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Gender Bender

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ZAP! Long hair included. (Not included: better posture.)

Ross: Help me out here. When you come out of the "brain transplant", you are going to be her?
Joey: Yes, but in Drake Remoray's body. Why is this so hard for you to get? I thought you were a scientist!
Friends, "The One with Joey's New Brain"

A character has undergone a complete physical sex change, usually through magic or Applied Phlebotinum. Depending on the medium, genre, and storyline, this may be a one-time temporary change, a recurring change (causing the character to jump the gender line often), or even permanent.

Sometimes it's the same person, sometimes it's a man and woman sharing one body. If a man and a woman swap bodies, it's a variant of "Freaky Friday" Flip. Male-to-female transformations tend to vastly outnumber the opposite when this trope is in play, probably due to Most Writers Are Male.

The trope can be played many different ways. It might be Played for Laughs, Played for Drama, or even played for horror if Loss of Identity or an unusual amount of Squick is involved.

For Laws related to this trope, see the First Law of Gender Bending, the Second Law of Gender-Bending, and the Third Law of Gender-Bending. Man, I Feel Like a Woman , Different for Girls, and Attractive Bent-Gender are also common enough that they approach the level of Law.

Contrast with Rule 63 and Gender Flip, two tropes generally related to "alternate" versions of characters who, In-Universe, have always had the "opposite" gender from what the audience would expect. She's a Man in Japan is basically "Gender Flip via Localization", where Executive Meddling results in a character's sex being changed to meet the perceived needs of another market. But as with the aforementioned tropes, Gender Bender characters who previously wore a distinctive outfit may wear a Gendered Outfit, tailored to their new sex, after the change.

For this trope's impact on relationships, see Unsettling Gender-Reveal, Jumping the Gender Barrier and Gender-Bender Friendship.

Can lead to a Mister Seahorse plotline, though not nearly as often as one might expect; when it does (especially when the First Law of Gender Bending is in play), it is often part of a Babies Ever After epilogue, rather than an active part of the story. It can also be a Karmic Transformation if a misogynistic man is turned into a woman; compare Color Me Black.

Contrast with Transgender and Hermaphrodite, which are real-life phenomena (though on rare occasions, a Gender Bender character might turn into a hermaphrodite instead of, strictly speaking, the "opposite sex"; also, Gender Bender stories can intersect with transgender characters, by having someone transition unexpectedly by magic, or have the experience of being gender-changed bring a transgender character out of denial. Not to mention all the possibilities of using Gender Bender stories as metaphors for transgender identity...). Also contrast with Easy Sex Change, which deals with idealized but somewhat realistic takes on the Transgender experience. Compare Reincarnated as the Opposite Sex, where someone is born in their next life as the opposite sex. Not related to Was Once a Man.

If the character belongs to a species that does this as a regular thing or explicitly has a superpower that grants them that same property, see Sex Shifter.

Note that the definition of "gender" being used here (and in most TV Tropes trope names) refers to both a character's physical sex and their gender identity with the female version of the character almost always being more extensively gender-coded than the male version. This may lead to a Sobriquet Sex Switch.

Finally, in accordance with the aforementioned Laws, as well as certain demographic reasons, male-to-female changes are far more likely than female-to-male ones, and the rare female-to-male ones are usually less susceptible to the Three Laws of Gender Bending.

In social justice circles, this trope is criticized for its implication that sex and gender are the same thing, as well as for excluding non-binary people. Others find it good as an exploration of gender's fluidity.

Though this trope has been used in media for decades, the name most likely came from the season one episode of The X-Files of the same name that features murderous beings that can change their sex at will to seduce their victims.

Not to be confused with Animal Gender-Bender, which deals with putting sex specific animal features on both genders.

Compare also with Racial Transformation, in which a character's apparent race is changed in-universe.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

    open/close all folders 

  • In one Mountain Dew commercial, a guy finds out his car remote can transform objects. Since he just broke up with his girlfriend, he conveniently uses it to turn his best friend into a hot girl. The implications of said commercial are very disturbing.
  • A series of Italian "Coloured is better" laundry commercials play this as a joke. The first has a woman throwing her pencil-necked white partner into the washing machine after he fails to seduce her, and he emerges as a sexy, muscled black man. The second has her partner throw her in after comparing her to models in a gentleman's magazine — and she emerges as a sexy, muscled black man.
  • There are two commercials for Snickers, each featuring a rather cranky Aretha Franklin amongst a group of young men. Annoyed by her, they tell her that every time she gets hungry, she turns into a diva, and offer her a Snickers bar. After taking the first bite, it turns out that she is a young man too, who literally turned into a diva. In fact, the campaign started with a Super Bowl spot where a guy turns into Betty White.
    • There have been quite a few of these during the Snickers "You're not you when you're hungry" campaign. One of the funniest involved The Brady Bunch, with Marcia as Danny Trejo and Jan as Steve Buscemi.
  • In a 2014 Doritos commercial three men are watching football while sharing a bag of Doritos. They discover that biting down on a Dorito while making a wish makes said wish come true. The first man ends up with a sack full of gold coins, the second having his father tell him he's proud of him and the third turns into a beautiful blonde woman. Interestingly the ad makes it clear that this isn't the result of a wish going wrong or someone else's wish, with the woman coming across as very satisfied with the results.

    Card Games 
  • Munchkin includes at least one Gender Bender card in each iteration, and sometimes two! (Might come in handy if you're a low-level and poorly-geared male facing a deadly Amazon!)

