In some of my posts, I’ll be reflecting on some of the influences I’ve had that made me want to write “this way” but it’s probably for the best if I get right out in front of it, own it, and explain what I’m talking about in terms that don’t leave anything to guesswork.
I’m talking about stories where men transform into women. Well, to begin with.
Some terms for this are TG/TF (Trans-gender, transformation) fic, or “Gender Bending.” The former is the insider term from the online collective we have formed, which you as reader are probably familiar with. The latter is a more media-friendly version that gets thrown around when it comes up on a mainstream program of film.
I’ve wanted to write stories about this since I was a child, old enough to know boys and girls were different, too young to know what that truly meant. The curiosity never died down in me and I kept my ears open for anything that would shed light on the situation. That particular interest went dormant as I got older but remained something I would infuse into my work when I deemed it appropriate (trying to write and draw amateur comics, inventing sci-fi scenarios.) But later I embraced it full-force as something I wanted to write about – albeit, not in a way where I would put my real name on it. It’s very freeing to be undercover here.
How and why and when my barrier to embracing this interest dissolved, I will save as a story for another time, to be built over several flashpoints. It was a process, yet also something I could pin down to nearly a single moment. Knowing there were others like me – lots of them – helped.
There are tons of reasons why this is something a person might want to write about. Biological males and females have inherently different lives. They grow up differently, they move through the world differently, and see what is in front of them differently. There are different roles and stereotypes assigned to both, and also different ways that they might engage with, or avert those roles and stereotypes.
To write fiction is to put on the skin of another person, after all, so why shouldn’t a writer be interested in stories that are literally about that?
The tantalizing question is, what happens to a person when they cross from one to the other? When they find themselves reluctantly cast in the role opposite from what they are used to playing? The gender-change fiction is just one manifestation of that, which can largely be summed up as any fish-out-of-water, personal-journey narrative. Writing it as a change of gender permits us to look at a lot of different things – sex, biology, social interaction, romance, self-definition.
The stories I post on this blog will largely, but not exclusively, regard changes of gender, literally rendered in a science fiction/fantasy type of way. Sometimes instead we might write about an age-change, or a geographical, racial, or social status one, with or without a gender aspect. I don’t want anyone to expect me to write the same thing every time, and be disappointed when I go outside that box. My idea is that these are themes to explore, and there are many tools at my disposal.
Sometimes I will cleave to what have become the conventional tropes of “the genre” (funny word, that) and sometimes I will consciously be toying with them or tossing them out.
I suspect that other people are interested in these things for similar reasons – curious about something they’ve never personally experienced (in my case, all I can do is provide my years of speculation), interest in that ineffable quality of the battle of the sexes, and yes, being up for some lighthearted sexy fun. Personally, I’m also interested in writing about causes and deeper issues through this lens, but I’ll let you know if I plan on hitting those notes hard.
I hope you see in these stories exactly what you need to, and yet not always the same thing every time.
Now, enough yakkin’, I’ve still got writing to do.
All the best,