You think when GLAAD found that 20% of people identified as non cis straight, they didn't wonder why why those numbers were higher than your average showing of the Freddy Mercury biopic? I had to stop reading at that moment just to point out the insanity of that survey.


3 As is god, jebus, religion, money, traffic, clothing. It is a large list.
Do you have any point?


So, what you’re saying is that it FEELS like as an older gay woman, most of the NB people you know or see were people who used to identify as women? Can’t see any way your observational sample could be skewed at all, good thing you backed that up with actual statistics!

Also, could see that “but” coming as soon as I read “I don’t want to denigrate any individuals identity”... just like how you hear people say “I’m not racist, but (something racist)”. So, you feel their identity hurts your identity, it’s all about you, you’re not enbiephobic or transphobic, you just worry about cis women. We all already knew you held that delusion from all the other extremely subjective and questionable articles you’ve written on the subject.


5 - You should really get out more.


I agree with @1. Also...

I first heard The Future is Female on the TV show "Orphan Black" and bought the t-shirt b/c I love the show and it's star, Tatiana Maslany, who has one.

I am by no means someone who believes in M and F only genders. I believe there are trans people in the world and they need to be embraced along with the entire spectrum of human beings and their individual complexities. I also went to college in the '90s and had so many friends who suffered significantly, hiding the closet, afraid to be who they were because they thought their families would chuck them out like garbage and in many cases they had a deep self-loathing for who they were and who they loved and they just wanted to "be normal."

I, do, however, find the sheer number of teenage girls who have never exhibited any signs of being trans statistically out of the norm (actual I find it downright statistically impossible). And I am witnessing it first hand with a child I have known since she was 2 who is now 17. I do not in any way shape or form believe this child is trans. I believe she found a way to conform with her friends and she is determined to stick with it and make the lives of her family who do not accept her as being trans a living hell and making sure they know how wrong they are every second of every day. She is a fucking nightmare from hell and a total asshole and it is truly sickening to watch how she has blown up her life and is willing to destroy her life and the lives of those around her because they won't use the pronoun "they" and buy into the delusion that she is a boy. She dropped out of school. She does lives at home. She can't do the simplest things for herself. She expects the world to cater to her in every way and does not understand that, despite how we may all desire that, THAT IS NOT HOW THE WORLD WORKS.

I know some people are going to react very negatively to this. I also know that there is denial of the fact that there are people who are mentally ill who are not being served by the narrative that "I say I am trans so I am trans." There is something going on, especially with girls, and it is about ajn outright rejection of being female (given how females are treated in this world, is it surprising such an extreme coping mechanism has developed)?

To quote a recent study: It is clear that the rise of rapid-onset gender dysphoria, which seems to predominantly involve natal females, points to a complex web of social pressures, changing cultural norms, and new modes of distress and coping that warrant further investigation. For parents, educators, and clinicians alike, caution is warranted in dealing with this growing phenomenon.

There is also an incredible number of stories by individuals who insisted they were trans who have come forward to admit they never were and have de-transitioned and explain how deeply they were confused or harmed or in denial or whatever their reason. These stories are just as valuable as those of the people who are truly trans. They need to be heard and I mean really heard, because in many cases grave harm is being done in the name of radical acceptance.


Not surprising to see German Sausage and Sportlandia keeping consistent with their main contribution to the world, commenting on Slog. Go pick up some trash or something.


@10 Don't lump me in that group. Snossages has twice as many posts in half the time, plus however many more in burner accounts.


That was a really well thought out and well written essay.
Thank you.