    Comic Books 
  • In the second issue of Bodie Troll, Bodie uses magic lipstick to turn into a human girl.
  • Lucifer, in Joseph Michael Linsner's Dawn series, has been shown at least once to be able to take on a female form. Considering he is a former angel and the gay lover of Ahura Mazda (the series' God analogue), this has some interesting potential ramifications.
  • The DCU:
    • In Shade, the Changing Man, Shade's consciousness leaps into the body of a recently murdered woman. Unfortunately, he was unable to alter her body to resemble his old one until he solved her murder and put her soul at rest. This led to various comical scenes with Shade experiencing the Male Gaze, his first period and sex as a woman.
    • The second Infinity, Inc.. series, from the writer of Shade, Peter Milligan, featured team member Fury, who involuntarily switches between genders.
    • In Resurrection Man, title character Mitch Shelley spends a couple of issues as a woman, after being tortured to death several times (with each time being more painful than the last). His persecutor has a theory (opinions differ as to the amount of Truth in Television therein):
      Mr. Bland: Women have appreciably higher pain thresholds than men. If Shelley reconfigures from each termination in a form suited to "protect" him from that method of death, then a female version would make sense.
    • In Superman/Batman #27, the Earth-2 version of Superman finds himself in the body of his cousin Power Girl, while the Earth-2 Batman is in the body of his daughter, the Huntress.
    • In one issue of Guy Gardner: Warrior, the title character's demonic archenemy Dementor turns him into a woman ("Gal Gardner") for no clear reason, and later forces him/her to perform a fashion show for it by threatening hostages it has. (It would be highly cynical to suggest that the real reason was that, at the time, Guy was a rare example of a male character in a Stripperiffic costume, so naturally they wanted to show what it looked like on a female character.)
    • In Legion of Super-Heroes stories, the trope has been used several times:
      • Played for Drama in an infamous Retcon that long-time supporting character Shvaughn Erin had been taking the gender-changing drug "ProFem" the entire time we'd known her. After going off the drug, she becomes "Sean."
      • "Grandin Gender Reversal Disease" causes a temporary change of gender. It temporarily transforms Matter-Eater Lad into Matter-Eater Lass as part of an infiltration mission.
      • Played for Laughs in a very silly Legion of Substitute Heroes one-shot, when Color Kid becomes Color Queen.
    • Averted/Misdiagnosed once by Ambush Bug in Supergirl (1982) #16. The Bug spends most of the story trying to cure Superman of the dastardly plot that transformed him into a young blonde woman. Despite his Genre Savviness, he somehow was completely unaware of the existence of SuperGIRL. He does, however, turn out to be Genre Savvy enough to figure out Supergirl's secret identity at the end.
    • Zatanna's beautiful assistant Mikey is the result of an unspecified magical Gender Bender. A "three years ago" dream sequence, depicts her as a burly male.note  Word of God from writer Paul Dini says "Zatanna didn't do it & can't reverse it; Mikey brought it on him/herself. Now Mikey's in an interesting place where she has to sort out her feelings about this." While there's a lot more to Mikey's story, with the book's cancellation, it doesn't seem likely that the story will be told any time soon, if ever. At the very least, Mikey does exhibit all three laws of gender bending to various degrees. Aside from her transformation which is said to be irreversible, Mikey has learned to live as a woman to a point; her fashion sense and personality remain very masculine, but she's not opposed to having to dress or active more feminine if need be.
    • In a 1960 Superboy story, "Claire Kent: Super-Sister," Superboy is turned into a girl by a telepathic alien girl from a matriarchal planet who's insulted by Superboy's chauvinistic thoughts. Superboy has to adjust to being a girl in both his secret and super identities... but in the end, it turns out to be All Just a Dream.note 
    • Believe it or not, Superboy's dog, Krypto, had not one, but two Red Kryptonite Gender Bender adventures!
      • "The Handsome Hound of Steel" has a plot that wouldn't be at all out of place in modern TG fiction. Krypto wants to change into a handsome collie to impress a female collie, but a Red K cloud ends up turning Krypto into a duplicate of the bitch he fancies — and it turns out she's pregnant! Krypto actually delivers puppies in his altered form (though they vanish from existence when he changes back to normal.)note 
      • In Superman Family #165: "Krypto's Three Amazing Transformations", a time-traveling Krypto gets turned into a cow (and definitely a female, because she gets milked!) And not just any cow, but the cow that started the great Chicago fire of 1871! (As it happens, the wrongly accused Mrs. O'Leary's cow was innocently grazing in a pasture at the time.)note 
    • Given its premise (a dial that transforms its user into a random superheroic identity), you'd think this trope would have turned up in Dial H for Hero more often than this:
      • In the Chris King/Vicki Grant series, it showed up once, albeit in circuitous fashion. The dial turned Chris into a hero named "Any-Body" — a hero with shapeshifting powers that Chris used to take the form of Naiad, a villainess, in order to trick another bad guy.
      • One storyline in the 2003-2005 H.E.R.O. revival had a chauvinistic male character use the dial, after which he turned into a buxom blonde female hero. Unfortunately he had no means of changing himself back. The story was not played for laughs, and included such low points as the hero being date-raped by his male best friend.
      • The New 52's Dial H series introduces this concept in the third issue, when the main character learns he'll land in a female body "every few dials."
      • In the 2019 series, when Miguel is split into four SuperMiguels, one of them (the one based on the Eradicator) is female.
    • In The Sandman (1989), Desire can be either gender whenever it wants to be and is frequently depicted with both male and female traits. In its first appearance, Desire greatly resembles another being who is "whatever it wants to be": Gozer from Ghostbusters.
    • Wonder Woman (1987): The kreel are naturally gender benders, able to transition late in their lives, which is part of how they would naturally procreate as it was common for entire generations to be born one sex so some would have to change in order for there to be any children. This has been suppressed for centuries under the Sangtee Empire with reproduction now enabled by cloning.
    • In the later parts of The Books of Magic, Timothy Hunter himself spends several issues in the form of a girl, thanks to an amulet that once belonged to his mother. Unlike many examples of the trope, he doesn't even find it remotely freaky to suddenly be of the opposite sex, just viewing it as a handy way to disguise his real identity (but then, this is hardly the first time he's changed shape, or had his shape changed for him, and most of the changes were decidedly freakier — at least this time he is still human, walks on two legs and can wear normal clothes). Since he looks like a younger version of his mother, he adopts the name "Mary". Tim even responds positively to Charles Rowland (of the Dead Boy Detectives) flirting with him as "Mary" in a Winter's Edge story.
  • Fables: In Cinderella: Fables Are Forever, Ivan Durak turns out to be Dorothy Gale in disguise.
  • Once, when Groo the Wanderer was The Most Intelligent Man in the World, he accidentally got most of his supporting cast thrown into prison (it's a long story). Arba and Dakarba have enough magic to transform everyone in the dungeon into ducks, but it takes Pal to suggest that a dungeon full of beautiful women might be more useful for actually escaping.
  • Monster Girl from Invincible is, well, a girl who can turn into a monster — a MALE monster. She's even fathered a son in monster form.
  • Judge Dredd: When America Jara died, her lover Bennet Beeny had his brain transplanted to America's body so that he could continue to be with her. Additionally, he had used his old body to impregnate America's, so that he ended up giving birth to his own daughter.
  • In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Tiresias' youngest daughter, Bio/Bion/Vita/Vito/Roland/Orlando, began to develop this ability at the age of ten.
  • In the comic Locke & Key, by Stephen King's son Joe Hill, one (of many) magic keys can open doors and allow whoever steps through them to swap genders.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • In Ultimate Spider-Man, Jessica Drew, Spider-Woman, is the end result of the Ultimate Clone Saga. She is a clone of Peter Parker, implanted with his memories and genetically modified in vitro to be female and develop additional powers. During the Clone Saga she fills the same role as Ben Riley did in the 616 Clone Saga. Afterwards she assumed the CIA/FBI created identity of Jessica Drew and returned to active crime fighting as Spider-Woman. She confessed that along with inheriting Peter's memories, she is still in love with Mary Jane Watson.
    • X-Men examples:
      • Supporting character Courier has the power of complete control of his body's cells, allowing for shapeshifting as well as other abilities. While undercover as a woman, he was discovered by Mr. Sinister and injected with drugs that would cause his body to break down. Gambit made a deal with Sinister to have Courier stabilized, and Sinister kept up his end of the bargain — but didn't know Courier was originally male. The female form is now Courier's default form.
      • Due to a consciousness transfer to a cloned body gone slightly askew, Sinister himself is now Miss Sinister.
      • And now Misters Sinister. And then back to a Miss, this time in a stolen body. At this point Sinister is more of a consciousness that occupies whatever body (or bodies) it needs.
      • Endo of Death of Wolverine: The Weapon X Project and Wolverines is introduced as a Chinese woman named Meifeng when Sharp frees her from the Paradise installation. It's eventually revealed that she was actually a man before Paradise got hold of her, and the boyfriend/fiance she's been desperate to locate after escaping is not only dead, but was actually his girlfriend.
    • Alpha Flight member Walter Langkowski spent several years as "Wanda," due to having possessed a dead female teammate's body.
    • Iron Man is even subjected to this; his armor (which, at this point, is partially fused with his body) gets hijacked by Ultron and reshaped into the image of Janet van Dyne, Ultron's "mother". After it's undone, the entire Mighty Avengers team teases him about it.
    • The Skrulls are a race of shapeshifters. Skrulls changing into other genders have been seen from their very first appearance (the four Skrulls that attempted to replace the Fantastic Four were all male). It's just that nobody had noticed the detail or thought on it until the example below.
    • One obvious application of the Skulls' inherent ability didn't come to light (at least, in canon) until the male Skrull Xavin turned up in Runaways and asked for Karolina's hand in marriage. Karolina, being a lesbian, refused... until Xavin transformed into a female human, because for a Skrull to change his/her physical sex is as easy as blinking. While the psychological ease with which Xavin shifted his/her gender identity to match her new sex still seems to be fairly rare (most other named Skrull characters seem to have a strong preference to not change their sex even when disguising themselves as other species), it's apparently also not seen as any big deal in Skrull society.
    • Loki of The Mighty Thor spent some time in a female body (eventually revealed to be that of the goddess Sif); he eventually returned to his usual body.
      • In Loki's solo book, while male most of the time, they can and do flip gender at will. They spent weeks in female form infiltrating Lorelei's band of thieves, then a few issues later flipped genders AGAIN to gain the trust of the Angels, in an all-female society, and didn't bother to switch back for the rest of the miniseries. Odin even refers to them as his child who is both his son and daughter at least on two occasions. This continues in the jerks next solo book too, complete with a character joking about Loki becoming America's first female president.
    • Invoked in Captain America storyline, "The Superia Stratagem". Supervillain Superia plans to establish "Femizonia" — a female-ruled utopia from which she will Take Over the World. Captain America and his allies infiltrate her base to stop her, but Cap and Paladin are captured at one point, and subjected to Superia's feminization process. (She believes that, as women, the heroes will see the light and join her cause.) The two male heroes are rescued before the process does anything to them, however.
    • Good Boy of the Great Lakes Avengers is a girl named Good who transforms into a masculine wolf.
    • In The Infinity Gauntlet, Adam Warlock goes through a Journey to the Center of the Mind Vision Quest in which he is turned female, culminating with her giving birth.
  • An example from French Comics appears in Paulette by Georges Wolinski and Georges Pichard (1970): the old Joseph, a clochard that saved the eponymous protagonist, is suddenly magically transformed in a stunningly attractive brunette (with the same age of the blonde Paulette) and becomes her companion in a ton of misadventures. Though now Joseph is very younger, healthier and in a better physical shape, she is absolutely not pleased to be female, she has still the mindset of an old clochard (with a little bit of mischief added) and she talks frequently as a veteran of the First World War (still in a very female and young body). She likes to repeat "I could be your grandpa" and similar other sentences. Also naked. We have to punctuate that this comic is a hurricane of Fanservice. At the end of the first adventure with Paulette, Joseph is able to become the old man again: however he has a ton of photos and Pin Up of his nude stunning female self (with dedication... to Joseph!) When Paulette is kidnapped again, Joseph is transformed definitively in the brunette and forced to be involved in Paulette's endless surreal misadventures.
  • In Alan Moore's Promethea, Roger, a member of the supporting character team "the Five Swell Guys". Roger used to be a man until an unseen incident at "Suffragette City" turned him into a woman. Roger's original form was never depicted in the comic.
  • In the Archie Comics story "The Great Switcheroo", Sabrina the Teenage Witch's cat Salem casts a spell that changes the sex of everybody in Riverdale. The story plays a bit like a Gender Flip in execution, as none of the transformed characters know what their "true" sex is supposed to be, but it "really" happened, and Sabrina's eventual reversal spell isn't actually a Reset Button. There's even video evidence suggesting that the gang spent a day as the opposite sex, though none of them remember it.note 
  • Issue 6 of IDW's Samurai Jack comic sees Jack reuniting with his old friend, the Scotsman... who's been turned into a woman by mischievous leprechauns for wrecking their fairy circle. The leprechauns strike a bargain with Jack to turn the Scotsman back to normal... but as they're sealing the deal they turn Jack into a woman too, apparently because they thought it would be funny.
    • In another issue, there's a story where Jack meets a beautiful Geisha archeress. The two travel together, and Jack begins to fall for her... only to wipe some of her makeup off to reveal pitch black underneath. "She" then transforms into Aku, who mocks Jack before leaving. And this wasn't even the first time he's done this, though at least Aku had a reason for it beyond tormenting Jack.
  • Mighty Man of The Savage Dragon is an ancient entity passed from host to host at the point of death. The current host is female Ann Stevens (or New's complicated) - the host, regardless of their sex, is able to transform into a tall blonde man with Flying Brick powers, by tapping their wrists together.
  • When IDW comics started their Transformers comic, it was decided that there would only be male Cybertronians. When they decided to include female transformer Arcee into the universe, they decided not to retcon their decision, and so they made Arcee the victim of a forced alteration by a Mad Scientist specifically to introduce gender to the race. She's understandably pissed off about it.
    • This later got retconned into being a purposeful change on Arcee's part, it's just the torture and other experiments at the same time she objected to. Additionally, other cybertronians who transitioned on purpose after being introduced to the concept have been introduced.
  • Another French example would be Une Femme dans la Peau or Johanna about the middle-aged lecherous Antoine, who gets hit by a bus. (He was distracted.) A mad Nazi scientist transplants his mind into the dead body of a beautiful girl who died of an overdose. Now, Antoine has to deal with being a blonde bombshell, trying to get enough cash to survive (he ends up taking a job as a pinup girl, because of course), and having to dodge the scientist's elderly Nazi-Remnant chums and stop them from using the procedure in a two-for-one Fountain of Youth/World Domination plot.
  • At the end of the XXXenophile story "Vici, Vidi, Veni", an army invades territory that worships a god of lust, believing him to be a farce, and everybody in their empire gets turned into frogs. The smirking god asks the sole unchanged knight whether he now believes, and the survivor says yes. As a reward for the "conversion", he's promptly turned into a woman and made an acolyte of the god, being led off to the novice quarters (and, implicitly, hot lesbian sex).
  • Youngblood:
    • In 1995, Image Comics decided to cash in on their "target demographic" by temporarily turning many of their heroes into heroines, a period known as "Extreme Babewatch". This event started in Youngblood, where Glory's nemesis Diablolique takes revenge on her enemy (and on men as a whole) by changing every man Glory had ever met into a woman. The event lasted only a month and didn't have much to carry on plot wise, but it occurred through much of image's then-current lines, dramatically raising the amount of fanservice. As was the point.
    • In the 2012 relaunch, Photon, formerly a male character, becomes Lady Photon. Their race apparently switches genders every seven years.

