the character Yime Nsokyi is "neuter-gendered" and has an intersex body by choice.
- At the end of Freakboy, the main character, Brendan Chase identifies themselves as genderfluid. The book is primarily about their transition, and does end on a depressing note regarding their gender."
- In Sam Farren's novel Dragonoak: The Complete History of Kastelir (2015) and its sequel Dragonoak: The Sky Beneath the Sun (2015), several nonbinary characters play important roles. All of them use "they" pronouns and are only described in gender-neutral terms. Their gender is not their defining feature - the novel's fictional society treats nonbinary genders as just as normal as binary ones. The author also identifies as nonbinary.
- The main character in "Damsel Knight" by Sam Austin spends much of the book gender questioning, and ends questioning but also settled into an identity somewhere between male and female. She eventually chooses female pronouns and a male name.
- Alex Fierro is a genderfluid character from the book series Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, by Rick Riordan. Alex switches between she/her and he/him pronouns, although expressing that she normally uses she/her pronouns. Alex first appears in the book The Hammer of Thor, and is the love interest of the main character of the series, Magnus Chase. During The Hammer of Thor, Alex states "I'm gender fluid and transgender" (Riordan 54).
- Halfway Human by Carolyn Ives Gilman is from the perspective of Tedla, an adult nonbinary character in a high science fiction setting . It is worth noting that this portrayal deals with the genderless as a sub-class of people.
- Starless by Jacqueline Carey includes a major character who discovers their own identity and unique relationship with gender while tracelling all over their world in an effort to prevent an ancient consuming darkness. They encounter a number of different cultural expressions of gender and expected gender roles and eventually find their own place among them.
- Min Lee in the Under My Skin series by A. E. Dooland is nonbinary and accepts he/him or she/her pronouns.
- A minor character in A Tyranny of Queens by Foz Meadows is nonbinary.
- Jules, one of the main characters in Finna by Nino Cipri, is nonbinary and uses singular they.
- In Sassafras Lowrey's Roving Pack, the protagonist, named Click, is genderfluid and uses ze/hir pronouns.
- Felix Ever After stars a demiboy and was written by Kacen Callender who is a demiboy as well.
- Ben De Backer in I Wish You All The Best is nonbinary. (Their sister is accepting but the rest of the family isn't.) The author, Mason Deaver, is also nonbinary.
- In the fantasy books Divided Worlds and The Ascension of Lark, by Jennifer Ridge, the character Lark is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns. There is an author's note at the end of Divided Worlds which specifically describes Lark as "non-binary and androgynous".
- In Blanca & Roja, by Anna-Marie McLemore, the character Page is genderqueer.
- In The Black Tides of Heaven by nonbinary author JY Yang, gender is not assigned at birth and children get to choose at a gender confirmation later in life. One of the characters, Akeha feels at home with the childhood nonbinary designation.
- In The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose Capetta, one of the main characters, Cielo, is nonbinary. (Another main character, who is cis, has to crossdress for a disguise.)
- Long Macchiatos and Monsters, by Alison Evans, is a romance between a trans guy and a genderqueer person.
- An Unkindness of Ghosts, by Rivers Solomon. The author has said "Aster is an intersex butch lesbian, but maybe agender. Theo is a nonbinary trans woman. These are my interpretations, but arguments could certainly be made for other classifiers."
- Lizard Radio by Pat Schmatz
- First Spring Grass Fire, by Rae Spoon, tells the story of a nonbinary kid growing up in the 80s and 90s in Calgary, Canada.
- Sal in Mask of Shadows and Ruin of Stars, by Linsey Miller, is genderfluid.
- Lelia in The Lost Coast, by Amy Rose Capetta, is a nonbinary gray-asexual, and described as such in the text.
- The 2019 YA book In the Silences has many characters who self-define as nonbinary, including the protagonist.
- The novel Somebody Told Me (by bigender author Mia Siegert) has a bigender protagonist who goes by Alexis and/or Aleks.