I think the title of this article brings up a good point however the content does not move the issue in any meaningful direction. I believe that critical theorists - such as the aforementioned Peter Coffin - use the term non-binary as a rejection of the social construct of gender as seen through the eyes of western civilization. If you were to meaningfully engage in this aspect of the discussion I think that it would be important to actually engage in a discussion about toxic masculinity and the logic of misogyny (Kate Manne) that these people are attempting to wrestle with. By disavowing or outwrite rejecting the labels of "Man" and viz a vi "Woman" there is an attempt to move beyond or outside of systems of patriarchy. On the other hand, you do raise a good point and I will give you credit for calling out intersex as a thing - (as many intersex people live on the planet as red-heads). I will close by saying that a non-binary future is actually a better future for women than a binary one simply because misogyny as the enforcer of patriarchy will continue to hold women back and belief in the societal aspects of gender is a crucial component to keeping systems of misogyny in place


If you're speaking of the same Peter Coffin I've known online for 20+ years, his announcement is no surprise. Goths are famously nonbinary people, even when they get older and look like ordinary middle-aged folks.


I'd say everyone handles embarrassment differently, but as soon as a non binary person takes you by the shoulders and insists you call that other person a They(as in a "I'm Every Woman with multiple personalities", kind of Them), you start to wonder why anyone even bothers trying to be PC anymore. The platinum rule is the new golden rule, so maybe we should all consider everyone's needs and not how we should treat others as we would want to be treated but how the other person wants to be treated, respect goes both ways.


@15/Sportlandia. You're right, my apologies, German Sausage is higher grade human virus than yourself. Blessings!


Essentially were composed of positively and negatively charged subatomic particles, making this debate moot.


God, I never thought I would get to to the point where one of Ms. Herzog's articles irritated me enough to finally make a comment, but here we fucking are. "There is, however, a big difference between intersex and nonbinary" -- and it all went downhill form there. Ms. Herzog - you are not educated enough on this subject to be writing about it and your lack of citations and expert opinions make this article completely off-base, and yes, enbyphobic. "The future is non-binary" does not reinforce gender stereotypes - you seem to have taken a personal affront to the number of lesbians you know who have abandoned a false identity of woman, and that seems like something to work out on your own. Conflating that with this slogan was poor journalism.

The future should, indeed, be non-binary, because that is the actual reality of the concepts of sex AND gender. That is why Porten talks about intersex and nonbinary people in her article. Intersex people show that, while sexual development in utero typically results in phenotypes that cluster around TWO models - biologically male and female - there is a wide variety of sexual development that results in phenotypes we may call outliers, i.e Intersex. The existence of intersex people (at roughly the same rate of redheaded people!) shows that a binary model of sex simply isn't reality. It works for most people, but it's really not accurate - LIKE MOST BINARIES.

"Nonbinary" typically refers to a gender identity that is not a "man" or "woman" as you stated. But GENDER IS SOCIALLY CONSTRUCTED. The concepts of man and woman exist only because we socially reinforce them, and thus they are defined differently in every culture. Nonbinary identities point out this reality. Masculine and feminine are socially constructed ideas that are usually quite arbitrary - the fact that some traits typically align with those that are biologically male or female doesn't erase the fact that there are too many exceptions to ever make a set rule. There are sex differences, yes, but differences along gender lines are because we were raised to fit within very narrow gender roles and expectations, beginning before birth, to "align" with our biological sex. Those alignments don't work for a lot of us.

I despise that you took affront with "the future is nonbinary" slogan because you see it as erasing women. From a self-identified feminist woman - what about men?? Like, the fuck? I suppose you couldn't address this sincerely because your argument would have crumbled entirely - your inclusion of Peter Coffin, making a dig at their chosen gender to stick it to the patriarchy - was gross. The way we all must align to incredibly prescriptive gender roles of man or woman, doesn't work for a lot of us, assigned male or female at birth. The future is nonbinary slogan says FUCK THOSE NARROW ASS GENDER ROLES!! You can orbit the two "main" planets of masculine and feminine, or you can go off on your merry way and explore the boundless gender galaxy. Watching you be so threatened by those gender explorers (who have always existed) gaining more visibility, is like watching you realize the universe does not orbit around your precious little planets. Welcome to the future. It, is, indeed, nonbinary. Now, get into therapy and stop torturing your readership with your incredibly bad takes.


Woooow removed for multilingualism and awareness of the impact of actual gendered languages.

Fucking classy!

How do you guys think this started?