    Comic Strips 

    Fairy Tales 
  • In the Albanian story "The Girl Who Became a Boy", uh... well, Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Similar to Mulan, a girl pretends to be a boy to give her family honor. After adventures and even getting married, she gets cursed into changing gender. This is surprisingly congruent with Albanian culture. The practice is dwindling now, but Albanian girls could swear themselves to celibacy and be considered men socially. This was often done to make sure there would be a "male" head of the household.
  • An odd bit of folklore claims that kissing one's own elbow will cause a person to change sexes. (Did you just try it? It works!) No it doesn't — it's impossible to kiss one's own elbow. And before anyone asks, it wouldn't work if your arm isn't connected to your body.

    Films — Animation 
  • Technically in Spies in Disguise, Lance is turned not only into a pigeon, but into a female one which he and Walter (the genius who developed the transformation formula) realise when Lance lays an egg - the DNA sample had been taken from Walter's female pet pigeon Lovey. This is why Walter was having trouble with developing an antidote, he hadn't figured this variable into the equation. Lance does still have a male speaking voice as a pigeon as he retains his own Will Smith tones.

  • The titular character of Blue Öyster Cult's Imaginos and its sequel often shapeshifts into (among many other forms) his female persona of Desdinova the foreign minister. She narrates both the opening track of the first album and its most famous song overall, "Astronomy".
  • The video for "Bye Bye Beautiful" flips almost at random between portraying Nightwish and Nightwish-as-a-Girl Group (starting as the latter), with then-lead singer Annette Olzon the only member staying the same in both versions.
  • The Sarah Brightman song "Madam Hyde", inspired by The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, puts a new spin on the story by having Dr. Jekyll turn into a woman after drinking a magic cocktail.

    Myths & Religion 
  • There are several instances of gender bending in Greek Mythology, all of which are Older Than Feudalism.
    • The prophet Tiresias was (in one version of his story) transformed into a woman by the goddess Hera as punishment for killing a pair of mating snakes. After spending seven years as a woman, he encountered another pair of snakes at the same spot and (either by killing them or leaving them alone) was changed back into a man. In some versions of the story, he continued to change sexes every seven years for the rest of his life. As a result of Tiresias's unique experience, Zeus and Hera later called upon him to settle an argument over which gender experiences more pleasure during sex (as he alone had experienced it from both perspectives). Tiresias sided with Zeus, stating that women enjoy it more; Hera's response to that is why he became known as "the blind prophet".
    • In his Metamorphoses Ovid wrote of Iphis, a daughter of Telethusa and Ligdus, who Ligdus had said — when Telethusa was pregnant — he would kill if born a girl. The goddess Isis told Telethusa to bring Iphis up as a boy, and Iphis eventually fell in love with a woman — Ianthe. So Isis turned Iphis into a man. They lived Happily Ever After.
    • Poseidon raped Caenis, but afterwards offered to grant her a wish. She wished to become a man so that she would never be raped again. He granted her wish, and as a bonus, made her invulnerable to weapons. The new man renamed himself Caeneus and became a fierce warrior. He was eventually killed by being crushed to death under a pile of tree trunks and rocks. In some versions, he became a woman again in the Underworld.
    • The other Metamorphoses, by Antoninus Liberalis, has a chapter about Leucippus, which is basically Ovid's story of Iphis with Ianthe Adapted Out, Leto replacing Isis, and all the other characters' names changed.
      It briefly mentions four other gender-bending myths: The first two are the aforementioned Caenis/Caeneus and Tiresias. The third is a version of Mestra and Erysichthon (here called Hypermestra and Aethon) where the former worked as a prostitute as a woman and used her shapeshifting to become a man who could perform harder labor. The fourth, mentioned by no other other classical source and possibly invented by Liberalis himself, is the Cretan boy Siproites. He is an expy of Actaeon, a hunter who walked in on the goddess Artemis bathing, but instead of being turned into an animal and killed, his punishment is to be turned into a woman.
  • Hindu Mythology
    • In the Mahabharata, Shikandin, the reincarnation of Amba, was born specifically in order to kill Bhishma. He was born as a girl but was brought up as a boy due to Prophecy Twist. He exchanged his female body with a Yaksha and was turned into a man.
    • The God Vishnu turned temporarily into a beautiful woman called Mohini in order to seduce the demons away from eating nectarine that would lead to immortality. He coyly teased them about it, transformed back to his original self and gave the pot to the gods.
  • Norse Mythology is full of this trope:
    • The gods hired a contractor to build their heavenly city. They let him name his price after he did the work, he asked for the goddess of love's hand in marriage, and the sun and moon to boot (it's unclear if he meant the gods Sól and Máni, or the actual celestial objects). He was a giant, with a giant horse, so they had to distract the horse and get him outa town. How'd they distract the horse? Why, by having the trickster god Loki, noted male, transform into a hot mare, of course! Loki actually got pregnant from this and bore the eight-legged horse, Sleipnir, who Odin nicked to be his warhorse. Loki didn't mind, presumably wanting to drown the memories in mead as quickly as possible and never see a reminder again. Another version of the myth has the Giant getting Odin's wife if the work is completed by a certain date, and Loki distracts the Giant's horse as above to delay the work past the due date so she doesn't have to pay up.
    • In the myth where Loki invades the gods' banqueting hall to insult them all, he and Odin both charge the other with having turned into a woman — a real woman, who had borne a child and nursed it.
  • Happens in a rare myth of Guanyin, the Chinese interpretation of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, who is recognized as almost exclusively female due to a mixture with his/her own Tara and some fertility goddesses (although Avalokiteshvara truly appears only in 4 of his 32 incarnations as female). It is connected with a school of Shaolin, there, Guanyin changes into a man for the sake of the group and later is "allowed" to stay that way.
  • In the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas:
    Simon Peter said to them: "Let Mary go away from us, for women are not worthy of life."
    Jesus said: "Look, I will draw her in so as to make her male, so that she too may become a living male spirit, similar to you."
    (But I say to you): "Every woman who makes herself male will enter the kingdom of heaven." (Gospel of Thomas, Saying 114)

