Coming Out as Trangender, Genderqueer, and/or Non-Binary Masterpost

Last updated June 4, 2015

I’ve been getting lots of questions on Genderqueer and Non-Binary Identities in regards to coming out lately. I continue to welcome questions, but I would also like to make a masterpost of resources I tend to recommend to people. This is a work in progress and suggestions are welcome. Please note, you should not feel obligated to come out. Furthermore, you may want to come out to some people, but not to others – this is a very personal process.

You may find pros as well as cons in the resources below  – take what you find will be useful to you and leave the rest behind. Be aware that coming out can be followed by unpredictable responses, both positive and negative, from friends, family, or partners. Since there are fewer resources at present about coming out as genderqueer or non-binary, many resources will pertain to transgender people who identify as men or women. Many of these suggestions can potentially be adapted to one’s own identity and situation, though we would love to see more genderqueer and non-binary specific guides! I have also included guides to potentially show people one has come out to in order to aid in understanding. As with the guides on coming out, use your own discretion, as a variety of suggestions and viewpoints are represented.

If you know of further resources concerning coming out as trans*, genderqueer, and/or non-binary or want to share your own personal coming out story, please feel free to add them.

How-Tos on Coming Out:

Art of Transliness: Trans* and Queer: Tips for Coming Out and Dealing with People

Human Rights Commission: Coming Out in the Workplace as Transgender

MCC Transgender Ministries – Coming Out as a Transgender Person: A Workbook (religion-oriented)

Susan’s Place: A Guide to Coming Out to Family

Transgender Mental Health: Thoughts on “coming out” as Transgender to family

TransYouth Family Allies: Considering Coming Out as Gender Variant/Transgender to Your Parents?

Forums Where You Can Ask Questions About Coming Out:

AVEN: Gender DiscussionLaura’s PlaygroundScarleteen: Gender IssuesSusan’s PlaceTransYada

Personal Stories and Advice on Coming Out and Other Resources:

Everyday Feminism: Coming Out as Genderqueer Non-Binary (Outside Of and Within the Queer Community)

Hackgender: On Coming Out as Genderqueer

Neutrois Nonsense: On (Not) Coming Out

Neutrois Nonsense: Coming Out: The Plan

Sex Etc.: Coming Out as Genderqueer

When I Came Out: Stories on Coming Out as Genderqueer

Search for posts on coming out

Search for posts on coming out

FAQs and Guides for People You Have Come Out To:

American Psychological Association: Answers to Your Questions About Transgender People, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression

Feeling Wrong in Your Own Body: Understanding What it Means to Be Transgender by Jaime Seba (a good general book – title may be problematic; this includes some discussion of genderqueer identity)

Gendered Intelligence: A Guide for Parents and Family Members of TransPeople in the UK

Gender Now Coloring Book: A Learning Adventure for Children and Adults by Maya Christina Gonzales

Trans-kin: A Guide for Family & Friends of Transgender People by Eleanor A. Hubbard and Cameron T. Whitley

TransWhat?: A Guide Towards Allyship

Source: GENDERQUEER AND NON-BINARY IDENTITIES –  Coming Out as Trangender, Genderqueer, and/or Non-Binary Masterpost

Bookish Beasts Vol. 2

Bookish Beasts 2014: The second zine from the creators of the comic and zine fest Bookish Beasts held at CSC annually. All original art and erotica bringing together books and sex like you have always desired. Artists and writers include: Jon Macy, Dorian Katz, Library Vixen, Marilyn Roxie, LEATHERFIST, Rian Hart, Avery Cassell, and Miss Ian Librarian.

Available on Square for $4

A night of genderQueer readings with Jiz Lee, Sam Rosenthal, Carol Queen, and more!


A night of genderQueer readings with Jiz Lee, Sam Rosenthal, Carol Queen, and more!