Higher grade USAU red meat, perhaps. But Reaganites who want to impose their worldview on you are a plague on human progress.


Good read Katie.


AGREED. It's understandable that some of the people commenting have a heard time taking a step back from their initial emotional response to something that challenges their opinion, but their attacks on your POV are exactly what conservatives accuse liberals of being, hysterical. Try harder to not be so easily triggered, people. We'd all be a lot better off.



Not entirely true. Sure, nurture has a lot of influence on gender, but so does nature. And there's plenty of research to prove both. To say "the concepts of man and woman exist only because we socially reinforce them" is completely absurd.

Advancing such an unnuanced and demonstrably false view doesn't befit an educator. It is, in fact, anti-science and quite ignorant. I can only assume your political bias is being passed along to those you "educate."

Now, go read a book and stop torturing your students with an uniformed view of social constructionism.


lesbian separatists are hip, which is cool.
jessica porten (who wrote the 'the future is nonbinary' piece), was arrested last january for telling her doctor she had post-partum depression, and that is the reality: the future (consistent with the past) is women being criminalized for existing. imo these discussions about gender are hindered by deeply felt needs for a caring future expressed by projection, imagining away misogyny or "no i'm the boss stfu [slur of your choice]" and otherwise enacting fantasies rather than getting along with the obliteration of patriarchy.


This article makes great support for adding a gender-neutral, single-person pronoun to English, a singular version of “their”. We could then refer to a non-binary person as “hir” (or whatever) without either violating the rules of English grammar, or implying a non-binary person is somehow “more” than a binary person. (I suspect it’s the latter which is rankling some persons here.)

Also, lesbians have not been erased; those establishments you mentioned were artifacts of another binary distinction: you could be either straight or gay. We really didn’t start recognizing a spectrum of sexual orientation (upon which a person could move in her lifetime) until quite recently. (We’ve also removed some of the need for protected queer space by enacting and enforcing hate-crime laws.) There are, and always will be, women who love only women.

Twenty (or even ten) years ago, we would have welded the word “lesbian” into the phrase, “Mayor Jenny Durkan.” Now it would feel overdone. In my book at least, that’s a sign of progress.


I am a woman and I accept and welcome the rise of people describing their gender as non-binary. I am not threatened at all--non-binary identified people are allies in toppling patriarchy. I say welcome to the fight, we've been waiting for you!


@32 There's also a bajillion queer/pan/bi vagina-having people in the dating pool too. I know from older pieces that Katie isn't personally into us, but other lesbians might stoop to consider it!


@33 sorry i should have written "kidnapped by the state then released with a list of phone numbers, not help." violent thoughts are are a part of ppd; women are criminalized and traumatized for seeking help. that you don't care she wasn't helped tells me you, like the control freak cops and their system, are a misogynist.


The West has become like a bored, spoiled two year old fiddling with his/her/its pecker all day, wondering what it's there for.


lf someone says they are Napoleon trapped in the body of a modern day human, society thinks they are insane and the person is given medication and treatment. They are not invited to rule France (or exiled) for being Napoleon.

It's the oppression that Trans-Napoleons, such as myself, face on a daily basis.

Every single day, I try to live my life in accordance with my inner identity as Emperor of the French, King of Italy and Protector of the Rhine Confederations. Every single day, I am derided and mocked. Small children come up to me in the street and yell "You'll never be real emperor!" or "You'll never lead the Grand Armee against the combined armies of Tsar Alexander and Emperor Francis at Austerlitz".

All I want is what other Napoleons have: absolute power over the French Empire and its satellites in Europe, plus a dedicated Corps of Imperial Guards and a palace to live in. But I can't even move into the Palais de Versailles without policemen trying to arrest me.

Think about that. You cis—identified people get to live in your natural homes, but if I try to move into my natural home, I get arrested. I don't even want to think how the Russians would treat me if I went to visit Moscow,

So have a heart, mes amis. Start working for greater social justice for Trans-Napoleons such as myself!

Vive la France, vive l'empereur, vive la vieille garde.


