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 anyway, since sometimes the distinctions aren't clear.
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 Undisclosed gender in fiction
- 3 Fictional sexes
- 4 Gender nonconformity in fiction
- 5 See also
- 6 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]
- Ouran Highschool Host Club features the character Haruhi Fujioka, who is assigned female at birth, but "happened to be" dressed in a masculine manner. When their friends discover their sex, they ask, "You're a girl?!" to which they reply, "Biologically, yes." They later state that they do not think a person's gender is important, which many fans see as a sign that Haruhi is agender or genderblind. They are typically referred to using traditionally feminine pronouns such as "she", though Haruhi has shown no preference.
- 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.)
Audio[edit | edit source]
- In the podcast The Adventure Zone, 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 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.
Board and card games[edit | edit source]
- “Ashiok” from the popular card game Magic: The Gathering is explicitly referred to as being nongendered. Though some depictions of the character include “he” as a pronoun, a lead designer from the company that makes the game has insisted on numerous occasions that the character is explicitly nongendered. Even going so far as to write stories which avoid referring to Ashiok using gendered pronouns at all. Ashiok's card can be found here.
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.
- 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 identify as a specific nonbinary gender 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, 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. She first appears in the book The Hammer of Thor. He is the love interest of the main character of the series, Magnus Chase.
Webcomics[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.
- 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 - 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 Calmasis.
- Phoebe and her Unicorn by Dana Simpson has a nonbinary character named Infernus, the Unicorn of Death.
- Tapastic webcomics
- 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.
Movies[edit | edit source]
- In "The Kings of Summer," Biaggio asserts that he doesn't see himself as "having a gender."
TV[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.
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.
- "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.
- 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.
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 early 2019) 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.
Undisclosed gender in fiction[edit | edit source]
Some characters have their gender and sex hidden and not told about. This might be kept a secret for the entire story. Readers and viewers can only guess about the character's gender, or they can be comfortable with not knowing. This can be an interesting device in fiction that makes us take notice of our assumptions and stereotypes. However, it isn't really the same thing as representation of nonbinary gender identities. A character whose gender is never explicitly stated could be nonbinary, especially if their gender expression involves going to great efforts to make sure nobody knows their gender. However, they could just as likely be female, or male. What makes someone nonbinary is if they identify as nonbinary. However, in this case the viewers don't get to know how that character identifies. Also note that looking androgynous doesn't mean that someone identifies as an androgyne.
Animation[edit | edit source]
- In Adventure Time, a fantasy series, a recurring side character, BMO (Beemo), is popularly seen by fans as genderless, but canon is less than clear on this. BMO is a tiny robot resembling a video game console, with a high, childlike voice (by actress Niki Yang). Nothing in the canon states outright that BMO is female, male, or otherwise. However, a strong clue for the latter is that in "Fionna and Cake," an alternative universe gender-swap episode (meaning all female characters are shown as male and vice versa), BMO is the only character with no visible change, apart from his controller. As seen elsewhere on this page, it's not uncommon for robots to be written as genderless.
- BMO's pronouns: Other characters often use pronouns for BMO in the canon. BMO is called "he" by Finn, Jake, Sleepy Sam, and Cuber in the episodes "Rainy Day Daydream," "Guardians of Sunshine," "Return to the Nightosphere," "The Creeps," and "Five Short Graybles." Fans claim that characters also sometimes call BMO "she" or "it," but specific canon evidence of this still wants to be recorded here.
- BMO's titles: Though Finn has often referred to BMO as "he," Finn called BMO "M'lady" in "Conquest of Cuteness." This may have been facetious.
- BMO's make believe: BMO often plays make believe, and takes on male or female roles or characteristics in these fantasies. For example, in "Davey" (describing himself as "a little living boy," and simulating peeing standing up by pouring a cup of water into a toilet), and in "Five Short Graybles" (describing his mirrored persona as "a real baby girl"). In "BMO Noire," BMO role-plays as a masculine detective (appearing in one scene with facial stubble), but the episode title uses the feminine form of "noire," rather than masculine "noir." The masculine form is standard in the phrase "film noir," the name of the detective movie genre parodied in that episode. In "James Baxter the Horse," BMO carries an egg around and sings, in part, "BMO, how'd you get so pregnant? Who's the mother? Oh, who's the father?" It's not clear if the egg scene is BMO playing make believe, or if the song describes an actual event. Stranger things have happened in the magical Land of Ooo, so it's not always clear what's real and serious or fantastic and facetious.
