Home Institution

Smith College

Publication Date

Fall 2019

Program Name

Netherlands: International Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender


This project examines butch and crossdresser communities in Northern Europe in the late 20th century, and their transformation into the non-binary movement of the last ten years. This research investigates the recent trajectory of gender-diverse communities and evaluates the role of the non-binary moment in the history of gender-diverse people in the Western world. Findings come from interviews with Dutch individuals who identify as non-binary, genderqueer, or otherwise outside of the gender binary, as well as periodicals and other materials related to crossdresser and butch identities from the IHLIA LGBT Heritage Archives and the Atria Institute. This study demonstrates that the non-binary movement represents a significant shift in communities of gender variance and an opening for gender liberation. While butch and crossdresser communities transgress binaries in important ways, the non-binary identity allows gender-diverse people in the Western world, for the first time in centuries, to have the freedom to imagine their identities beyond the categories of male and female.


Dutch Studies | Gender and Sexuality | History of Gender | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Politics and Social Change | Social and Cultural Anthropology


Article Location