    Pro Wrestling 
  • A sex change is part of Bio Monster DNA's backstory in FMW, as deciding being a woman wasn't for him, the process to turn him back into a man went wrong and instead made him a human spider hybrid.
  • Conversed at the unsanctioned RoH A Night Of Hoopla where Bobby Fish told former ring crew member Cheeseburger he had a better chance of growing a vagina than beating reDRagon.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Cthulhutech has a First Order (low level) spell of the Transmogrification style called "Beckon the Unexpressed". Its other names are Aphrodite's Touch and Gender Bender, which sums it up fairly well. By magically "tweaking" the target on a chromosomal level, the target switches gender in a painless fashion over a period of three days. The ritual is legal (though it requires a permit), and implicitly a person "switched" in this manner is fully functional in their new role — the spell has replaced surgery for gender reassignment. Because the ritual only requires an effigy of the target and not the target's actual presence, it's noted that immature occultists like to use it for pranks. Especially in college. As well as merely switching men to women and vice versa (the change is permanent, but easily undone with a second spell), casters with sufficient occult skill and knowledge of physical medicine can use this spell to create different varieties of fully functional gender ambiguities (people with the body of one sex and the reproductive organs of the other, or a "true" hermaphrodite with the body of one sex and the organs of both).
  • Dungeons & Dragons examples:
    • The "Girdle of Femininity/Masculinity" is a magic item dating back to AD&D. It changes the wearer's sex. In later editions, it often brought some distaste due to being referred to as "cursed" with some trans fans questioning why, though once it's pointed out that it forcibly changes the wearer's gender, or outright removed it, the derision stopped. It is also far easier to return from the dead than to reverse this curse. The single most powerful spell in the game has only a 50% chance of reversing it.
    • The Changeling race from Eberron can change appearance at will, including gender (or become genderless/hermaphrodite). They do tend to have a basic sexual identity developed during childhood, but any changeling can still procreate as either gender.
    • Most shapechanging magic (such as alter self) allows the caster to choose the gender of the assumed form, along with more typical alterations such as height and build.
    • Many "random" magic effects in D&D include involuntary sex change as one possible result. Wild Mages in particular tend to suffer from it.
    • The infamous Tomb of Horrors has this as a result of one of the many, many traps, with the added bonus of alignment reversal.
    • In the third-party supplement The Book of Erotic Fantasy, there is a sex-change spell, oh-so aptly-named reverse gender, with the memorable flavor text "I'm a girl! I'm a girl! I'm a... no, wait, let me check." It is often combined with permanency to make the change permanent. However, it will be turned off in an Anti-Magic field.
    • Forgotten Realms has a special spell for this, that was repeatedly used in the Elminster Saga novels, though didn't make it into sourcebooks. Eilistraee used to allow this as an option for her rare male priests (being a female used to be the only way to truly feel her divine dance, which is needed to become a cleric). However, males can freely become priests of Eilistraee after her return, post-Sundering/5e. Mystra at least sometimes does this too, though her high-ranked servants are likely to shapeshift into lots of forms either way while going about their usual business.
    • Greyhawk got Zagig's gender shift spell introduced in Dragon #270. 3rd level, but unlike alter self it remains until dispelled or negated.
    • Several creatures (exactly which depends on the edition) have the ability to change into other forms. Some of these, such as that of several dragon types, are generic enough in what those alternate forms can be that it is possible to shift gender with them — of course, it usually comes with the requirement to change into a different kind of creature as well.
    • Corellon Larethian, the patron god of the elves, has long had this ability as an obscure bit of lore dating back to his first appearance. It was basically trivia for most of D&D's lifespan, serving mainly as a way to reinforce the elfeminate trope, but in 5th edition, it was made more prominent by adding the existence of a minority of elves having the ability to voluntarily shift genders once a day if they wish, a trait referred to as "The Blessing of Corellon", since it's believed to indicate special favor from the elf god. Unless they're drow, in which case they have to learn to hide the ability really fast or they'll be murdered for being a threat to the rigid gender roles of drow society.
    • 5th Edition gives kobolds the ability to involuntarily change gender as a result of having a severe imbalance in the male/female ratio of a warren due to attack by monsters or adventurers. As kobolds are reptilian humanoids that lay eggs and lack any form of sexual dimorphism, they see this as just a thing that happens.
  • Similarly, Eclipse Phase has the "Sex switch" augmentation that allows one to change sex at will, but the transformation takes a week. For some reason, it only takes a day in a healing vat to permanently switch sexes.
  • Exalted
    • The Lunar Exalted have access to a charm which allows them to change sex at will. Their God/Patron Luna, who's typically identified as female, enjoys the same power, and sometimes appears as a man or a pregnant boy.
    • Alchemical Exalted have a charm that allows them to shift their physical appearance, allowing them to be males, females, and even hermaphrodites or sexless. Since they are sterile in any case, however, the changes are purely cosmetic.
    • With Sidereal Martial Arts, it's possible to make someone switch genders by punching them.
    • If a Primordial's central soul is killed, the Primordial's personality and form undergo drastic reconfiguration, akin to Doctor Who-style regeneration. In at least one case, this included a change in gender; the male Primordial known as He Who Bleeds the Unknown Word became the female Elloge, the Sphere of Speech.
    • Finally, there's an artefact known as the Stone of Gender Transformation, that allows the user to change their gender.
  • Forsooth! has a theme table that lists this as a possible theme. It's no wonder considering the game's inspiration.
  • In GURPS, "Hermaphromorph" is a cheap (5 point) Advantage that allows a character to change sex at will.
  • Mekton Zeta cites this as a sample use of the "Special Effect Weapon" Stupid Mekton Trick.
  • In the Old and New World of Darkness:
    • Mage: The Awakening:
      • The Legacy known as the Daksha become Hermaphrodites after a certain degree of initiation, but also have the ability to shift between a male and female form as they see fit (although they will generally consider the hermaphrodite form their true one). They do this because they believe it is the mark of their superiority.
      • Mages talented in the Life Arcanum can change sex (along with any other physical traits) and Masters of Life can do this for others. However, living bodies naturally resist magical influence, so the spell needs to be periodically renewed.
    • As of second edition, the Werewolves of Werewolf: The Forsaken can switch sex at will using an ability nearly identical to that of the Lunar Exalted described above, with more or less the same justification.
    • The Galloi of Vampire: The Requiem are a Nosferatu bloodline who exchange their freakish ugliness for eerie, androgynous beauty and whose most powerful members can bestow a Gender Bender through Blood Magic. If the recipient is sufficiently dedicated, the change becomes permanent.
    • Some Flesh Shintai powers in Vampire: The Masquerade's Kindred of the East allow the user to change gender; one, Gender Change, from the Thrashing Dragon Dharma book, does it by repurposing various parts of your anatomy so it resembles the other gender's - e.g., for a male-to-female transformation, the reproductive tract comes from large intestine and muscles.
  • Pathfinder:
    • The Elixir of Sex Changing is a relatively cheap way to change one's biological sex; unlike similar magic, it only works on a consenting subject, is permanent, and can't be Dispelled. One NPC in the Wrath of the Righteous adventure path is mentioned to have undergone gender reassignment with the potion.
    • The game includes Dungeons & Dragons' Girdle of Opposite Gender, whose sex-changing effect is framed as a Curse and lasts until Dispelled.
    • The Harrow Deck of Many Things Cards of Power include a "Clone" card, which, when drawn at random, causes the drawer to change sexes.
    • There is also Anderos salve and Mulibrous tincture, though they only work on secondary sex characteristics (so not gentialia) they are much cheaper (5gp each) but require twice per week use over the course of months to show full results. Anderos salve makes the user more masculine, Mulibrous tincture makes the user more feminine and together they make the user androgynous. The changes become permanent after 6 months.
  • Scion has an Epic Appearance perk mentioned in the God rulebook, that allows the Scion to change everything about his/her body, including gender, and becoming a hermaphrodite. They're even fully fertile.
  • Shadowrun: Generally averted; while the setting offers fully functional sex change procedures, this is usually for genuine transgender people rather than this trope. However, notable shadowrunner and Conspiracy Theorist Plan 9 has had so many sex change operations, switching back and forth from male to female, that they claim they can't remember what they started out as anymore.
  • In the Animesque Tabletop Game Teenagers from Outer Space, the Boy/Girl Gun is a standard item, and one alien power replicates the effect on the user. It's probably best to not speculate about the non-standard items.
  • Twilight Sparkle's Secret Shipfic Folder has four cards that change a pony's gender (although one is titled Rule 63 and another has the name Dude Looks Like a Lady so this could be half subverted).
  • Unknown Armies provides players with at least three permanent ways to magically change their character's sex, a few more temporary methods, and several canonical one-off accidents. In addition, since the game is set in the Present Day, gender-reassignment surgery is also available — and explicitly necessary for correcting some magical accidents.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, the Chaos God Slaanesh typically uses the pronoun "He". However, he in fact is neither male nor female yet both at the same time (the Eldar who created hir use "She Who Thirsts"). He assumes whatever form the person viewing him would find most attractive, which means that he can either be a fully functioning male, female, hermaphrodite or whatever else a person finds attractive at any given time. His traditional form is a weird sort of hermaphrodite, being split down the middle vertically as a woman on the right side of the body and a man on the left. The same goes for his/her breeds of daemon, including the more animalistic ones, and the cultists s/he shows favor to.

