Tomboy: Forced Fem Goes Mainstream

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Hollywood Reporter

News hit today that A-List superstar Michelle Rodriguez (Fast and Furious, Avatar) will join Sigourney Weaver in what they call a “gender reassignment thriller.”  According to reports, Rodriguez will play a male assassin who is betrayed and turned over to a mysterious woman called only The Doctor, who forces him to have a sex-change against his will.

Now a woman, he seeks revenge against those who betrayed him.

Naturally, controversy has already arisen as Glaad has condemned the film, or rather the plot of the film as reported in The Guardian

I will get back to Glaad and their concerns in a minute, but as someone who has written more than one man forced into a woman’s body and seeks revenge story, I have high hopes for this film and for the excellent team being put in place.

One of my stories featured a mafia don who is turned into a woman and a stripper at one of his own strip clubs and then seeks revenge discovering, in the process, that he is just as fearless as a woman as he ever was as a man.  He learns to let go of all his prejudices against women, and to confront his own misogyny.

But then why seek revenge?  Isn’t he seeking revenge because being turned into a woman is a disgrace, something that makes him less than?  Nope.  He seeks revenge because his code of honor requires he seek revenge, and it is the disrespectful way he is treated as a woman that finally gives him the motivation to do what he should have done in the first place.  Now, speaking as a writer, I also like to put my characters into plot-driven action stories, so having something like this revenge plot also lets me get this man, now in a busty woman’s body, out into the world facing trials and obstacles as a woman, growing and changing along the way as a result of the obstacles he has to overcome.

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La Vendetta

I suspect and hope that Tomboy will allow the authors to explore similar themes and ideas as the main character is forced to confront some of his own biases against women, and what it means to be one.  A lot of interesting ideas about gender and identity can be explored in a film like this, and have been explored in non-mainstream media for years, and I have high hopes it will foster discussion and acceptance.  By putting the story within the framework of a Payback-style thriller the creators can draw in action movie fans and lure them into thinking about gender and identity, whereas many of these viewers might not even consider watching a show like Transparent which they know is about TG issues from the outset.

Now, as for Glaad, here is the central quote from the article: “We haven’t read the script, but it’s disappointing to see film-makers turning what is a life-saving medical procedure for transgender people into a sensationalistic plot device,” the organisation’s director of programs for transgender media, Nick Adams, told The Hollywood Reporter. “We are at a crucial moment in the public’s understanding of transgender issues, and stories like these have the potential to undermine the progress we’ve worked so hard to achieve.”

I need more, Nick Adams.  “Stories like these have the potential to undermine the progress we’ve worked so hard to achieve.”  Really?  Here is the deal.  Any movie that features anything to do with transgender issues or a transgender actor or any genderfluid issues or people has the potential to undermine progress.   The audience can always choose to react however they want, and even if a film is designed to cast the procedure as a life saving and affirmative procedure, which it is, any given viewer can still reject that portrayal and recoil against the message.

The last time I saw Kinky Boots on Broadway, there is a scene where a character finally comes to respect and accept Lola, the cross-dressing performer who designs the Kinky Boots.  While most of the audience applauded, one of the people sitting in front of me mumbled, “What a homo.”

Now, for anyone who has not seen Kinky Boots, the show emphasizes. among other themes, a message of acceptance including a chant at the end of “Be who you wanna be.  Never let them tell you who you ought to be.”  But this audience member had no interest in that and was so angered he felt the need to express his homophobia verbally.

Any media anyone creates risks setting back progress, so unless we want to return to a world where no one ever talks about it, or we use phrases like, “the love that dare not speak its name” we will have to always risk putting something out there that could have an unintended impact.

We’ll have to see what happens, but given that Michelle Rodriguez has come out as bi-sexual I am confident she would not have signed onto the project if it were in any way derogatory.   In fact, I suspect this film will allow her to explore and express her own glorious genderfluidity, and I am looking forward to it!

Let’s not hide out love away.  Let’s not live in fear.  Let’s all live out loud everyday all the time. Let’s express ourselves and let others have the freedom to do the same.  Is there a risk some people might take it the wrong way?  Yes.  In fact, it is a certainty, but a lot of people might take it the right way as well, and the world can become a better place.

Tomboy: Forced Fem Goes Mainstream

New York Times Opinion Piece

The New York Times recently ran an Op-Ed piece where the writer discusses her life and how she and the world have changed and not changed.  It’s poetic and interesting and a little political, and I am just going to pass it on without further comment!

Loving Freely

AND, if you are in the New York Area, there are some interesting panels and films to check out as well mentioned in this article!

Film Fest!