Saturday, May 4, 2013 7:00pm until 9:30pm

An exciting evening of readings from beyond the gender binary. Doors at 7pm, readings at 7:30

Center for Sex & Culture (1349 Mission btw 9th and 10th)

SAM ROSENTHAL visits from Brooklyn to present work from his erotic genderQueer romance novel Rye. Genderqueer porn star JIZ LEE’s reads new work; their writing recently appeared in the Feminist Porn Book! CAROL QUEEN, author, sexologist, and pillar of the sex-positive feminism movement presents new work of personal discovery and insight. Plus more writings from people along the gender spectrum and those who love them including: Gina de Vries, Seeley Quest, and Marilyn Roxie.

Suggested donation $5-20 sliding scale, NOTAFLOF.

Selected Links on Non-Binary Gender in Japan: Xジェンダー


Xジェンダー (x-jendā) is the most common term I’ve found in my research thus far on an identity that is neither man nor woman in Japan, comparable to the English-language terms genderqueer or the more neutral term non-binary. Collected here are a list of some of the most informative and engaging sites I could find on the subject, some provided with annotations.

Intersections: An Introduction to X-Jendā: Examining a New Gender Identity in Japan: This was one of the only pieces I could find in English about the term, so I would heartily recommend checking it out for a comprehensive look that explains the identity within the framework of Japanese terminology and culture and outlines a history of the word’s usage and other similar terms.

クイアな必然 (Kuia na Hitsuzen; A Queer Inevitability): This is the blog of Nosuma, who identifies as Xジェンダー and as XTX specifically; compare with uses of FTM, MTF. Also, please note that the terms FTM and MTF are presently very common in discourse around gender identity in Japan, even more so than transgender man and transgender woman. They are also an artist and have designed a series of shirts defining Xジェンダー at their Atelier Saranse shop.

虹色ろんど (Nijiro Rondo; Iridescence Rondo): This is a blog by Seiji, who is quite humorous and often adds illustrations to his blog articles. Seiji describes himself as identifying as FTM in a more lengthy biographical description and オナベ野郎 (Onabe Yarou; a Male-Identified Rascal) in the fill-in box for their gender identity – yes, although you’re required to pick male or female to start, Ameba lets you fill your gender in with text afterward! Seiji has done blog posts defining gender terms, such as this piece, a Sexual Minority Glossary, which defines such terms as coming out, neko and tachi (terms often used in the lesbian community to denote passiveness or activeness in sexual intercourse), danāzu (trans men who are attracted to other trans men), femme, and 熊系 (kumakei, bear system, preference for the bear type in the gay community), and this entry which explains the difference between FTM, FTX, and related terms.

ちぃのGID-MtFの4コマブログ(Chii no GiD-MtF no 4 Koma Burogu; Chii’s 4-Frame Comic GiD-MtF Blog): Although focusing on MTF identity typically, this particular comic and article discusses Xジェンダー: [4コマ]☆Xジェンダー☆. Chii describes the differences between 中性 (chūsei) and 両性 (ryōsei), wanting to identify between man and woman (男と女の中間でありたい!) and wanting to identify as both man and woman (男女どちらの性でもありたい!) respectively and relates an anecdote about an Xジェンダー person in junior high who was uncomfortable wearing their high school uniform because it was in a girls’ style.

Xジェンダー Groups on Ameba: Groups available range from the large, with over 15,000 members such as 性別?そんなの知りません!(笑) (Seibetsu? Son’na no shirimasen! (Wara); Gender identity? I don’t know what that is! (Laughs)) that encompass a variety of gender identities, including binary associated ones, to the small Xジェンダーの憩いのお部屋 (X-jendā no Ikoi no Oheya; An X-Gender Room for Relaxation), which I should note is also managed by Nosuma (mentioned above). Member blogs are listed under メンバーのブログ within each group and include many entries by people who identify outside of the binary. See also the Xジェンダー Group on Mixi.

Euphoria: ~Xジェンダ-中心の総合情報サイト~ (Euphoria: X-jendā Chūshin no Sōgō Jōhō Saito; Euphoria: Comprehensive Information Site on X-Gender): This site includes a glossary of terms concerning gender, sex, and sexuality and detailed information on FTX identity.

Xが集まれる場所 (X ga Atsumaru Basho; X Gathering Place): Relatively new site gathering information about Xジェンダー and related terms, including books and links.