- "Soul Eater" includes the character Crona Gorgon, the child of the antagonist Medusa Gorgon, who is referred to by exclusively neutral language in the original Japanese manga. Other characters often question whether Crona is male or female due to an androgynous appearance, and none of these questions are ever answered.
- Attack on Titan character Hange Zoë's gender is never confirmed, and manga author Hajime Isayama has asked the English-language publisher to "avoid gendered pronouns when referring to Hange, or at least to use he AND she with equal frequency." 
Audio[edit | edit source]
- The audio drama series Bernice Summerfield (a Doctor who spinoff) features a character named Chanticleer in the episode The Tub Full of Cats. Bernice Summerfield and Margarita Matsumoto Braxiatel have a conversation about Chanticleer's gender, in which they both admit to not being able to tell what gender Chanticleer really is. Neither Benny nor Maggie want to ask Chanticleer about the matter, and at the end of the episode it's left uncertain. Chanticleer is referred to by he pronouns and is played by a female actor.
Books and literature[edit | edit source]
- Anne Leckie's science fiction novels Ancillary Justice (2013) and Ancillary Sword (2014) were set in a futuristic society that is indifferent to gender, so all the characters are called by gender-neutral "she" pronouns, leaving their actual gender and sex undisclosed. Leckie says she had an assumption at the time that gender is binary, so these are likely not non-binary characters.
- In the Choose Your Own Adventure series of interactive fiction books, the player's character is always written with no implications about their gender. The idea was that the main character of the book was the reader, who could be any gender, so the character was described as little as possible. The illustrators were sometimes able to make the player's character look androgynous, such as by showing them in shadows, or wearing costumes that hide their face. This was all intentional. However, in some of the books they simply drew the character as looking like a boy, even though the player's character was still written about in only a gender-neutral way.
- In K. A. Cook's short story "Misstery Man" in Crooked Words, an androgynous-looking superhero by that name has never disclosed their gender, resulting in rude speculation in the local newspapers. This frustrates the unrelated nonbinary main character, Darcy, who thinks it would be easier to come out if only someone famous like that would come out or otherwise make the newspaper gossip stop.
- In Alastair Reynolds's science fiction novel On the Steel Breeze, one character is called by gender-neutral "ve" pronouns. The novel never gives any exposition about this character's sex, gender, or pronouns, and ver gender-neutrality doesn't influence the plot. The lack of remark gives the impression that a nonbinary gender is unremarkable, but this is also why some readers thought the pronouns were a misprint. The lack of discussion about the character's gender also means that this is an example of undisclosed gender, rather than nonbinary representation.
- Atsuko Asano's No. 6 contains many androgynous characters, including Inukashi, who Shion, the main character, is unable to tell their gender due to their long hair and thin body. In the english translation, Inukashi is referred to by male pronouns.
- In Maïa Mazaurette's french novel "Rien ne nous survivra - Le pire est Avenir", one of the main characters called Silence is never called by either male or female pronouns. The whole book managed to avoid gender qualification for this character. (French is a very Binary langage, even furniture has a gender, so it's quite an accomplishment)
- In Rick Riordan's Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Alex Fierro is a genderfluid character that first appears in the second book and uses both he/him and she/her pronouns.
Comics and graphic novels[edit | edit source]
- Order of the Stick by Rich Burlew - Webcomic parody of Dungeons & Dragons. One of the main characters is an androgynous-looking elven mage named Vaarsuvius. Their gender and sex are never explicitly revealed, and they are referred to using male and female pronouns by other characters, but the author has said that these are the views of other characters and may not reflect the reality. We later learn that Vaarsuvius is married and has two adopted children, refers to their partner with gender-neutral terms, and that the children (translated from Elvish) call the two adults 'Parent' and 'Other Parent'.
- Username: Evie by Joe Sugg - Sci-fi graphic novel about a teenage girl's adventures in a virtual universe. One character, Unity, has an androgynous appearance and was coded "to represent every man and woman here". Other characters seem to be unable to gender them (e.g. "I've seen that guy before. Or is it a girl?").
Movies[edit | edit source]
- In "The Incredibles," Kronos' files briefly show a superhero named MACROBEAM who is described as "oddly androgynous," and they are referred to with both "he" and "she" pronouns, saying that their sex and gender are unknown. This is only on the screen for a few seconds, and you can only see it if you pause. The character doesn't appear in person, and has no dialog.