New York Times Opinion Piece

5 Questions with TG author Ann Michelle

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Hey, folks!  I am very excited to bring the latest installment of my 5 Questions series to you this week.  This week Ann Marie agreed to answer a few questions.   Let’s get to it!
1.  What are your top three TG experiences in terms of books, films, videos, songs?
Wow!  Tough question.  My top experiences are all books.  When I first got into feminization, there wasn’t much out there.  Most of it was just generic “erotica” with a forced femme title and maybe a line or two referencing the hero slipping into a pair of panties.  It was a rip off.  But then I stumbled into an ad in the back of a magazine for a book called “Leslie’s Adventures in Petticoats” by Nan Gilbert.  I decided to give it a try.  I sent away my check.  A few weeks later, came the “book” (stapled papers really) that would change my life.  This book was exactly the kind of thing that I was having dreams (or nightmares) about.  This book told me that I wasn’t crazy and I wasn’t alone.  It was amazing!
 
 
Later, I found Sandy Thomas and her books.  The one that really caught my eye was “Tit for Tat” in which two couples bet that they can feminize the husbands and there ends up being some trickery involved.  I loved this idea of a man being tricked into turning himself into a woman by his wife.
 
 
The third, and this may sound arrogant, is a book I wrote called “Grounded in Heels.”  I was having a hard time finding books that interested me.  Most were either too sentimental or too angry.  And although I craved something in the forced feminization genre, little that I found in the genre appealed to me.  So I started writing my own books.  This was right around the time the internet was becoming a thing, but I didn’t see the net as a big deal so I just wrote these stories for myself.  Unfortunately, my first stories were rather timid.  One day I finally decided that I would let myself go and write a story without worrying if I was going too far.  “Grounded in Heels” was that story, and it felt amazingly liberating to me.  I would publish a revised version of that twelve years later on Amazon, and it’s been an amazing seller from day one.

2.  Much of your other work explores forced feminization, and I am a fan myself.  Can you talk about why you find this genre so fascinating?

That’s a really good question because I’m not sure where my own desires on this come from.  On the one hand, I long suspected that this is all a release.  I have a high pressure job and my wife and family have always expected me to take charge and control everything.  In many ways, forced feminization feels like a way to release all that pressure and let myself become “the woman” (i.e. give up control) for a bit.  That said, however, I can also tell you that I had these feelings long before I became an adult.  In fact, I can remember wanting to play with my mother’s shoes when I was four and fantasizing about this sixth grade girl who lived next door catching me.  So it’s probably not a release.
 
 
What I’ve come to suspect lately that it really is, is the same impulse that makes gambling/risk taking so exciting.  In that, the greater the risk, the greater the excitement.  And the idea of risking your very manhood is about as great a risk as you can take.  What’s more, I’ve noticed that the best stories seem to involve the male character becoming controlled by a female who actually loves them as a woman.  So I suspect that these stories are about risk taking with the punishment seeming horrible at first, but then being shown to be happy after all.  Hopefully, that makes sense.
 
3.  One of the many things I enjoy about your stories is the theme that feminization often makes for a better man in the end.  Do you feel real-life men would be better off if they spent some time exploring their feminine sides?
Absolutely, but let me be clear.  One of the things that always struck me throughout life was how insecure so many men really are.  They can’t admit to liking songs or shows they like because those are considered “for chicks.”  They cringe at knowing anything about women’s clothing or makeup or decorating, etc.  They would rather die than be seen doing something considered feminine.  Frankly, life’s too short to need to adjust your tastes to keep people from judging you.  Getting rid of that tension/fear by just being brave enough to ignore the critics would help a lot of men lead happier lives.
 
 
At the same time, I think it would absolutely help decision making generally if men stopped worrying about being perceived as macho.  And honestly, I don’t mean that men should be put into skirts to make them better people.  What I mean is that men need to learn to use their minds freely without censoring themselves to protecting their masculinity.
4.  Can you talk about your journey as a writer?  What was the process like for you in terms of reaching the point where you felt ready to put your work out there for the world to see?
I started writing science fiction in seventh grade.  It was garbage, but I loved the process.  For years, I dabbled, but not well.  Then, after college, I started writing forced feminization stories.  I kept these to myself for years, however.  In the meantime, I wrote a book in another genre and had it published.  That book took me four years to write, because I was literally teaching myself the skills I needed to write a book as I went.  But having developed those skills, I felt a strong desire to go back to my feminization stories and see if I couldn’t make them better.  When I really liked the finished product, I decided to start sharing them.  The rest is history.
5.  What has been the most positive aspect of publishing your work?
I think the most positive aspect is the number of emails I get from people who tell me that my books touched them in some way.  That may sound strange since I don’t write particularly sentimental stories, but I get a constant stream of emails from people who say that one or another of my books helped them understand something about themselves or made them feel like what they wanted really is out there.
6.  I’m sure my readers would love to know about your current and upcoming projects.  What’s in the works?
I’ve got several books in the works.  For one thing, I’ve got about a dozen more books from the past that I’m re-writing to get those published.  I’m also working on a book with another author (Domina Dixon) — we’ve been talking for years now about writing a book together and are just looking for the right angle to take.  The biggest thing though is that I’m working on the follow up to “Grounded in Heels.”  I must have nearly two hundred requests from people over the years to write a sequel and I figured it was about time to do that. 🙂
 