Xジェンダー@Wiki (X-Gender Wiki)

Archived Twitter Discussions of Xジェンダー on Togetter

How to Explore Gender and Sexual Characteristics in Second Life’s Virtual World: Getting Started


Second Life is an engrossing 3D world accessible online. Second Life is free to join and when you do, you can select from humans, vampires, animals, robots, or vehicles to represent your avatar. There are also items for sale on Second Life Marketplace and in stores in-world (some are free, most cost Linden Dollars which can be obtained by purchasing them with real-world cash or earning them in other ways within Second Life).

Even though the character that you sign up with may be referred to as having a male or female body, their initial body characteristics need not limit you – in fact, kinds of body parts, attachments, clothing, and so on that you can use with your avatar are as infinite as the ever-growing array of products in the marketplace is.

Virtual worlds offer an exciting opportunity to explore presentation and body types, both those possible and as yet impossible in the real world. An avatar could function as a canvas to work out your ideal self – or maybe just a persona you’d like to slip into once and awhile. In this post, I will detail the ways in which you can use Second Life as a tool for these purposes.

Here, I primarily focus on how to get started in Second Life with a few notes about presentation and sexual characteristics. I may be more specific about gender, sex, and sexuality and places to explore in another feature later on.

1. Getting Started

If you want to skip reading through this step, Second Life Quickstart may be for you!

In order to become a Second Life resident, you’ll not only need to become a member (don’t worry about the character you choose to start if there’s not a default one that you’re happy with you’re happy with – you will be able to customize yourself quite highly before too long) but also download the Second Life Viewer. If you’re on wireless, see the Third Party Viewer Directory instead. I personally recommend Firestorm Viewer.

I won’t go into how to control your character here and other basics, but you can check outGetting Started with Second Life and the Second Life Knowledge Base for some help on this front. Let me just say that: saving Outfits of what you’re wearing (including body and skin) and remembering to create Landmarks of places you want to remember to come back to are two of the most time-saving, useful features I’ve encountered.

Once you familiarize yourself with the controls and your viewer of choice, you may want to take some time to explore using the Destination Guide.

I also won’t be going into items that do not have to do with character appearances here – if you want to find out about having a house and buying land, check the Knowledge Base. Note that Second Life Premium is a paid membership with additional perks, but a Premium upgrade is not at all required to have a good time in Second Life. In fact, I still am not a Premium member myself!

2. Free Stuff in the Marketplace!

Once you’ve worked out the controls and done some exploring, you’ll want to get clothing, body types, skin, and accessories that are better suited to you than the default character you came into SL with. The good news is that you can have a great time in SL with customizing your character without spending any real-life money if you don’t want to or can’t afford to – there are loads of items available for free! I will describe how to ‘unpack’ items you get in the Marketplace in step #3 and the actual process of customizing your character within Second Life in Part 2.

In the Second Life Marketplace, select a category from the sidebar (and then a sub-category, if desired) or enter a keyword in the search box. The areas we’ll be dealing with in this guide will be Apparel, Avatar Accessories, and Avatar Appearance. Then, set the price range from L$0 to L$0 and hit enter. This will cause all of the free items to appear.

Beware: “demo” items, while free, are for the purpose of trying out (often watermarked in some way, so not attractive). Other than the frustration of the few demo items that will turn up in a L$0 search, everything else is up for grabs with no strings attached. Other useful keywords Marketplace searching are “gift” and “freebie.” If you did purchase or otherwise obtain Linden Dollars to use in SL, “dollarbie” is another good keyword (for items that cost only L$1).

Once you’re browsing as described above, you can start searching for the items to customize your avatar with. Don’t feel tied down to a particular “image” for your character or feel the need to make separate accounts – you can always save different skin, body, and clothing combinations as Outfits, then switch between the Outfits however often you wish. Separate accounts are not at all necessary to switch between different identities.

Some areas to begin with might include basic elements like hair (which includes a section for unisex hairstyles!), complete avatar sets (includes both skin and body, may come with outfit), and avatar components (skin, shape, eyes, tattoos). Still, don’t feel limited by what you see – any skin can be combined with any other body shape; you don’t have to pair the skin and body that came together in a set with one another at all! Mixing and matching different looks – as often as you want – can be great fun and get you closer to how you want your avatar to look.

