This special issue continues an inquiry initiated during the same-named conference held at Leiden University in the summer of 2o16. An important aim of this conference was to engage with new directions in transgender studies, and in particular to consider the interventions made possible by theorising trans with an asterisk () in comparison to its hyphenated use (-). While all versions of prefixial ‘trans’ should remain grounded in gender expression and experiences, the asterisk also encompasses a wide range of disciplinary and theoretical moves that challenge academic disciplines in new and promising ways. This issue explores the ways in which the asterisk in trans signals the opening up of colonial and masculinist ways of knowing by shifting to decolonial and non-binary perspectives on disciplinary knowledge production anchored in different geopolitical spheres. The three disciplinary interventions at the heart of this issue are framed by two theoretical essays addressing how to conceptualise and further trans* perspectives.