Thanks for the interview!
5 Questions with TG author Ann Michelle

Futaba-kun change! (Spoilers)

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Has any scene in any TG media ever so perfectly captured the core of gender fluidity like the transformation scene in Issue 1 of Futaba-kun change?  Futaba, a young man who has just noticed girls and become “fascinated” with their bodies, sneaks into a bathroom stall at school with a porno magazine.

For the first time, he looks at a beautiful woman’s naked body, and his brain lights up.  He imagines the naked body of the girl he has a crush on, and gets more and more excited until– he suddenly passes out!  When he wakes up, he feels strange, pulls open his shift and stares in the mirror at his breasts, and the pretty face of the girl he has become, shouting, “What the hell?”

Three boys enter the bathroom.  They see Futaba standing there, nearly naked, and immediately they charge toward the shy new female in an aggressive, threatening manner.   He can’t believe it.  He is a woman, and men want his body!

Futaba.  Oh, Futaba!

That scene, where Futaba looks at the beautiful woman, wants her and then becomes her, perfectly captured my own murky dreams and fantasies.  From the time I started to awaken, I always wanted both.  I would look at pictures of beautiful girls, fascinated by the shapes of their bodies, and I would desire them and desire to be them.  So often my dreams went that way, oftentimes starting off fairly mundane, thinking about some cheerleader in her little pleated skirt, and then somehow we would switch places, and I would be her, and then we’d switch back, or we wouldn’t.

A woman in a writer’s group critiqued one of my stories– this was an attempt at a mainstream, non-TG story– she said my male character wasn’t realistic.  “Men fantasize about bodies,” she said.  “Women narratives.”  She explained the theory, which I have since seen elsewhere, suggesting that men catalog and dissect- check out those legs, that ass, those tits.

Women fantasize in terms of narratives, that is meeting some guy who sweeps them off their feet and takes them to Italy for a whirlwind romance.

Well, guess what?  I always fantasized about both, and I think more men do than the theory realizes.   Back in the day, Playboy used to feature little interviews with the girls with questions about their hobbies.  What was that but back story to go with the body?

In any case, I always fantasized about both.  I thought about bodies, and I thought about those bodies in stories, about people in stories, and always and forever my characters were always switching, changing, morphing, turning into each other or into versions of their own fantasy women and men.  For me, what Futaba experienced is perfectly normal, at least in terms of psychology.   To both desire the female body and to want to experience what it would be like to be desired always merged in my mind.

I think Freud said somewhere that we long to become the things we desire, which in turn inspired Roth’s novel in which a college professor is transformed into a giant female breast.  That can talk.

If you don’t know Futaba-Kun, check it out.  It’s a TG comic for grown-ups and deals with a lot more adult issues than, say, Ranma 1/2.   Some of the book certainly falls into the “let’s see a guy deal with the crap girls deal with everyday” world, but much more the book explores and challenges the notion that male or female is inherently better, and follows a character along as he explores life as both a female and a male and comes to understand himself in the process.

English ebook here!

Futaba-kun change! (Spoilers)

Of Ribbons and Bows

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Of Ribbons and Bows

Hey, all!  I just posted my latest ebook, Of Ribbons and Bows on Amazon.

I am especially excited because I decided to explore a different style of writing for this story. Usually, I write in what I consider a clear, direct and cinematic style influenced by writers like Ernest Hemingway and Stephen King.

With Ribbons and Bows, I decided to try two things.  One, I wanted to write in a more oblique style, allowing my reader to feel as confused as my protagonist.  He finds himself displaced, taken out of his element, surrounded by women.  He begins to have feminine urges and visions which confuse and terrify him, and I wanted to create a style that would leave the reader disoriented and confused.  I don’t explain everything, but just allow some mysteries to linger.

Secondly, I tried to make this work more atmospheric than previous works.  This whole book I wanted to surround and drown my reader like a thick, London Fog, to haunt their dreams with images that would resonate long after they finished reading.

Of course, I also wanted the book to be sexy, and so I wrote a series of hot sex scenes featuring the various characters, scenes in which bodies and genders blur, where they find themselves lost somewhere between male and female.  This book is all about the struggle for dominance, and the character’s bodies and minds shift and morph as they fluctuate between tops and bottoms.

Did any of it work?  Well, I put the book out there, and now it is up to the readers.   Check out a free sample at Amazon!