GermanSausage wins the thread @13, for the pithiest parsing yet of the biological gender/social construct dichotomy. Well played, preferred-title-here!

In related news, @10: “Go pick up some trash...”

At which fine drinking establishment would you prefer to have Sportlandia meet you?


Motherhood has some---but comparatively few--- socially-constructed elements. Just about always and just about everywhere, "motherhood" is that state in which a woman conceives, carries her offspring within her uterus, gives birth and then feeds the infant with milk produced by her mammary glands. This is a specifically, quintessentially female experience, with specific hormonal, neurological, anatomical and physiological features forming a substantial and solid foundation upon which any society must "construct" whatever else it wishes motherhood or womanhood to mean.

This basic, biological reality is perfectly identifiable in every human population precisely because it is true of animals as well. Human beings are animals. There are the same number of hairs-per-inch on me as there are on a female gorilla. My XX chromosomes determined my sex in exactly the same way that my dog's XX chromosomes determined hers. That is the simplest, plainest biological reality.

Unless trans-activists believe---and are insisting the rest of us believe--- that human beings are not animals?

Aren't they, in fact, positing a different --but actually very old and, of course, religious---binary, the one that divides the body from the soul, and counts the soul (male, female, damned, saved) a passenger within the mere encompassing or imprisoning flesh?


@13 German Sausage: I second tensor's nominating you as winner of this thread. Well done!
@34 & @35 tabletop_joe: I agree. Well said.
@40 tensor: Thank you for beating to it. Bravo.


You can shut down the comments now - @38 wins.


Back in the 1970s when I was a teenager, I used to wonder about the long-term affect of widespread birth control use. The hormones go into the water, just like all the anti-depressants we pee out. It is becoming quite apparent that the hormones are indeed affecting the general population. Interesting social experiment. Grotesque but interesting.


The gender taxonomy is unnecessary and Herzog is just comment bait at this point (which i admit to fueling)


I fully agree with you about gender roles. They are largely imposed on us by society and are not inherent. But isn't saying you are not woman because you don't fit a feminine role kinda counter productive? It seems unfortunately implying that women are inherently feminine and if you are not you aren't a woman (which I think you agree is bullshit). Isn't that just strengthening those rules? If all people who reject gender roles identify as something else it isn't doing anything to get rid of those roles. To me it seems like creating just a new box beside the existing ones, when in my opinion the right way to go is to get rid of then altogether.


I fully agree with you about gender roles. They are largely imposed on us by society and are not inherent. But isn't saying you are not woman because you don't fit a feminine role kinda counter productive? It seems unfortunately implying that women are inherently feminine and if you are not you aren't a woman (which I think you agree is bullshit). Isn't that just strengthening those rules? If all people who reject gender roles identify as something else it isn't doing anything to get rid of those roles. To me it seems like creating just a new box beside the existing ones, when in my opinion the right way to go is to get rid of then altogether.


Thanks for writing this piece. There is so much regressive ideology surrounding modern gender politics. I really loved what you said about the nonbinary indentity being focused on making the individual feel better. I’m a lesbian college student and I’ve seen 4 people at my lgbtq club on campus go from identifying as lesbians to either being nonbinary or trans. There is still so much shame that lesbians and gnc women hold, and current lgbtq communities greatly encourage reidentifying without thinking critically about why one feels the need to do that. I don’t know what the future is right now....but it is concerning for sure...


@38 can go sit on Elba for awhile, better to contemplate the vast difference between "analogy" and "argument."


"They are largely imposed on us by society and are not inherent. "

Yes, we are blank slates. Evolutionary "science" is a myth created by white men to oppress us.

We are all spirit animals in continuous flux and can morph into any shape like. You just need faith.

Praise be.



"can go sit on Elba for awhile, better to contemplate the vast difference between "analogy" and "argument."

That was neither, that was satire.


There's at least 20 kids in my kid's grade at their Seattle high school who say they are trans. Out of 250 kids.