Checking out Apparel and Accessories should come next. The body of your character, unlike many other virtual world settings, does not determine what kind of clothes you can wear (although some clothes may fit certain body types better, depending on how the creator of the item made them; I’ve overall noticed that most items are rather flexible). You may also want to look into Animations to provide your character with more realistic (or unrealistic!) gestures.

In order to search for genitalia for your avatar, BDSM and Gorean items, and related Marketplace areas, you will need to be 18+ and set your viewer to access content categorized as Adult on SL. See Age-restricted content for more on this. The sexual parts for characters that cost less L$ look less realistic than those that cost more L$, but still – there are some free options available.

Swapping out clothing, bodies, skins, and sexual characteristics for new and entirely different options at will, all within the same avatar, is one of the biggest reasons why I view SL as such a great platform for exploring gender presentation and sexual characteristics in a virtual world. You’re not limited by the human either – science fiction, fantasy, animal, and other types of characteristics abound!

Note that you can also explore shopping within the Second Life viewer itself via the fashion destination guide, but don’t expect to find a lot of freebies.

3. Free Items within SL! + Unpacking Your Items

The Marketplace is not the only place to find Second Life goods for free and to purchase – you can also find them in-world, although the process is less streamlined and can require some hunting around. A couple of places to check out are Freebie Galaxy and Freebies Sunland. See also SL Index’s list of places to get free stuff and the Second Life Freebies website.

To unpack any items you get in-world or on the Marketplace, you’ll need to do it at a sandbox. See Opening boxes for more information.

4. Get Dressed!

To put on an item, you can simply drag and drop it onto your avatar from your inventory. See this video tutorial with accompanying text if you need help: Putting on Clothing. To save a selection of equipped items as a cohesive outfit that you can put back on later, refer to the Working with outfits section of the Second Life Wiki. Please note that you may want to visit an uninhabited region to get changed privately as dressing rooms are not very secure, or a mature-rating sandbox to get changed publicly if you are not bothered by others being able to view your avatar while being changed. If you have put-together Outfits, you can just drop these folders onto your character wherever you are and you’ll be fully dressed!

5. Putting It All Together

For now, you have much to work with in terms of customizing your appearance and plenty of new places to explore. In a future piece, I will focus more specifically on how Second Life can be a powerful tool for identity expression and connecting with others in the realms of gender, sex, and sexuality.tumblr_inline_mkarlcxxNQ1qz4rgp

GENDERQUEER AND NON-BINARY IDENTITIES – When someone tells you that “they/them/their” is…

Something interesting I learned in my speech class textbook, Reflect and Relate (Second Edition) about they/them/their in the English language, page 187:

A language’s regulative rules also change. When you learned to speak
and write English, for example, you probably were taught that they is inappropriate as a singular pronoun. But before the 1850s, people commonly used they as the singular pronoun for individuals whose gender was unknown—for example, “the owner went out to the stables, where they fed the horses” (Spender, 1990).

In 1850, male grammarians petitioned the British Parliament to pass a law declaring that all gender-indeterminate references be labeled he instead of they (Spender, 1990). Since that time, teachers of English worldwide have taught their students that they used as a singular pronoun is “not proper.”

I always thought that “they” was considered grammatically improper as a singular pronoun because of the possibility of confusion with the plural “they” (an additional factor also explored in this paper), although it is also worth noting that you/your/yours is used in the singular and plural, generally without confusion, frequently. I wanted to see if their were other sources on the above and there are! I was interested to learn about this in particular because, time and time again, I’ve heard people rudely remark on they/them/their being “improper” after someone would mention this as the pronoun set they’d like people to use in reference to them – both online and off. They/them/their is also the pronoun set I have gelled with best in reference to myself. If anyone has more info on this, I’d love to know about it!

Source: GENDERQUEER AND NON-BINARY IDENTITIES – When someone tells you that “they/them/their” is…