- Alani Baum, the protagonist of John Elizabeth Stintzi's Vanishing Monuments, is nonbinary. Stintzi realized they themself were nonbinary during the writing of this novel.
- Butterflies, Zebras, Moonbeams, by Ceilidh Michelle, is a coming-of-age novel starring a nonbinary woman.
- The Nap-Away Motel', by Nadja Lubiw-Hazard, has a supporting character named Ori who is nonbinary.
- In The Way of Thorn and Thunder fantasy series (also called The Kynship Chronicles), by Two-Spirit author Daniel Heath Justice, there is a race called the Kyn, who recognize three genders: he-Kyn, she-Kyn and zhe-Kyn. These are specifically genders, not sexes, according to reviewer Bogi Takács.
Comics/Webcomics/Graphic Novels[edit | edit source]
- But I'm A Cat Person by Erin Ptah - Urban fantasy webcomic featuring a bigender character - Timothy/Camellia Mattei - as well as numerous 'Beings' who are able to take on both male and female forms. Also features various LGB characters. Updates three times a week.
- Chaos Life by A. Stiffler and K. Copeland - A light-hearted, semi-autobiographical webcomic about the everyday idiosyncrasies of an agender person, their female partner, and their cats. Also covers various issues relating to GSM topics, politics, and mental health. Updates weekly.
- El Goonish Shive includes a main character who identifies as genderfluid several years into the comic. Author Dan Shive has said that Tedd, like the author, has always been genderfluid but did not realise there was a word for it or even a concept of being nonbinary until much later in life. The comic also includes various other LGBT characters as well as shapeshifting technology.
- Eth's Skin by Sfé R. Monster - Fantasy webcomic featuring a genderqueer protagonist - Eth. Fairly new, but the 'About' page suggests plans to include more nonbinary characters. Updates weekly.
- Ignition Zero by Noel Arthur Heimpel - An urban fantasy webcomic that features a genderqueer character - Neve Copeland - as one of its protagonists. Updates weekly.
- Job Satisfaction by Jey Barnes - a slice of life webcomic about two queer nonbinary demon summoners - Lemme and Sinh - who live together. The comic is rated PG-13 and updates once a week.
- Kyle & Atticus by Sfé R Monster - Webcomic about the adventures of a genderqueer teenager, Kyle, and their robot friend, Attticus. Currently on hiatus.
- Nwain: The Knight Who Wandered Dream by Terrana Cliff - Fantasy webcomic with nonbinary main character, a knight from a culture with five genders. Extensively animated. PG-13. Updates when able.
- Rain by Jocelyn Samara - A light-hearted high-school webcomic that follows a trans girl and her friends, including Ky(lie), an AFAB genderfluid character who alternates between presenting as male and female. Also features a range of other LGBTQ characters. Updates three times a week.
- Robot Hugs - semi-autobiographical webcomic by an author of nonbinary gender, which frequently addresses nonbinary issues and other aspects of gender politics. Also frequently covers the subject of mental health. Updates twice weekly.
- The 'New 52' version of Secret Six introduces new character Kami / Porcelain, who is genderfluid and has been shown presenting as male, female and androgynously.
- Shades of A (NSFW) by Tab Kimpton - Webcomic that focuses on asexual relationships, as well as exploring various aspects of kink, and features a prominent nonbinary character (JD). Contains nudity and BDSM. Updates twice a week.
- Homestuck introduced an androgynous character named Davepetasprite^2  that was formed by the fusion of two other characters. They establish that they are confused about their gender but happy to be what they've become and start using gender neutral pronouns (they/them). It also has other androgynous characters like Calliope.
- Phoebe and her Unicorn by Dana Simpson has a nonbinary character named Infernus, the Unicorn of Death. Phoebe uses the pronoun "neigh" for Infernus.
- 6ses by Kagome features an agender protagonist.
- Eri the Cyborg by Ren features an agender protagonist.
- Snailed It by SnaiLords, who "identifies with both genders" and described themselves as an "androgynous snail".