TV[edit | edit source]
- The recurring Saturday Night Live character and series of sketches Pat from the early 1990s. Pat is an androgynous character who everyone tries desperately (but politely) to gender, but whose neutral preferences and gender expression defy classification. This is played for laughs as Pat is oblivious to everyone else's discomfort. It even spun off into a (badly received) 1994 movie, It's Pat, in which Pat falls in love with another character whose gender is also unknown. The character is highly androgynous in appearance and personality, but Pat's assigned gender is unclear, which is the basis of the joke. See Wikipedia's Pat article
- The children's TV series Lloyd in Space features an episode ("Neither Boy nor Girl") that focuses on a genderless character named Zoit. After being initially confused about their gender, the characters learn that in Zoit's species, children are raised genderless until they reach their 13th birthday, at which point they choose whether to become a boy or a girl. The other children fight over which gender Zoit should pick on their upcoming birthday. At the end of the episode, Zoit proudly tells their friends that they have chosen their gender, but want to keep their choice to themselves - it is left open whether they decided to be male or female.
- The recent TV series Carmilla includes a non-binary character, Susan LaFontaine. They have stated that they no longer wish to be called Susan in season one when they say "I don't want to be Susan anymore." in episode 26. They use the name LaFontaine and they/them pronouns.
- In the Netflix series Degrassi: Next Class, Yael Baron is a genderqueer character who uses they/them pronouns.
- In Billions, Taylor Mason is a nonbinary character who uses they/them pronouns. Mason is widely considered to be the first nonbinary character in a TV show by US news sources. They are played by Asia Kate Dillon, who is also nonbinary.
- Milo, from the Danger & Eggs animated series, is a minor nonbinary character played by the agender voice actor Tyler Ford.
Video games[edit | edit source]
- In Borderlands 2, a large part of Zer0's story is the lack of information surrounding him. He uses he/him pronouns, but the information provided alludes to him either being agender or having a non-human/alien gender identity.
- Choice of the Dragon, by Choice of Games LLC, is an interactive fiction story in which the player's character is a dragon. When creating this character, the player has more than two options for its gender, or, possibly, its sex.
- Cryptic Stitching, an interactive novel by Ursula Vernon about stuffed animals living as hunter-gatherers in a magical Ice Age. When creating one's character, the player can choose to be female, male, or "fuzzy," which isn't any gender in particular, "Given that you're a sentient stuffed animal and all."
- In Dishonored 2, a noble named Wyman is mentioned several times, being the lover of main character Emily Kaldwin, and is never referred to with any gendered words. Wyman does not appear in-game but does appear in the novels Dishonored: The Corroded Man and Dishonored: The Return of Daud. The novels' author, Adam Christopher, stated on Twitter that "Wyman is gender-neutral." However, in a Reddit AMA the next month, Adam was more vague, saying "Wyman's gender is purposefully left unsaid, yes. Let your headcanon go wild :)", and also saying that Arkane Studios had the full character details which could not be revealed yet.
- In Fallen London, you can choose to play as "a lady," "a gentleman," or a character whose gender isn't specified. There are multiple other characters that are genderless, including party members (the Irrepressible Cannoneer) as well as regular NPCs (the Alarming Scholar and Isery). This is also true of Sunless Sea, which is set in the same universe.
- In Final Fantasy VI, the optional character Gogo's gender is never revealed. The description given of the character says, "Is this a man? A woman? Or should we ask?"
- In Final Fantasy IX, Quina is treated a genderless character who is referred to as "he/she". This is true for his/her entire species.
- In Harvest Moon: Magical Melody, Jamie, your antagonist, is depicted as neither male or female, and the only thing that alludes to their gender is what happens when you marry them. If you play a female character and marry them, they will wear a tuxedo at the ceremony, but if you play a male character and marry them, they will wear a wedding dress. Their pronouns are not stated.
- In Undertale, the human protagonist Frisk and the human called Chara are never referred to in binary terms, and are referred to with "they" pronouns. Their gender is never revealed. Some other characters also go by "they" pronouns.
- In Hustle Cat the protagonist of this Dating Sim game can be either male, female or non-binary with "they" pronouns (regarding of the chosen sex) and the characters in-game will refer to them with the chosen pronouns.
- In the horror series “Five Nights at Freddy’s,” the characters Mangle from FNaF2 and Funtime Foxy from FNaF Sister Location both have debated genders. In the Custom Night of both games, they are included in the “Ladies Night” preset, but in SL, F. Foxy is referred to as a “he,” both by one of the voices of the HandUnit and the description of the Custom Night, and a “she” by the HandUnit’s other voice. Mangle is referred to as a “he” by the Phone Guy, but is still in the “Ladies Night” preset.