That's a transgender rate of about 8%, so essentially, about 7.9% of the grade are faking it.


" It is clear that the rise of rapid-onset gender dysphoria"

@54 Yep, when I was a kid you pierced your ears and dyed your hair, maybe got a mohawk and DMs. Now that parents do that for their kids there's no real way to rebel.

Enter the "Trendgenders".


And so LGTOW was reborn (like Laura Collins)?

Ms H is late to the party. One of the natural effects of a non-binary future will be the destruction of gay and lesbian. Oh, some people may still function in ways that look like those words, but the words themselves will have no meaning, and the identities will be erased, while heterosexuality is big enough to survive.


@45: Sorry, Skip, German Sausage and tabletop_joe still get my vote for best said comments in this thread.


@53: “That was neither, that was satire.”

Po-TAY-to, po-tah-to.


It’s very telling, Katie, of your transphobia, that you passively undermine people’s identity by lowering it to a fashion choice or a convenient escape pod from oppression. Shame on you and your nasty angular tactics. The frontline of your battle is instagram nipples and t-shirt slogans—what a warrior for womxn you are.

“Identifying as nonbinary is a fix for the individual, not for the whole, and I’m not sure how, in the long run, that helps anyone.”

You got one thing right, Katie; YOU ARE NOT SURE. How could you be? I mean you’re making gross assertions about the lives of people you don’t have a shred of empathy for. Go away.


@59: "you passively undermine people’s identity by lowering it to a fashion choice or a convenient escape pod from oppression."

What is identity, then? If it's neither of those things, how would you describe it?


De-transitioned re-transitioned assigned female at birth non-binary person with some nuance here. I rarely agree with social justice warriors or identify politics and I’ve pretty much escaped that entire cult. I’m still non-binary though. And I’ll explain why.

A lot of people don’t really understand what it means to be non-binary, even a lot of non-binary people and especially non-binary people who primarily hear about it on the internet. I didn’t even really understand it when I was 16 and came out as non-binary. I didn’t make a big deal out of it. I didn’t tell my parents or my teachers. I just used they/them in my queer activist circles which were just starting to become more common at the time, in 2010. I mostly dated butch cis women, and they were more or less accepting of me being non-binary. Hearing people call me they/them made me happy, for a short period of time, and then I started to feel like a fraud. To be honest, I didn’t feel trans, I just wanted to be normal. When I went to college I switched back to she/her pronouns because all I wanted was a boyfriend or a girlfriend. I also was keenly aware that the worse offense to be committed at a liberal/leftist college was appropriation and I wasn’t ready to dive head first into non-binary “aesthetics” (we can’t deny these exist). And lo and behold, I was actually sort of popular as a bisexual cis woman. And then the word femme happened in like, 2015.

Suddenly, everyone was femme. Femme became this weapon that could be used to trump any argument. This is from an insider prospective, it’s not hyperbole. And so, because my desire to be cis came from a need to be popular, I became femme as well. I tried my hardest. I bought a whole new wardrobe. And then femme could be a gender word too, so I thought, why not?

I went home for summer break. I met the love of my life, a lesbian woman much older than me, with zero ties to the lesbian community. We made our own community. As I realized that I would never be attracted to men again, I also started having feelings about my body that made me reconsider being cis. So here’s where I disagree with almost all snowflakes: they say gender is like an innate feeling. That being non-binary it’s necessary defined by the absence of being a man to woman, but by the presence of being non-binary. My experience was different in that fucking my girlfriend opened pathways in my brain that made me feel like while my body was congruous with my gender, that my body was going through a second (or a third) puberty. When I opened up to my girlfriend about this, at first she was super judgemental. She wasn’t a fan of non-binary people who didn’t “try” to transition traditionally, especially because she was attracted to me and also exclusively attracted to women. Eventually she accepted me being non-binary, because she loved me, and we’re still together.