Of Ribbons and Bows

And then Kirk almost made out with a Klingon (Spoiler Alert)

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    The ship heaved.
     Uhura was thrown out of her chair, against the rail, against Kirk.  But this time she caught him.
     She snagged him with one arm, and the rail with her other hand, and held them both against the tilt.

     She felt the ease and power of doing it, felt her incredible strength and his small astonishment in her arms.
     He clung to her for a moment on simple reflex, and then leveraged himself out of her arms, touching her arm for an instant in a display of gratitude.
                                       

In my 20s, I threw my original copy of Star Trek, The New Voyages, in which the above story appeared, into the garbage along with all of the other books I had which portrayed sex changes and what I would now call gender fluidity.  The story featured an adventure in which Captain Kirk, Uhura and other members of the crew have their sexes reversed by alien technology controlled by one of Kirk’s old foes, a Klingon named Kang.

I found the aspects of the story in which Kirk found himself in these kinds of typical female situations fascinating and erotic.   I played the images over and over in my mind;  Uhura, big and broad shouldered, powerful, catching the dainty little Kirk in her arms, he looking up at her, shocked and giving her arm a little touch, and, I always added in my imagination, blushing as he realized how good it felt being held in her powerful arms.

This was an era when the women in adventure stories seemed to spend a lot of time being caught and held, rescued, carried after twisting an ankle, and I loved the thought so much of Kirk being put into that position. Other little details pleased me as well, details that may only have made into a story written by women imagining what it would be like for a man; at one point Kirk discovers that he can’t reach all the controls in a shuttle craft because they were never designed for someone of a female’s size in mind, and in another case he struggles to find phaser belt small enough for his slender waist.  He hides one of the little hand phasers in his cleavage.
But most of all I reveled in the adventure story reversals, especially those involving sexual dynamics:

“You look quite precious.”  Kang ran an appreciative eye over Kirk.  “Ravishing.”

 
      Kang did a slow survey of Kirk, suddenly reached out and lifted Kirk’s chin.

     Kang shook his head.  “You will walk or I will carry you.”  He shot out a hand and grabbed Kirk’s wrist, started to drag him along.

     He was on his feet, pulling Kirk up to his knees, finding his chin again and tilting his face up.
Being ogled.   Physically dominated.  Condescended to as Miss Kirk.   It all thrilled me in ways to this day I don’t understand, and my fantasy life became filled with these kinds of images, leading right up to one of the most fascinating parts of the story.    The Enterprise escapes from the alien planet and along with the Klingon ship, which has now become an ally with every member of the crew but one having been turned into a female, returns to star base. Jim Kirk begins to believe that he is stuck as a woman, and he starts to wonder what life will be like, especially… sex life.

He pretties himself up as much as he can allow himself to given his lingering male attitudes, goes to a bar and see if maybe he can hook up with someone.  A man hits on him.  He is flustered.  Kang shows up and rescues him from the awkward situation, they flirt and leave the bar together, planning to “explore an aspect of the problem.”  It seems Kirk is about to spend a night on his back, curling his toes, but then his boyfriend– oops.  I mean first officer– Spock shows up and puts the kibosh on Kirk’s silly, girlish impulses.

So many times I played out the end of the story differently.   Kirk, a horny young woman, supermodel beautiful we are given to believe, essentially becoming the female version of his old self– a slut, in the double-standard terms of our times– and the struggles and trials that would face him.

I love this story and read it many, many times, always adding my own little twists and additions.

And then one lonely night, half drunk, I tossed it in the trash.  Single in my mid-twenties, living at the time in a trailer in the woods of North Florida, where traditional hetero-relations were the only thing accepted in public, and anything else could get you fired, beaten or worse, I felt lonely and wanted someone to love.  I felt like something was wrong with me, and if I could just stop reading these stories, stop allowing myself to entertain these gender fluid fantasies, I could become normal and be happy, accepted into normal society.  I would throw away all my stuff I had that was, I had decided, twisting my mind, and I would make myself normal by pure force of will!

Well, I didn’t..   Books thrown away, I still kept returning to those ideas that had been woken up in me, kept playing out those fantasies.  A few years later I began going to used book stores and searching for this book and others I had thrown away–  like Thorne Smith’s Turnabout, and eventually I found and bought a copy for 1.95, a crumbling, yellowing copy I still have to this day.
I love what I love, and I dream what I dream.  And today I accept that even if some people still don’t.  And when I do write my own TG stories, I like to imagine that sometimes my story is the one someone finds for the first time, and reads, and realizes that they are not alone, that someone out there has the very same dreams and visions.

The story is entitled The Procrustean Petard, written by Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath. It appeared in the collection, Star Trek, The New Voyages 2.

Check it Out on Amazon!

And then Kirk almost made out with a Klingon (Spoiler Alert)