“Queering” Heteronormativity: Biological essentialism in genderbending manga

The framework of “[cis character] must pretend to be [“opposite” gender] before restoring their [femininity or masculinity]” invites biological determinism by making the plot’s stakes dependent on the successful concealment of the main character’s “true” (here, meaning “assigned-at-birth”) gender. The idea of a “true” biological gender is itself a transphobic trope that does harm to the gender-nonconforming communities that genderbending manga purports to represent.