- Tattoo'd by Antonia Bea features an intersex, genderfluid protagonist.
- Your Local Non-Binary is written by and features non-binary person Eliot Lime.
- Moonstruck is a comic about fantasy creatures which includes a nonbinary centaur named Chet, who uses they/them pronouns.
- Heartwood: Non-Binary Tales of Sylvan Fantasy is "the first ever non-binary comics anthology, featuring 22 young adult stories made entirely by cartoonists who identify as a non-binary gender". Some stories have characters discuss being one gender and then the another, others may just refer to a character by 'they' pronouns.
- In volume six of Marvel Comics' series The New Warriors, a nonbinary superhero was introduced. Their name "Snowflake" and their brother's name "Safespace" drew widespread backlash.
- On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden has a nonbinary character
Movies[edit | edit source]
- In "The Kings of Summer," Biaggio asserts that he doesn't see himself as "having a gender."
- In John Wick 3, the Adjudicator is nonbinary and played by Asia Kate Dillon, who is also nonbinary.
- In "0009: The Sharks Make Contact", although not a single character's gender is ever explicitly mentioned, the characters Raisorshoorkle (the main protagonist), Shoogledocking (the main villain) and the Iki God (the overarching creator, who is named after the director) go by they/them pronouns. The Iki God went by she/her pronouns in the previous movie, "0000: A Shark Odyssey". A sequel titled "0010: The Sharks Make Contact - Part 2", came out in December of 2019. They will return in the shared universe film "Forevers 2: Age of Teeth" in December of 2020.
- In "Upgrade," Jamie does not identify with any gender
Plays[edit | edit source]
- In Taylor Mac's off-Broadway show Hir, the character Max is genderqueer and transmasculine, using ze/hir pronouns.
- In Rhiannon Collett's play Wasp, the protagonist Wasp is genderqueer and is to be played by only nonbinary actors.
Table Top Games / Role Playing Games[edit | edit source]
- Faerie Fire a 5e Supplemental, is a D&D 5th edition supplemental. It features queer characters to add to any D&D 5e experience.
- Monarch (non-binary, uses they/them): "The ageless and paint-smeared Monarch has held the seat of fey power ever since the schism. How they inherited the throne is unknown."
- Tallisin Vos (genderfluid, uses he/him): "Tallisin splits his time between two physical forms: a fey man and a vixen, both of which are equally his true identity."
TV (live-action)[edit | edit source]
- The Canadian magical-realism comedy series The Switch (still in development) features a non-binary character, Chris, who uses "zie/zir" pronouns, and works as an assassin.
- The Netflix sci-fi series The Umbrella Academy features Klaus, who according to the actor is "not necessarily a man, he's kind of just this creature that's not bound by traditional societal norms like 'man', 'woman', 'masculinity', 'femininity'. He just sort of… is.” Klaus is played by a cis man and called "he" throughout.
- The Amazon mini-series Good Omens features the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and Pollution (who replaced Pestilence at some point in the past few centuries) is nonbinary, and is referred to as "sir" by another character and with they/them pronouns by the narrator. They are played by Lourdes Faberes.
- Taylor Mason in season 2 of Billions is nonbinary and introduces themself with they/them pronouns. They're played by Asia Kate Dillon, who realised they were nonbinary while auditioning for the role.
- Bishop in the Fox drama series Deputy is nonbinary canonically, thanks to a suggestion by the character's actor Bex Taylor-Klaus who is also nonbinary.
- On One Day at a Time, Syd (played by Sheridan Pierce) is the nonbinary romantic partner of Elena. Syd uses singular they pronouns and is uncomfortable with binary-gendered terms such as "girlfriend".
- The comedy-drama miniseries Fucking Adelaide (aka F*!#ing Adelaide) features a genderfluid child, Cleo, played by nonbinary actor Audrey Mason-Hyde.
- In the drama David Makes Man, the character Mx Elijah/Ms Elijah (played by nonbinary actor Travis Coles) is genderqueer and gender nonconforming, and according to Coles, has no pronoun preference.