    Web Animation 
  • One skit in the eleventh asdfmovie has a man telling a crying boy that "boys don't cry"; the crying boy then spontaneously grows breasts, as if changing into a girl.
  • There's an episode of Bee and Puppycat where Bee turns into a boy named Bird.
  • In Dad Enlightenment, Hank changes into Heather, a pale female version of himself, at one point.
  • Dingo Doodles this briefly happens to side character Mr Wizardly when he touches main character Sips's who cursed arm - which inflicts a Random Effect Spell on anyone who makes even the slightest skin contact, becoming Mrs Wizardly. Sips was unconscious at the time and assumed Wizardly was trans and had decided to magically transition and congratulates Wizardly on coming out. Wizardly has a male gender identity however and reverses the spell off screen by the next time he appears.
  • Grim Reaper Flag-chan!: One episode has everybody in the world swap genders which causes chaos, but Mobuo has no problems with his new gender (that is until he gets periods).
  • Homestar Runner: In the Strong Bad Email "different town", Strong Bad explains what he would do if he could make Free Country USA different in any way he wanted. These changes range from the plausible (like the King of Town being stuck in a box of peas, Coach Z getting a new jacket, and Homestar calling it quits) to the weird (such as Pom Pom looking like an ABA basketball and Strong Sad having horns and a tail). The weirdest of all? He plans to turn Homsar into a "modestly hot" girl. After realizing that this is Homsar he's talking about, Strong Bad starts to wonder if his imagination is broken.
  • Karekore The Half Blood: This episode has Hisame and Kage switch genders using an app for day. Male!Hisa is admired by all the girls in school while Female!Kage was bullied for getting close to him.
  • Mani Mani People: Keita gave Ritsuki and Haru pills that supposedly turns men into women. Haru took the pill and it transformed him into a woman. Ritsuki even managed to get Haru pregnant with his child. They became Happily Married and they are trying for a second child.
  • Sapphire Foxx is devoted to exploring as many aspects of gender bending as possible. The main myth arc involves the idea that gender identity disorder is an inherited curse, but side stories may involve things like a businessman being mistaken for a woman when meeting a client, transforming a crossdressed Halloween cosplay couple as a prank, or pneumatic machines that can remold a person's body.