The interesting part of my story is when I returned to college. I was non-binary. I was polyamorous and in a long distance relationship. I fucked women. I fucked a lot of women. This made people in our queer community very angry. When I was a meek little bisexual cis gender femme woman, I was non threatening. Suddenly I lost all my friends. You could be non-binary in a “leftist” space as long as you didn’t challenge the status quo. As long as you agreed with everyone about everything. As long as you understood all the unspoken rules of social justice spaces. And while I had been in the community for a long time, I still fucked up on occasion.

I graduated. I joined a non-binary support group, many members of which I’m sure will be discussing this article in the coming week. I liked it at first. There were seemingly less rules than my queer community in college. But as I started to get to know the senior members and organizers I observed a lot of homogeneity. Namely, non-binary feminine trans masculine people in their 20’s. There was definitely peer pressure to take testosterone. All the trans masc kids thought I was super hot too, which was weird, because I was exclusively attracted to women. So I started going to lesbian specific events and stealthing as cis. But who was I kidding? The lesbian community doesn’t exist anymore. You try looking for lesbian friends if you’re under the age of 30 and make minimum wage. I wish you luck.

My point is: non-binary people aren’t fake. But we’re also often times really bad feminists and really bad organizers. We can definitely be cultish. That being said, Katie, you should probably do a little bit more research into the nuance within the non-binary community about the issues you discussed in your article. We’re not all the same.


My read on the phrase “the future is nonbinary” is this: the future accommodates the recognition of more than two genders. This makes sense to me, as we know that there are (and have always been) people for whom neither of the two established gender categories are a good fit. I can’t see how it’s harmful to allow for language and labels that reflect this reality.


This article is infuriating. There are many valid criticisms of the phrase "The Future is Nonbinary," particularly how it erases people who have a binary experience of gender - that is not what this article is about.

Imagine, Ms. Herzog, if you had written the exact same piece, but about trans identities. I am certain your editors would consider it hate speech. Rightfully. Cis people do not have the right to dictate what other people's experiences of gender are. NO ONE has the right to tell someone that their gender identity is incorrect. How on earth could you possibly know how I, or anyone, experience my own gender and sexuality?

My nonbinary identity does not threaten femininity. I uphold women, as someone who has been seen, treated, and socialized as one. Policing people's appearances, implying that because someone, for instance, has a beard, that you question their experience of gender, is ignorant at best. Nonbinary identities have been well-documented throughout many cultures and throughout human history. Educate yourself. You are being hateful. Stranger, you have a responsibility to your readers to pay writers who know what the fuck they're talking about. There are many wonderful writers who are deserving of a public forum on gender issues and will not bundle outdated, hateful stereotypes in with their opinion pieces. You owe your (many) nonbinary readers an apology.


Eh, I'm a trans man, and I know a ton of nonbinary and they/them lesbians. I see the increase in they/them nonbinary folks who are part of the so-called "butch flight" as carrying the torch Leslie Feinberg has made most visible with hir writing and activism.
I should add that I was never butch or a lesbian; pre-transition I was living as a doe bisexual, (and I'm still a pretty fem dude.) I just like talking to people about complicated shit like our gender and sexuality. Not every nonbinary experience is the same, just as not every trans guys' experience is the same, just as not every cis woman's experience is the same.
There are definite issues with the view that nonbinary identity is a political stance, but I see much more productive conversations happening about that within the trans community than coming from cis people's hand-wringing about how it effects them personally. Working to disengage personal identity from political or moral rightness is a much more worthy project than asking someone to re-identify with their birth gender for political reasons, or asking them to identify as nonbinary as part of a political project to expand what gender is.


I believe all of this is the result of placing far too much emphasis on there being a rational interpretation to your feelings.

Can you really derive a factual identity from a subset of feelings? For instance, you can have a dream that you're another animal or another race or gender but all of that means little to what you actually are.

The same goes for watching movies - You identifying with a character doesn't make you that person. Heath Ledger wasn't the joker. He was portraying the character.


Do you have a Constant Contact or ChimpMail account so I can subscribe to your writing after FaceBook, Twitter, and Google ban The Stranger for blasphemy against the Fatherland?


Bruce, they do that around here via RSS.

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