- The second season of Good Trouble has a nonbinary character named Joey played by Daisy Eagan. Joey, who uses they/them pronouns, is dating the lesbian character Alice, and asks to be called "partner" instead of "girlfriend".
- Mo, a main character on Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist, is genderfluid.
Webseries[edit | edit source]
- In Carmilla, the character Lafontaine is nonbinary and goes by they/them/their pronouns. They have been confirmed as nonbinary by the show's creators, and have hinted at it through the series though it has never been a major plot point. They are played by nonbinary actor Kaitlyn Alexander.
- Couple-ish, a light-hearted rom-com webseries, features a nonbinary main character (Dee). Dee goes by they/them/their pronouns, and explicitly describes themselves as nonbinary in one episode.
- The short webseries These Thems features a genderqueer character named Vero, played by nonbinary actor Vico Ortiz.
- The webseries Dinette is a remake of the 1982 movie Diner, but with a non-male cast instead of the original's all-male cast. The character Jaq is nonbinary and is played by nonbinary writer Jude Dry.
- In School Spirit: An Unlikely Webseries, the character Charley Condomine is demigender.
Video games[edit | edit source]
- In Crypt of the Necrodancer, the game's artist stated that the unlockable character Bolt is genderqueer and uses they/them pronouns; this was further confirmed by the game's official Twitter.
- In Transistor, the gender marker for Bailey Gilande in her character file is 'X', commonly used by, or in regards to, non-binary people.
- VERSUS: The Lost Ones by Zachary Sergi (published in 2015 by Choice of Games LLC) is a sci-fi interactive novel where it's possible to play a nonbinary character. The player's character, Thomil, comes from a planet where everyone telepathically shares their thoughts and feelings with one another. A couple chapters into the story, the player is asked about their character's gender. They can choose from six options: a cisgender woman, transgender woman, cis man, trans man, intersex, or "I don't subscribe to any gender categories". Choosing the last option sets Thomil's stats to say "Gender: Not Applicable," and brings up these remarks in the narrative: "You are both genders, but you are also neither gender. You believe gender defies categorization, operating on a kind of sliding scale-- one that can change every day. You've come across [foreign planets'] texts about other cultures where such thinking is considered taboo or even sacrilegious, but in a society where everyone can quite literally share their thoughts and experiences, it's fairly impossible not to accept others once you understand who they truly are. Besides, even the most staunchly 'male' or 'female' cisgenders admit that sometimes they feel more 'masculine' or 'feminine' at different times. You just take that kind of thinking to a whole new level." The narration in VERSUS makes clear that this is not an undisclosed gender or a fantasy sex, but a nonbinary gender identity. Though Thomil comes from a sci-fi setting where where this and other transgender identities are accepted, this is a realistic depiction of a nonbinary person.
- In Long Story Game the character you play use whichever pronouns from 'she/her', 'he/him' and 'them/they', the physical depiction of the character can also be changed to suit the gender of choice.
- In Read Only Memories the character TOMCAT uses they/them pronouns. While it is not directly stated in-game that TOMCAT is nonbinary, artist and director John James has stated in an interview that TOMCAT "is gender fluid".The game also includes other non-binary characters, including the robot Turing and the protagonist if the player chooses so.
- In NiGHTS into Dreams the character "NiGHTS is neutral, and therefore has no gender. The impressions of the character with regards to gender are totally up to the player" according to Takashi Iizuka, the lead designer of the game.
- The dating sim The Office Type (scheduled for release mid-to-late 2020) has equal numbers of male, female, and nonbinary characters for the player to romance. Every character's bio, even the cis ones, lists their pronouns. The nonbinary characters listed so far are Syl (demiboy), Benny (agender), Cal (demigirl), Toni (aporagender), Ty (anogender), Addie (egogender), Bee (genderfluid), and Mx. Hura Stapleton (bigender). There are also binary trans women and binary trans men among the cast.
- One of the player characters in the upcoming Borderlands 3, FL4K, is an emergent AI who uses they/them pronouns and wears a pin with the non-binary flag.