    Web Comics 
  • In 1977:The Comic, Bud annoys the Mystic Frog, which curses him by giving him the ability to randomly transform into a female version of himself, randomly and at the most inappropriate times. Bud later realises the trigger is anger. Do not press his Berserk Button. Or do it anyway, just for laughs.
  • In The Accidental Space Spy, Datimas are born female, but can become male if they are successful enough.
  • In Anthros And Dungeons, Mickeal the anthro white male bear and the male gray wolf drink from an enchanted pool and switch to females.
  • At Arm's Length got one when they introduced the first place winner of their character contest. A human from a parallel world appeared in front of Reece and Sheila, and the two used a disguise spell to make him appear as something from their world, only for something unexpected to happen, resulting in the human's gender to be switched in the process.
  • In Autumn Bay, Captain Jack Bishop, leader of a team of specialists dedicated to containing supernatural threats, is turned into a teenage girl by one of their targets.
  • Axe Cop has two prominent examples of this trope, both revealed in "Ask Axe Cop" installments:
    • In a What If? scenario, Axe Cop revealed that he'd only want to have kids "in a jillion years when I am done with my job" (i.e., the last bad guy in the world has been killed.) Axe Cop would then use unicorn magic to turn his best friend Sockarang into a girl, and they'd have a family together.
    • In another (canonical!) example, Axe Cop teamed up with Abraham Lincoln, who turned into Abraham Lincoln: Explosion God and "put a bomb inside every bad guy." With all the bad guys in the world destroyed, Axe Cop used his magic unicorn horn and wished for Abraham Lincoln to be a girl. They got married, and lived Happily Ever After... until Axe Cop got bored. Presumably, the bad guys were resurrected and Axe Cop went back to doing his job, but the final fate of Girl Abraham Lincoln is, as yet, unrevealed.
  • In the Transformers fancomic Bent, Perceptor's newly-invented ray gun ends up turning several Cybertronians into femme-bots. Hilariously, when it happens to Starscream, there's no physical difference but his voice gets a little deeper (according to the other characters).
  • Bruno the Bandit spent one story arc as a woman as punishment for trying to steal from the temple of Dyla.
  • In Calogrenant, an Arthurian knight with gender dysphoria is transformed into a maiden, and goes on Monty Pythonesque adventures which feature inspirations from the many versions of the legend.
  • In Cherry, Kirsch repeatedly tries to sell the eponymous Steve on the idea of actually becoming a girl. (He's not keen.)
  • In Dangerously Chloe, Chloe injects Teddy with her blood to cure him of a cold, which has the side effect of turning him first into a copy of her, then into a girl resembling himself as the effect wears off. Later, when Chloe is uncontrollably attacking men, Teddy gets a smaller dose of her blood from Pandora, making him a girl somewhere between the two, and the effect becomes permanent when Kimmy out of curiosity injects him with her own ectoplasm-like ichor.
  • DDG explains why, when you are a disembodied soul you shouldn't fool around with magic cloaks. Something then-recently deceased Zip wishes s/he had known to start with.
  • In Devils Cake Zoshi transforms himself into a girl in order to be Kea's new roommate. She does not appreciate this invasion of her space and privacy whatsoever.
  • The misogynistic Stunt from Dominic Deegan gets briefly turned into a woman after defiantly taking a bite of an onion labeled "pleez no eat" in a land of chaos magic.
  • In Dragon Ball Multiverse, Syd from Universe 6 can switch genders with others upon eye contact. She tries this on U13's Prince Vegeta to even out their power differences, only to find out that Vegeta is still Vegeta, woman or not. The First Law of Gender Bending is subverted in that said transformation lasts for only five pages. It didn't stop people from drawing a minicomic about the possible implications, in the case it was permanent.
  • The Dragon Doctors has a fair amount of this, starting with a valley where a mysterious curse led to all the men becoming women; most of the time the issue of having one's physical sex changed is taken fairly seriously. Most of the time.
    Greg: I have no idea how I'd react to that.
    Sarin: Why wonder?
  • Eerie Cuties: This is the main power of the Tiresias Orb, which Blair steals, uses irresponsibly, and accidentally breaks, leaving Ace stuck long-term; much, much later, kissing Kade after touching Blair causes Ace to transfer the curse to him for a while, until Chloe figures how to use this effect to break the curse completely.
  • El Goonish Shive is notable for the sheer number of gender-bending gags and storylines. It definitely started as pure Author Appeal, but it slowly evolved into the comic's heavy themes of gender identity (although the shameless indulgence stuff is still there, especially in non-canon stories).
    • Tedd is a Chivalrous Pervert with a Transformation Ray. He spends quite a lot of time as a girl, partially because his male form is extremely androgynous while his female form is anything from girlishly androgynous to a knockout, but also because he's more comfortable as a girl sometimes. Originally he thinks it's just a fetish-turned-pastime, but he eventually realizes that he's gender fluid. He even gets a magic mark from Pandora that lets him change his default sex, instead of merely enchanting himself female. It also causes Trans Tribulations of a sort since his father thinks it's unhealthy for Tedd to be a girl so often.
    • Elliot is transformed into a girl by Tedd very early on in the comic, and uses an enchanted diamond to break the curse. The diamond ends up creating an Opposite-Sex Clone of him named Ellen, and granting them both magic related to the original transformation. Ellen can fire beams that transform men into women (and eventually other beams) while Elliot can transform into a woman, which he doesn't actually want to do. Naturally, Elliot winds up with excess magic and has to spend as much time as possible as a girl to burn it off, lest he spontaneously transform at school. Since magic tries to fit your personality and it can't figure out why Elliot hates all of his spells, it eventually overcompensates and gives him the ability to turn into a Flying Brick superheroine. Elliot eventually realizes that he doesn't actually mind being a girl (he refers to himself as "gender casual"); what he hates is being forced to transform, or it happening involuntarily.
    • Grace is a Voluntary Shapeshifter who can turn into or mix-and-match any form she's had previously, which includes several male forms. Although, she rarely has actual reason to do so.
    • Every main character aside from Ellen spends the evening as the opposite sex at Grace's birthday party. A later party involves more general transformations (mostly to do with size and hair colour), although Justin turns into a woman. A haywire magic mirror at said party ends up turning almost everyone into each other's transformed forms, with Justin turning into ginger Nanase and Elliot turning into blonde Ashley. EGS also gives us this wonderful line when Sarah and Susan are arguing over whether it's healthy or not when Elliot "fails at perversion":
      Sarah: Don't you remember what it's like to be a teenage guy?
      Susan: I try not to.
    • While Ashley has yet to actually switch sexes, she is rather enthusiastic about it, having discovered her bisexuality at a young age reading Ranma ½. She also writes embarrassing wish-fulfillment fics in her free time where men get turned into hot girls. In fact, accidentally seeing Elliot turn into a girl leads to her asking him out.
  • Exiern is about a mighty barbarian who went to save the Damsel in Distress princess from the evil wizard. Accidentally nullifying his own ability to cast dark magic, the wizard resorts to pouring all the power he can into a light magic spell, transforming the barbarian into a beautiful woman.
  • In Free Turn, an argument with a potionmaker leaves both Demi and Milo turned into girls; it wears off quickly for Milo, being a mimic, but for Demi it takes a month or so. In Loose Change, Jacques mentions that he uses a coin to guess at the gender of transformed people, but no actual changes of sex are seen. Also, Tricksters throughout the setting often disguise themselves as the opposite sex, but these are just illusions, not "true" transformations.
  • In Gender Swapped, the main characters are hit by a ray gun that changes their sex and rewrites their lives while they sleep. The machine, known only as the 'GSM' has been built by scientists for a yet to be announced reason. Two of the three main characters were hit by a split beam setting the plot in motion, the third character Elise, whose name is now Elyps, due to an odd set of circumstances, has to live as a boy without the luxury of the people closest to her thinking she was always that way. This comic has followed both the First and Second Laws of Gender Bending.
  • In Girl In My Dream, Ji-Hoon gradually becomes a female named Ji-Hyun as he dreams.
  • In Grim Tales from Down Below, Aku has a female form which he uses whenever he feels his daughter needs to talk to a mother figure.
  • In The Handbook of Heroes, Wizard, who starts the comic as male, turns himself into a woman to complete a seduction quest, and opts to make it permanent upon learning the Amplifier Artifact robe he'd planned to trade the reward for had been recut into lingerie by its succubus owner.
  • Housepets! includes two as a major plot point during the My Life As A Teenage Squirrel arc, in which a teenage couple are genderswapped and speciesswapped out of the blue, and need to figure out why.
  • I Dream of a Jeanie Bottle: On top the protagonist Jean/Jeanie, a fan of the classic TV series I Dream of Jeannie and admirer of said series' titular character, who was forced to take the form of said character after accidentally being turned into a genie, (It Makes Sense in Context) there's also a running gag involving Jean/Jeannie using his/her new found powers to turn other men into women, if they piss him/her off, including Jean/Jeanie's own best friend Neil, sometimes temporarily as is luckily the case with Neil, but often he/she doesn't even bother to turn them back.
  • The Insecticomics has several instances of characters spontaneously changing their gender, although being that they are mostly androgynous Transformers gender isn't much of an issue for them.
    • The most notable was the time that Lazorbeak was voted female in an effort to make the comic less male-dominated.
    • In a later strip, the resident Moral Guardian Lady Jaye protested that the male Thrust was pursuing a relationship with Dreadmoon (also male), whereupon Thrust promptly declared himself female and went off to hit on Dreadmoon again. Since the characters and the author both refer to Thrust as "she" from this point on, apparently Thrust never bothered to change back.
  • A storyline near the end of It's Walky switches the genders of Walky, Joyce, Head Alien, Monkey Master, and the aliens' computer due to Unpredictable Results. Entropy nearly kept them that way, but The Wanderer intervened. The trope is played with somewhat as well. Joyce points out to Walky that despite having changed genders, they're still straight, leading to humorous moments between them and their team mates. It's later revealed that male-Joyce's "equipment" was bigger than Walky's regular package. Walky is not happy to know this, to say the least.
  • Jet Dream (the Remix Comic), along with its Spinoff series It's Cookie! and My Jet Dream Romance, are built around this trope. These Affectionate Parodies of Silver Age comic books take as their premise the notion that the male members of the "Thunderbird Squadron" (Blackhawk Expy) have all been turned (permanently and irrevocably, natch) into girls via Applied Phlebotinum. As Joint Elite Team, Division of Raiding-Expert Aeronautical Maidens, they continue the good fight as T-Girls instead of T-Birds. In addition, the most talented teenage boy recruits in Junior Echelon, Teen T-Girls, Elle-Boys, and Esprit-Girls (Natural!) (J.E.T. T.E.E.N.) may themselves be voluntarily turned into girls after a period of training in Advanced Crossdressing and T-Girl combat specialties.
  • In Jix, one of Remula's personalities, Lamerix creates a device that does this. She tests it out on Lauren, changing her into a guy. Lauren gets mad about being temporarily stuck and uses it on Lamerix, but with no noticeable change (due to no major sexual dimorphism in Ambis and the fact that fur covers their private parts). Lauren convinces Lamerix to temporarily change her husband Paul while she's trying to figure out how to reverse the change.
  • In Kill Six Billion Demons, devils gain new bodies as they rise and fall in power, which tends to involve this. Vladok becomes female when he falls from Ebon rank to Blue, but doesn't seem to care about the gender bender in the least.
    • This also seems to be the case with the technically sexless angels, whose true appearances are more based on how they feel. White Chain's form is roughly humanoid, but with wings and eyes on her hands and hair. Juggernaut Star, once stripped of their thorn knight form, looks extremely feminine as well. As all angels refer to each other as Brothers, such manifestations are considered heretical.
  • Done briefly in The Last Days of Foxhound, in which Decoy Octopus (who, through drinking their blood, can take on another person's appearance) disguises himself as Sniper Wolf. It's a very complete transformation.
  • Magic And Physics has Shelly, who, oddly for this trope, doesn't seem to remember being a guy ever. However, her brother does, and seemingly the Author and the Writer do too.
  • One of the many cameos in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Rr by Entropy Max are the space aliens from Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl, making this trope inevitable for a feminine-looking male down on his luck in regards to the (ambiguously lesbian) girl he likes. Meet Yuuno Scrya (second image NSFW).
  • In Mischief in Maytia, one of the characters gets crushed by a flying saucer and is given a rental body while his real body gets repaired. The rental body is that of a teenage girl.
  • The basic premise of Misfile has Ash, the hero, getting accidentally "misfiled" in heaven by a stoner clerk. This not only changes him from a teenage boy to a teenage girl overnight, it changes the entire world to fit. Some aspects are convenient (no need to explain anything or shop for new underwear), some are comically disturbing (Bikini shots and prom pictures in the photo album,yaoi magazines under the bed), and some are not-so-comically disturbing ("girl-Ash" had reconnected with her estranged mother via a letter that "boy-Ash" had been too ashamed to send and had already lost "her" virginity to his oldest and best friend.)
  • Parodied in Murry Purry Fresh and Furry when Melvin decides to reboot his webcomic Fart Police to be a gender-swapping high school comedy.
  • In Narbonic, Mad Scientist Helen Narbon invents an instant gender-change formula. She gleefully uses it in several storylines, not least to make her sex life more interesting. When Dave and Helen briefly separate near the end of the comic, his reaction is "Good lord, I'll never have lesbian sex again!"
  • Oglaf: It comes up less often than you'd expect.
  • One Girl Guy Army: The main character Tait transforms into a blue haired girl with a blue ribbon wrapped around his neck. The other main character Icarus also revealed to have been turned into a girl in the past. Icarus is revealed to be the Amazon princess Amelia who had his male essence forcibly taken out magically by the Amazon Queen who placed her own female essence in place of his own.
  • In The Order of the Stick, Roy has to don the mystical "Belt of Femininity/Masculinity" to escape a pair of would-be assassins. This is an actual magical item in Dungeons & Dragons, though this one reacts to Remove Curse better. Breaking the trend slightly, Roy is NOT a beautiful woman, and is still bald.
  • In Out-of-Placers Kassen is turned into a female Yinglet, small scavengers resembling a cross between a rat and a shorebird with a massively skewed gender ratio, making Kass a hot property in a culture whose entire social structure relies on Women Are Wiser because the menfolk all tend to be happy-go-lucky idiots.
  • Cordelia in Princess Chroma has magic powders that change people's gender. She manages to get a face full of said powder herself by accident.
  • The Korean webcomic Pumpkin Time focuses on Childhood Friends Tae-Joo and Hae-Won, who bonded over playing baseball as kids. Tae-Joo would later move to the United States to study and focus on a growing baseball career, unaware that Hae-Won unexpectedly turned into a girl for unknown reasons. The two later reunited in high school with Tae-Joo's return, with Hae-Won choosing to keep her identity a secret.
  • In Quantum Vibe, Nicole meets a female Sexbot named Hitomi who starts coming onto her. When Nicole wants to back out ("I really don't, y'know, flop that way"), Hitomi simply swaps gender to suit Nicole's inclinations. This simply leaves Nicole aghast. Hilarious in Hindsight in that she later, in different circumstances, ends up having loads of lesbian sex with a gynoid.
  • The premise of Sailor Sun is that Bay (formerly Brad) was transformed by the producers of the Show Within a Show of the same name some time before the series began, in order to make him/her the new star of the Fan Fiction series. Not only couldn't she talk them into reversing it, but just days later she ends up meeting her Kid from the Future, Honey - which is also how she discovered that she a) never changes back, and b) is already pregnant after the bender she went on the night after being transformed.
  • She !s me (Oh no! I'm a girl!) The story of a guy who one day wakes up as a gal. Don't think of this as a funny bodyswitch comedy, but as a serious evaluation about the question "What would you really do if...?" She sets out to convince her friends she is who she says she is, only to come to the conclusion that they called the cops on her when they ask her to convince them, because they didn't outright reject her story to begin with. Unfortunately, she's right, which doesn't exactly make things any better.
  • In Sinfest, the "Trans State" is a section of the woods that instantly changes a character's sex.
  • The Belt of Femininity/Masculinity shows up in a strip of Something*Positive, as a way of shutting up an obnoxious player.
  • In Somewhere Different, protagonist Mark is hit by a truck, and saved from dying by being turned into a girl.
  • In Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki, the title character starts out as a teenage boy, until he watches a "Magical Girl" DVD and Hermod, in the form of a monkey (or marmoset), comes out of his TV and turns him into a valkyrie, a female warrior of Norse mythology. This almost immediately leads to a Man, I Feel Like a Woman page.
  • Sword Princess Amaltea is a story held in a matriarchal world, so it's quite a shock when princess Amaltea and prince Ossian suddenly switch genders at the end of Chapter VI.
  • TwoKinds had a case of this with Clovis, who — as punishment for stealing Lady Nora's masquerade mask and abusing Zen and Natani — was hit with a curse that turned him into a woman and makes him unable to describe himself as anything but a woman. This causes some difficulties for his business as while he can bind his breasts, his female heat cycle kicks in during the summer and forces him into seclusion. It's also not helpful to him that he and the culture he comes from are heavily misogynistic.
  • Umlaut House has a gender-bending Transformation Ray, originally built by Mad Scientist Dr Hundecoph to help his transgender friend Dr. Pegasus become female, but later accidentally set off by Volair, who takes it in stride before changing back a few days later. For the second series, author Allen Ecker explains elsewhere that when Hundecoph reformed, he took the unusual step of releasing the design to the public (he'd already made a fortune selling his other inventions, but he wanted to make sure that this particular one was open-source).
  • In Unnatural Selection, the AIs can do this with body modifications. However, none of the main characters do so... except in the spin-off Polokoa Quest, where Rokolo's Chief chose to switch from male to female.
  • In When I Woke Up I Became A Bagel Girl, obese Otaku Bong Gi, well…
  • The Whiteboard: After pressing a button with a Shmuck Bait warning sign, in the May 22, 2012 strip, Roger is transformed into a woman.
  • The Wotch is pretty much based around the trope; whole groups of male students at Tandy Gardens HS (note the initials) have been permanently transformed into females (four of whom would later be featured in a Spin-Off series, Cheer!), and some of the other male characters seem to have become addicted to being temporarily in female form. (The authors of both comics readily admit to being a little too interested in Shapeshifting. Their readership is in the tens of thousands. We blame 1980s cartoons.) In one particularly strange example, the Wotch herself has an older brother who likes to relax by taking on the form and personality of a four-year-old girl.