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.
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.
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.
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." In that episode, the characters don't use any pronouns for Stevonnie (no pronouns), but Matt Burnett confirmed on Twitter that Stevonnie uses they/them pronouns..
- 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 her 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 her conscious wishes and to her dismay.
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]
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, episode 2
- The Adventure Zone Wiki: Roswell
- A Voice for Vorthos – Posts tagged with “Ashiok”, Retrieved 29th September 2014, Doug Beyer’s Blog – A Voice for Vorthos.
- A Voice for Vorthos – Ok so when are we going to learn more about the specifics about Ashiok? Ashiok is not in the first novel at all and nothing is depicted in the cards.', 7th May 2014, Doug Beyer’s Blog – A Voice for Vorthos.
- K. A. Cook, Crooked Words. Unpaged.
- K. A. Cook, "The Differently Animated and Queer Society." Crooked Words. Unpaged.
- K. A. Cook, "Misstery Man." Crooked Words. Unpaged.
- John McIntosh, "ve, vis, ver." 
- Kameron Hurley, "Beyond He-Man and She-Ra: Writing nonbinary characters." https://intellectusspeculativus.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/guest-post-beyond-he-man-she-ra-writing-non-binary-characters-by-kameron-hurley/
- Alex Dally MacFarlane, "Post-Binary Gender in SF: ExcitoTech and Non-Binary Pronouns." June 3, 2014. Tor. http://www.tor.com/blogs/2014/06/post-binary-gender-in-sf-excitotech-and-non-binary-pronouns
- Benjanun Sriduangkaew, "Silent Bridge, Pale Cascade." Clarkesworld Magazine. 2013. http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/sriduangkaew_12_13/
- "Get Ready To Stan The Umbrella Academy's Robert Sheehan", Rachel Paige, February 22 2019, Refinery29.
- Jesse Tannous, "Read Only Memories Director discusses LGBTQ themes in gaming." June 20, 2015. The Examiner. https://web.archive.org/web/20151023215026/http://www.examiner.com/article/read-only-memories-director-discusses-lgbtq-themes-gaming
- Mike Taylor, "Interview: Takashi Iizuka Talks NiGHTS" December 5, 2007. Nintendo Life http://www.nintendolife.com/news/2007/12/interview_takashi_iizuka_talks_nights
- Heavy Thought Studios - Projects
- "BMO's Pregnant Song." Adventure Time Wikia. http://adventuretime.wikia.com/wiki/BMO%27s_Pregnant_Song
- 'Attack on Titan' creator gets the last word in debate over character's gender 
- Geek's Guide to the Galaxy, "Sci-fi's hottest new writer won't tell you the sex of her characters." October 11, 2014. Wired. http://www.wired.com/2014/10/geeks-guide-ann-leckie/
- K. A. Cook, "Misstery Man." Crooked Words. Unpaged.
- Outis, "Gender-neutral characters and pronouns." November 20, 2013. https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1580481-gender-neutral-characters-and-pronouns
- Billions shows TV's first gender non-binary character, Sky News, February 2017.
- “Danger & Eggs” Is The Greatest Weirdest Queer-and-Trans Inclusive Kids Show Ever, Autostraddle, July 2017.
- Anonymous said: DID YOU SEE that the "he" pronoun in regards to wyman in that book was a typo!
- I am Adam Christopher, novelist and comic writer, and author of the new book DISHONORED: THE CORRODED MAN. Ask me anything!
- All our worlds: Diverse fantastic fiction. http://doublediamond.net/aow
- Sayuri Ueda, The Cage of Zeus. 2011.
- CJ Carter, "Genderless singular pronouns." http://tib.cjcs.com/genderless-pronouns-ey-em-and-eir-2/
- "Que Será Serees". CJ's Creative Studio. http://cjcs.com/writing/fiction/que-sera-serees/
- Suzanne Romaine, Communicating Gender. p. 343.
- Carlisle Robinson. "FAQ about gender." The Satrians. http://tapastic.com/episode/221562
- Spectra. http://spectracomic.smackjeeves.com/
- The Mind Behind America's Most Empathetic Cartoon, July 09 2018
- Reiher, Andrea (1 June 2013). "'SheZow' creator talks 'transsexual' criticism, a 'coming out' episode and more". Zap2It. Retrieved 11 February 2014.