- In Tokyo Afterschool Summoners, the player can set the protagonist's gender to male, female, or "other", regardless of which appearance they choose. The character Arc is also referred to with they/them pronouns in the official English translation.
- In the MMORPG Runescape, there is an NPC who can change the player character's avatar from male to female or female to male, as well as change the player's skin color. The NPC also switches their own avatar's "sex" at 10-second intervals. They are officially called "The Makeover Mage", but in a 2006 letter they wrote "My name is Pete, or Peta, depending on my mood", implying they may be genderfluid, bigender, or some other type of nonbinary.
Fictional sexes[edit | edit source]
Some characters have a nonbinary gender identity only because they have a fictional kind of a physical sex. Their sex is different than female, male, or any kind of real-life intersex condition. For example, a robot that never had a physical sex, and might be correspondingly genderless. Or characters who have the fictional ability to change their sex at will, and might be said to have a corresponding genderfluid identity. Or an alien species that reproduces by different means than humans, resulting in an alien culture with different gender roles. The fictional sexes are used as justification for these characters having nonbinary gender identities. No real nonbinary people have these sexes, and can't use that justification. As such, these kinds of characters don't really count as nonbinary representation.
Audio[edit | edit source]
- In the Doctor Who audio dramas by Big Finish, the character of Zagreus is an alien entity who inhabits various minds and bodies. Zagreus is played by one male actor and one female actress, and changes pronouns depending on each stolen body.
Board and card games[edit | edit source]
- The aetherborn race from Magic the Gathering's Kaladesh setting are sexless and typically agender. Agender aetherborn use they/them pronouns, including a secondary character for the Kaladesh arc, Yahenni.
Books and other literature[edit | edit source]
- The Children of the Triad fantasy novel series by Laurie Marks includes a genderless species. The books are Delan the Mislaid (1989), The Moonbane Mage (1990), and Ara's Field (1991). The title character and protagonist of the first book is a member of that species.
- Sayuri Ueda's science fiction novel The Cage of Zeus (2011) is about genetically engineered characters with a fictional sex and non-binary gender.
- Commitment Hour by James Alan Gardner features a culture who switch between male and female sexes once a year until their 21st birthday, when they are asked to choose whether they want to stay forever as male, female, or both.
- The Culture series by Iain M. Bank is centred around a postgender civilisation.
- As described in Excession, the humans are able to change sex by just thinking it, and nanomachines alter their anatomy accordingly over a period of a few days. It is described as common for couples to take turns bearing children.
- Bone Dance by Emma Bull. Character: the protagonist, Sparrow, is canonically described as "sexless" and "genderless." The exact details of their identity are a matter of debate (spoilers).
- M. C. A. Hogarth's science-fiction series about the Jokka, an alien species that can randomly change sex twice at puberty, with three sexes, and three corresponding gender roles: female, male, and neuter. The neuters can't reproduce, but since they're the least vulnerable to succumbing to "mind death" (a kind of stroke that afflicts any member of their species if they exert themselves too hard), their place in society is to do work that requires a hardy body and a good memory. Several main characters don't like the sexes they ended up with, and could be seen as transgender. The main character in the short story "Freedom, Spiced and Drunk" wishes to be neuter; details aren't possible without spoiling the story.
- The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin is a classic science fiction novel published in 1976 featuring a race of people whose sexes become male or female only briefly for reproduction, and whose genders can be a variety of masculine, feminine, both or neither.
- CJ Carter's science fiction novel, Que Será Serees (2011) is about a species of people with a single gender.
- "In David Lindsay's Voyage to Arcturus (1920) a man from earth meets people on another planet who are neither man nor woman so he invents a new pronoun ae to refer to them."