    Web Original 
  • BigCloset is a large site hosting Gender Bender fiction, but differs from FictionMania in that most stories are Safe For Work. Many stories are novel-length, and the writing quality is generally better.
  • C0DA, written by former The Elder Scrolls series writer/designer Michael Kirkbride, takes place in the far distant future of TES universe. Vivec, a Physical God already established by the series' lore to be a hermaphrodite (though he still generally appears as male and is referred to by male pronouns), turns out to be Almalexia's daughter, appearing as a full woman. Yes, it's a very Mind Screwy work.
  • From El Chigüire Bipolar: "After the National Electoral Council's requirement of at least 40% women candidates, Henry Ramos Allup changes sex."
  • Cleverbot at times will turn you into the opposite gender (obviously in a pretend role-playing way) typically just for its own amusement or if you simply just ask it to. Sometimes it will even get oddly specific and turn you into things like a cheerleader, a maid, a school girl, an anime girl, etc.
  • DeviantArt in general has entire communities surrounding this trope. Just put "TG" into the search engine and enjoy.
  • FictionMania (NSFW) is a massive archive specializing in gender bending stories of all kinds. The site isn't limited to this trope, however, as it also accepts Real Life (or Very Loosely Based on a True Story) stories of sexual reassignment and transitioning, Crossdressing, and Easy Sex Change fiction.
  • The premise of The Finite Life of a Dating Sim Heroine, which is a Web Serial Novel about a boy who gets sent into a Dating Sim and forced into the body of the game's heroine.
  • In one entry of the blog F*cking in Brooklyn, the writer imagines himself swapping bodies with a glamorous lady friend for a day. Unlike many other examples, he ultimately concludes that the human experience is so widely varied that it would be impossible to know what it is to "be a woman", even after a lifetime of living as one.
  • Lea Wilderson appears to be the blog of a man named Lee Wilderson who turns into a woman.
  • Deconstructed rather viciously in Lola. Some random guy — who happens to read Gender Bender porn—is turned into a hot chick by a Mysterious Website That Wasn't There Yesterday. He hates it, on account of the trouble being someone who doesn't, y'know, legally exist. And being objectified by men. The story ends with the implication that they're going to end up shipped off to some mysterious government facility for a nonspecified fate.
  • New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe introduces a crown item that allows the character Toadette to turn into a facsimile of Princess Peach. While no example of this trope is present in the franchise itself, the item's reveal quickly inspired online artists to apply the crown and transformation to other characters — most notably King Bowser, who within a week or so quickly developed a fanon "Bowsette" alter ego — Princess Peach, but with Bowser's horns and tail — that he turns into when donning the crown. Shipping of varying levels of humorousness, chiefly with Mario, naturally ensued.
  • Okashina Futari is a story of two siblings, a boy named Ayumi and a girl named Satori, who have the ability to change each other's gender (which cannot be done onto themselves) merely by wishing it. As expected in most gender-bending, the boy-to-girl transformation is more frequent. They can also change the other's clothing, including undergarments, but they can't change the gender and not change the clothing, nor can they change the clothing into garments worn by the other's gender (e.g. Ayumi as a girl wearing a man's suit).
  • In the Paradise setting, human beings are randomly, permanently changed into Funny Animals (though the change is Invisible to Normals). A small percentage of Changed also change their gender. Given the Wish-Fulfillment nature of the setting, the number of gender-Changed who appear within stories is somewhat disproportional to the amount that exist setting-wide.
  • The Satyri series (and possible future webcomic) by DeviantArt artist DP Ragan is about a series of virgin males who are cursed by a group of succubi, either by being pulled into hell and having their soul infected with a fragment of a succubus' soul, or by using a cursed item (usually bodywash) that causes their skin to melt off, revealing their new, permanent form. The face is the last part to melt off — if the victim doesn't give in to the horrible uncontrollable itching as their skin bubbles and melts at the edges the face will regenerate their human body over a few weeks of constant torture; the gender bending, however, is permanent. If they don't manage to keep their hands away (and it's not common knowledge to do so, most people don't last more than a few seconds), or if they managed to get pulled into hell for the personal treatment by another succubus, they are now permanently stuck as a Satyri — a vaguely Satyr-like half-Succubus. Satyri traits include a tail, horns, elflike ears, Ungulate hooves (think "Draenei"), inhuman (yellow iris on black) eyes, unnaturally colored latex skin and hair (red, blue, and "bubblegum" being the most common), and an enforced lack of nudity taboo. Wings are also common, especially with Satyri who have completely "went native" and turned into outright Succubi.
  • SCP Foundation:
    • SCP-113, a piece of jasper that turns anything with sex chromosomes that touches it into the opposite gender. Although, the change is rather painful, there is a 25% chance of the subject's genitals being obliterated and multiple exposures may cause [DATA EXPUNGED]. The Foundation has forbidden its use as a method of sex change by transgender people, both inside and outside the foundation, as the risk for harm and death is too great.
    • The Foundation also has a character named Agent Diogenes, who has been exposed to it so much that they either now have no gender, or are both genders. In either case, they can't remember which gender they originally were.
    • SCP-2009 is a fungal infection that transforms any human that contracts it into an exact copy of a young Chinese-American man (who may or may not have been its original host) over a few days. The interview logs focus on the psychological and Body Horror aspects of this trope, showing a woman slowly succumbing to the SCP's effects.
    • The Body Surfing Dr. Bright has inhabited a number of female hosts.
    • There's also SCP-6113, which comprises two anomalies: SCP-6113-1, a shapeshifting entity who visits closeted trans people in their lowest moments and leads them to SCP-6113-2, a magical lake. When a closeted trans individual looks at their reflection in the lake, the reflection gradually morphs from their current form to their desired form, with their physical body morphing in response. There's also SCP-6113-3 a.k.a. Chloe, a completely nonanomalous twelve-year-old trans girl who transitioned via SCP-6113 and who ended up as a ward of the Foundation due to an amnestics-involved screwup on the Foundation's part, something regarding which she is understandably pissed. The researcher assigned to her case proposes that SCP-6113 be declassified and made known to the world for the good of the trans community; the O5s unanimously reject the proposal.
  • In Speedball's XCOM Enemy Within, Cammy and Allen have their bodies switched while undergoing genetic enhancement. Cammy eventually decides to stick with her new appearance (and even adopts female pronouns). A lot of that has to do with her genetic enhancements, but she also suggests that she might be genderfluid.
  • In Take A Lemon (seen here), Marshall Steen wakes up one day as Marsha. S/he determines that it was caused by a scientific experiment gone awry and then decides not to change back for a few months, just to prove that s/he can cope with the situation. It turns out she wasn't actually transformed, she'd just been given the memories of her male counterpart from an alternate dimension.
  • Most of the characters in The Trading Post, one of whose writers is also behind Transplanted Life.
  • The plot of Transplanted Life. In fact, in that story, the only way a mind-transfer works is between genders.
  • The Vulvoid Transformation is a story about evil panties that turn their hosts into girls and make them give birth to more evil panties. No, really.