- Bard Bloom's World Tree is a setting with no human species, and many of the intelligent species in that setting have fictional sexes, such as co-lover, both-female, and so on. This includes the protagonist of a book in that setting, Sythyry's Journal, which was first serialized as a blog starting in 2002. Sythyry is a member of a dragon-like species who are all "hermaphrodites" (and not analogous to real-life intersex conditions), and don't identify as female or male. In World Tree society, species is more important than gender, so same-gender relationships are seen as unremarkable, but cross-species relationships are seen as queer, which is a significant plot element in that book. The setting also has a role-playing game handbook, World Tree: A role playing game of species and civilization (2001). A romance novel in the setting, A Marriage of Insects, deals with the relationships of a group of Herethroy, an insect-like species that has three (arguably four) sexes: male, female, co-lover (a sex necessary for males and females of that species to reproduce), and both-female (a socially unaccepted variant sex, indeterminate between female and co-lover).
- In Static, a romance novel by L. A. Witt, there have always been a marginalized minority of humans capable of changing sex instantly and at will, known as "shifters." Shifters are usually, though not always, genderfluid, having different gender identities at different times, including male, female, and other genders. (Though they only have the ability to change between two sexes.) Alex, one of the protagonists and part of the lead romantic pair, is a genderfluid shifter who is the victim of medical assault to force them to remain in one form, but continues to be genderfluid and experience dysphoria.
- In the book Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, the character Aziraphale (and A. J. Crowley by extension) are described as man-shaped, sexless beings.
- In the Faction Paradox novel This Town Will Never Let Us Go... by Philip Purser-Hallard (a Doctor Who spinoff), there is a species of posthumans who are engineered to change sex from male to female as they mature. Some of these transformations are never completed. One of the main characters, Keth Marrane, is part of this species and has a body with both male and female characteristics. Marrane is fully happy with this body and is referred to as a "hermaphrodite" by other characters; a word without negative connotations in the cultures that are described. Marrane uses "one" pronouns when narrating.
- Adam Rex's sci-fi novel, The True Meaning of Smekday (2007), features the Boov, an alien people with seven genders (boy, girl, girlboy, boygirl, boyboy, boyboygirl, and boyboyboyboy) based on their fish-like role in fertilizing an egg after they lay it in a designated part of town. Because of the impersonal way they reproduce, Boov society is egalitarian and aromantic. The sequel, Smek for President (2015), has a girlboy character named Ponch Sandhandler. She-he is addressed as "ladyfellow," and by she-he pronouns. The movie loosely based on the books, Home (2015), doesn't directly mention anything about Boov gender, and only refers to any Boov by he pronouns.
- In The Left Hand of Darnkess by Ursula K. Le Guin, the inhabitants of the planet Gethen are referred to as ambisexual, and lack sex characteristics for the majority of the lunar cycle, which they acquire in order to reproduce.
- In Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's collaborative novel Good Omens, Neil Gaiman has confirmed that both of the main characters are non-binary, and they present as different genders at times in both the book and the 2019 tv-series (Crowley presenting as female as a nanny, and Aziraphale presenting as female while possessing madame Tracy). The characters usually present as males, and don't show any inclination to correct people on using masculine pronouns, but this is presented more as them not caring, and less them defining themself as males. The book specifically says that all angels and demons in it are neither male nor female, which is the standard belief about angels in Christianity.
- In Wyvern, a kids book by Kyle McGiverin, there is a sentient race of beings called wyverns. The wyverns are genderless and use "wy/wym/wys" pronouns.
Comics and graphic novels[edit | edit source]
- In Cardcaptor Sakura, a manga series by CLAMP, beings who were created by magic are canonically said to be neither female nor male. They're sexless, but may prefer a gender expression that is female, male, or androgynous. This includes some main characters, but it would be spoilers to say who and how. This is also the case in the anime based on the manga, of the same name.
- The Sandman by Neil Gaiman and various artists - seminal graphic novel series, as recommended in Kate Bornstein's My New Gender Workbook as having "Lots of good gender play." One character, Desire, is a being who can have any sex or gender.
- In The Satrians, a comic by Carlisle Robinson, a satyr-like alien species called Satrians have only one sex, and no concept of gender. They're all called by the pronoun set xe, xyr, xem.
- In Spectra, a science fiction comic by Cori Walters, the main characters are members of an alien species that has one sex, and all people voluntarily choose which of several gender roles they identify with. Outside of the story, Walters said, "They only have one physical sex but they have three socially enforced genders (or four if you count young children, who are seen as genderless until they choose their role in society.) For simplification reasons, in the comic the three main ones are referred to as he, she, and ne. The 'male' role is that of destruction, the 'female' is that of creation, and the third gender is that of preservation." The comic started in 2013 and is still in progress.
Movies[edit | edit source]
- E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), directed by Steven Spielberg. In an interview, Spielberg said that E.T. is a plant-like creature, and is neither male nor female. The finished movie itself doesn't mention this fact. The finished script refers to E.T. as "he" and "the creature." This fact about E.T. was included in the first draft of the script written by Melissa Mathison.
TV[edit | edit source]
- In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Outcast" the Enterprise encounters an alien race called the "androgynous J'naii", whose society long ago had female and male roles, but their society had become sexless and genderless, which they believe to be more advanced. They have no physical sex differences, and reproduce without copulation. They all dress alike, and ask to be called by it pronouns. The J'naii believe that it's unhealthy to be female or male, and the genderlessness of their society is enforced on all its members. In that episode, a J'naii named Soren is revealed to be secretly a transgender woman. In a reference to real-life "conversion therapy" used coercively on transgender people to make them not be transgender, the J'naii use brainwashing to force Soren to identify as androgynous rather than female. The episode fails at exploring the possibilities of a genderless society or identity, which is depicted as bland and repressive, but is a decent critique of conversion therapy, as well as a defense of transgender rights.
- The series Earth: Final Conflict is primarily about interactions between modern-day humans and aliens called Taelons, who seem to have neither sex nor gender. The Taelons use he pronouns for human convenience, but do not identify as male.
- Time Lords in Doctor Who are able to transform their bodies in order to prevent death, giving them a new personality each time they undergo this process. See Gender in Doctor Who for more information.
- Simoun takes place in a world that recognizes three genders: male, female, and a feminine "maiden" gender which everyone is assigned at birth. When people in this world come of age, they're required to give up the "maiden" gender and commit to male or female--those who do not choose have it chosen for them. Several of the main characters, including the two leads, decide that they do not want to be men or women, but rather keep their "maiden" gender, which goes against the rules of society. Despite the maiden gender being feminine, the fact that choosing to keep it is regarded as significantly different from choosing to become a woman shows that it is a third gender role and not the same as womanhood.
- Steven Universe is about an alien kind called Gems, who all look similar to human women, except for the half-human Gem named Steven. The show creator, Rebecca Sugar, says the Gems aren't female: "Steven is the first and only male Gem, because he is half human! Technically, there are no female Gems! There are only Gems!" The Gems are called by she pronouns just because it's easy: Sugar said, "There's a 50 50 chance to use some pronoun on Earth, so why not feminine ones-- it's as convenient as it is arbitrary!" In a later interview, Rebecca stated outright that "the Gems are all nonbinary women. [...] They wouldn’t think of themselves as women, but they’re fine with being interpreted that way amongst humans." (She also identified herself as a nonbinary woman in this same interview.) Furthermore, Gems can temporarily fuse together to become a combined being. In episode "Alone Together", the aforementioned Steven manages to pull off this skill with human girl Connie, resulting in a fusion named "Stevonnie." When asked about Stevonnie's gender, Rebecca Sugar replied that "Stevonnie is an experience! The living relationship between Steven and Connie," describing them as a "metaphor that is so complex and so specific but also really, really relatable, in the form of a character." Matt Burnett confirmed on Twitter that Stevonnie uses they/them pronouns, which do get used for Stevonnie in later episodes. Later, in a 2019 public service announcement about self-esteem and social media, which is also part of the canon, Stevonnie is briefly seen scrolling past their Instagram profile, in which they have described themself with the words "nonbinary" and "intersex." These are both real human identities and conditions, even though Stevonnie's origins are only possible in fiction.
- Izana Shinatose in Knights of Sidonia is neither female nor male, but has the ability to eventually choose a sex if they fall in love. Izana's uniform is different from that of her classmates, reflecting their lack of gender (while females have skirts and males wear pants, Izana wears shorts). This gender is given the name of "middlesex" in the second season. Izana's body does eventually become female after falling in love with Nagate, against their conscious wishes and to their dismay.
- The Sailor Starlights in the Sailor Moon anime are male in their human form, but they can change to female when transformed into Sailor Senshi.
Webseries[edit | edit source]
- "Ask Sulmere" by Draque Thompson is an ongoing ask blog featuring aliens of a race that never evolved sexual dimorphism or the concept of gender.
Gender nonconformity in fiction[edit | edit source]
This section is for characters who are gender nonconforming but have a binary gender identity. That is, they identify as female, or as male, and are therefore not nonbinary. In significant ways, the characters don't conform to the expectations and norms for their gender. Fans may describe these characters as genderqueer, which may be accurate. A character who is gender nonconforming and/or genderqueer isn't necessarily nonbinary, since they may still have a strictly binary gender identity, and they may also be cisgender. For example, a character who says something like, "I'm all man, and wearing a pink dress doesn't make me any less of a man" is gender nonconforming and perhaps genderqueer, but definitely not nonbinary.
Animation[edit | edit source]
- In the comedy series SheZow, the legacy of a super-heroine has been passed down through generations of grand-aunts to grand-nieces when they inherit a magic ring that grants feminine-themed powers. For the first time, the ring is inherited by a boy, Guy Hamdon. Whenever he's being SheZow, which entails wearing a pink costume with a skirt and long hair, he has to keep up the appearance of being a girl in order to protect his secret identity. If anyone finds out who SheZow really is, his whole family will have to be relocated to the moon. Aside from his hair, SheZow's body doesn't change, and he has to remember to speak in a higher voice. Shezow often insists that his friends who are in the know need to call him by "she" pronouns whenever he appears in public as SheZow, and grumbles whenever they mess it up. When a friend hesitates and asks in private which pronoun Guy prefers, Guy shrugs and replies, "Eh, it depends on what I'm wearing." In other words, Guy's pronoun preference while being SheZow is "she," and is "he" while in his secret identity. Guy overcomes his initial discomfort and finds empowerment and confidence in femininity, even while remaining happily masculine when presenting as a boy. While this comfortable alternation between male and female presentations could be seen as a genderfluid or bigender character, the show creator has stated in an interview that, to the best of his understanding, this isn't so: "SheZow is not transgendered. He's a boy, his gender never changes, he's just trapped in a silly costume." As such, Shezow/Guy is a gender nonconforming cisgender boy.
- There are other gender noncomforming characters in Shezow than the title character. Shezow's evil clone, Shezap, can look like Guy or like Shezow. When they open a portal to a gender-swapped alternative universe, Shezow discovers that the version of herself there is Dudepow, a hero with masculine-themed powers who is secretly a girl.
Books and Literature[edit | edit source]
- The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov - The 2nd part of this book features an alien species that reproduces by different means than humans, resulting in an alien culture with different gender roles. However, the 3 fictional sexes are not used as justification for these characters having nonbinary gender identities, as the protagonists are depicted as being gender non-conforming by the standards of their own society. Most notable is Dua, the "emotional"/"mid" member of a triad, who has always struggled to fit in with the others of her sex. She's explicitly non-conforming, exhibiting traits normally associated with the "rational"/"left" sex of her species. As a result, her peers use the slur "left-em" against her, which she would eventually reclaim as her own identity, along with "queer". Would she also qualify as nonbinary (technically non-trinary) transgender? This is open to interpretation by the reader.
See also[edit | edit source]
- Undisclosed gender in fiction
- Gender in Doctor Who
- The TV Tropes Transgender page
- The TV Tropes Ambiguous Gender page
References[edit | edit source]
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