    Web Videos 
  • AFK: Steven and Maybel both played characters of the opposite sex. Upon waking up to discover they have become their characters, the result was obvious. Maybel in particular is very uncomfortable with peeing as a male, and Jack has to listen while she does this, then vents about it.
  • Benzaie of That Guy with the Glasses winds up being turned into a woman in this video as a side effect of watching Jem and the Holograms too much.
  • Rachel Bloom's parody of Beyoncé's "If I Were a Boy," in which the title phrase is interpreted as "if I became a boy," to which the singer reacts not unlike Gregor Samsa.
  • Critical Role in Campaign 2 the party of the Mighty Nein have to sneak into Asarius "The City of Beasts" where humans are rare, in order to hide more easily the human members of the party disguise themselves as non humans. When Caleb offers to cast the spell Polymorph on someone Beaureguard asks him to turn her into a Tiefling... a male Tiefling. It is revealed that though *most* of her skin in that form is red, as per her request, Caleb had only seen one male Tiefling's 'parts' their fellow deceased party member Mollymauk her penis in that form does not match the rest of her.
    Dude Tiefling Beau: ...why is just my dick purple?
  • Given that the 2014 D 20 Live event featured the infamous Tomb of Horrors, this ended up happening, to both the team's newfound pet-polymorphed-gargoyle-turned-kitten and the team's rogue.
  • French Baguette Intelligence:
    • In A typical French vs English Debate, when Fuck Cares mentions that it is 'La France', not 'Le France' and Bowl says that it is 'Mother England' not 'Father England', Fuck Cares and Bowl's avatars switch from Phoenix Wright and Miles Edgeworth to Franziska von Karma and Mia Fey, respectively.
    • Franziska von Karma is also used to represent Fuck Cares for Content Warnings and when Baxter changes his server nickname to 'Karen' as a joke in Dark Humor vs "Dark Humor".
  • The Chinese webseries Go Princess Go combines this with Fish out of Temporal Water. A playboy tries to save a woman from drowning, but is knocked unconscious with a kick to the head and wakes up as a princess in ancient China. The time to adapt to her new life takes a while; besides having no known way to return back to his original life, she has to learn how to live in an era where the role of women is not as prominent as it is in the 21st century. The series did noticeably cause a bit of a stir with Chinese media, and had to be censored due to its themes of gender roles and identity being very liberal for a very conservative country. Received a Korean remake several years later called Mr. Queen, where a chef working for the South Korean president is put into the body of Queen Cheorin in the Joseon period.
  • During the Magical Princess arc of Masters Of The Metaverse this occasionally happens to Magical Prince Chad after he gains the Magical Power of Friendship.
  • Happens in two episodes of Rooster Teeth's Million Dollars, But...
    • In one scenario, they're only able to spend the money by transforming into a secret alter-ego of their choice. Wanting to experience life as the exact opposite of herself, Lindsay chooses the alter-ego of a large black man.
    • Another scenario has them swap sexes every time they fart. The other two hosts of the episode both take full advantage of it, with Barbara using it to scare off cat-callers and Blaine getting a job at a strip club so he can transform back into a man on stage to screw with people. Either way, they unanimously agree to take the money.
  • The Spoony Experiment: Spoony becomes the teenage Valley Girl "Spoonette" after he's banished to a universe based on the game "Party Mania" (which, oddly enough, is already home to gender flipped versions of Benzaie and 90's Kid).

    Real Life 
  • 5-alpha-reductase deficiency (5-ARD), known crudely as "Guevedoche" ("Balls at twelve") in the Dominican Republic and simply "Kwolu-aatmwol" ("female thing transforming into a male thing") in Papua New Guinea, in which a genetic male is born with what appears to be female genitalia under casual scrutiny, only to "turn" male when they hit puberty. This is a rare but inheritable genetic disorder, seldom seen outside the above-mentioned places. Allegedly, because it is comparatively common in small, highly insular communities, most of those affected adjust with surprising ease.
  • Meet Wolbachia, a bacteria that primarily affects arthropods (insects, arachnids, and other bugs). It can, very rarely, turn infected males into completely fertile females. (More commonly, it turns them into infertile pseudo-females, and even more commonly it just kills them).
  • Some fish will start out as male, but then change genders if their female mate dies. Others do the opposite. Clownfish are one of them (male changes to female.) This led to a lot of Finding Nemo jokes.
  • There have been cases of chickens changing sex from female to male, though this process is only phenotypical, and at least beneath the surface, the chicken’s still a chicken, albeit one that now looks like a rooster. This is often accompanied by psychological changes; if a flock of hens are kept without a rooster, there is a chance the most dominant of the flock can take some aspects of the role, including changing its gait to strut about proudly, and crowing with greater frequency than normal.
  • There are also documented cases of peahens changing into peacocks.
  • Frogs and other amphibians are extremely susceptible to hormonal changes and can undergo severe physical changes that appear just weird for vertebrates. One study shows that the popular herbicide atrazine can change male frogs to female.
    • This one was a major plot point in Jurassic Park, in which some of the all-female dinosaurs inadvertently turn male because of frog DNA used to fill in the gaps in the dinosaur DNA, thus allowing a breeding population to get established.
  • Cross-gender hormones and sex reassignment surgery can change someone's physical sex, with the limitation that they cannot reproduce in their new sex.
    • However, female-to-male transgender people CAN retain their reproductive function as long as the uterus and ovaries are not removed. So there is a possibility of a transgender man having biological children. The most famous case is of Thomas Beatie, who got pregnant three times after transition.
    • Additionally, reproductive function in the "new" sex is not actually beyond the realm of theoretical possibility (although it's certainly well beyond the bounds of what we can do now); advances in tissue engineering could potentially allow for trans people to be given fully-functional reproductive organs in their post-transition bodies (as well as rectifying the various imperfections inherent in surgically constructing female genitals from male or vice versa).
  • Some reptile species may hatch as either male or female depending on their incubation temperature, with moderate temperatures producing females and both higher and lower temperatures producing males.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Genderswap, Gender Bending


Satoshi Yabe

When the triplets are trying to help Satoshi Yabe with their romance with Aiko Kuriyama, Futaba has to hit Yabe in the crotch. Mitsuba thinks that if Futaba hits Yabe too hard, his gender will change.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / GenderBender

Media sources: