Kitty Pride and Professor (really) X (Spoilers!)

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So, do you remember the time Professor X tried to do it with the teen-age Kitty Pride, but it wasn’t Kitty Pride but actually Baron Karza, the supreme enemy of the Micronauts?

The subplot, featured in the 4 issue x-Men and the Micronauts mini-series, flirted with Sub/Dom TG.    Baron Karza, trapped in the body of a female and dressed like a slave girl, on his back in such a vulnerable position, his arch-enemy, dominant, ready to make his move.  In the book, realizing his enemy intends to have sex with him, Karza tries desperately to distract his enemy, to keep him busy, because Karza feels physically helpess and unable to defend himself.

To understand the dynamic Chris Claremont was playing with, understand that Baron Karza was the Darth Vader of the micro-verse, the ultimate bad guy.  Like Vader, he always wore armor and a helemt, a cold, distant figure, inscrutable.  He ruled over others, had an near-omnipotence in his realm, and could even take on the form of a centaur, cementing his status as an emblem of masculinity and virility..

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So, for him to find himself trapped in the body of a girl, helpless and in the clutches of a predatory male was as close to a total reversal as could be imagined.

The added level of kind of strange pervyness was that the villain is actually Professor Xavier, and, of course, Kitty Pride was one of his students.  The story line didn’t really delve too much into this, and there were never any ramifications beyond the mini-series, but it was a very interesting, human and flawed Xavier that emerged.

A third little bonus for me was the fact that I had owned many micronauts as a kid and loved them, so now one of my favorite toys had merged with TG fiction, and I was in heaven.

In any case, these kinds of role-changes are very interesting to me.  Karza very quickly chose to play the helpless maiden, seeking to flatter and cajole and manipulate the man who wanted to have sex with him, all his usual shouting and bravado gone.  Yet, he was still Karza, and he was just waiting for the chance to try and kill his enemy.

How much of femininity is simply practicality?  Would any intelligent man, placed in Karza’s situation, resort to passive, feminine strategies?  Would many women, if they were bigger and stronger than the men in their lives, take on the dominant role because they could?

These are the questions I feel we can explore in genderfluid fiction, readily and overtly.  Of course, Chris Clarement, author of the series, didn’t have the freedom to pursue the story line very far or very deep.  The most he could do was play at the surfaces.   But that doesn’t mean, and I am sure others, haven’t written fan fiction in which Baron Karza remains a teen-age girl, and where he comes to find the pleasure in surrender.

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Metanoia

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Writing for me is learning, and I have been digging deep into Greek mythology lately as I dive into work on my next novel.  I feel like I have been in a rut, and I have decided to challenge myself now to create a bigger, deeper and more complex TG story than any I have ever made.  I know this much– the story will feature Zeus, King of the Gods and the embodiment of male virility, being stripped of his manhood and turned into a goddess, now the goddess of marriage and females while Hera becomes King of the Gods in his place.

I have always done research for my stories, whether it was researching the cities and locations, looking up recipes and police procedures, the impact of different drugs or even the history of the bra.  But this time I have delved deep into Greek mythology and done more research than ever, reading primary source myths, looking back over texts I had read before, like Metamorphosis, and reading up on the views on mythology by thinkers such as Otto Rank, Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud.

I am looking at these stories and characters as archetypes who ruled over aspects of the masculine and feminine, and I am going to explore slowly, carefully, and very deliberately what will happen when the God Zeus, most powerful of all male figures, finds himself gradually turning into a goddess, and now the goddess of marriage and females.

Hera, meanwhile, will become more and more the essence of the virile man, and I will explore the changes in her as well as she gains and loses in her own transformation.

The Greek myths have also been of interest to me.  Early on, when i was very young, I was attracted mostly by the shape changing.   As someone who was never comfortable in my own skin I always loved the idea of being able to transform into an animal of some sort, of being freed of the burden of myself.

But the universe portrayed by the Greeks also offers a lot to me as a writer now.  The Greek Gods are epic fuck ups and prone to surrender to their passions far more than to any kind of logic.  Justice is capricious and even non-existent.  People who really did nothing wrong get turned into flowers or statues, deer or warthogs.  Gods who do everything wrong suffer no consequences.

And the relationships are fraught with dysfunction.  Zeus raped Hera, his sister, and she married him out of shame.  She once drugged him and helped the other Gods tie him down as part of a plot to overthrow his rule and he changed in her the sky and made her suffer.   How fun it will be to explore their relationship as Zeus finds firm young breasts blossoming on his chest, as he grows smaller and weaker, while Hera gets bigger and stronger.  How will Zeus react as he finds himself losing his power as God of the sky and Lord of Lightning, and instead finds himself the goddess of marriage, and the object of his husband’s lust?

My process for these stories involves many things including the creation of images and art that I am inspired to make as I write and which in turn inspires the writing.   The image at the top of this article came about because as I was researching the story I kept seeing this image of a statue of Zeus in transition, now with his own breasts, and I just had to make it.   I will be making more.

I also look to other sources, music, videos, films, and right now I have entered kind of a fevered state where I am just writing, writing, writing, making art, looking at movies.  It’s kind of a creative obsession, which is when I am at my happiest.

The idea of writing something with the Greek Gods first occurred to me sometime ago, when I thought I might a story in which the Greek Gods are reincarnated in modern times as gender reversed versions of themselves.  Gods reborn in modern times has been done before in comic books and TV shows like The All-Mighty Johnsons, but even though I made some artwork I didn’t feel as excited by it as a do now.   Here’s one image I made back then:

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But the idea didn’t ignite, and it just kind of floated around in my mind until I decided instead to set the story back in ancient times and to create what, to me, would be a new series of Greek legends, ones which featured those traditional Greek Gods facing a genderfluid moment together.  I would even go so far as to say my ambition is to create a religious text for genderfluid people using these iconic figures of masculinity and femininity from the ancient world.

I want to do something epic, something I have never done.  I am excited by the challenge and the possibility that I will fail, but I know also that I won’t be bored.

I hope to have some readers who can say the same thing.

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!

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!

Does The Soul Have a Gender?

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Each time I start a new book, I look for something new to explore.   Almost all of them have, of course, dealt with gender identity, but with most of my books I start off asking a slightly different question, or exploring a slightly different scenario.

For the book I am working on now, I started with the question which serves as the title of this blog– does the soul have a gender?  I have occasionally included religious dimensions in my work, usually Christian, but this time I am exploring the idea of reincarnation.

I know in some cultures the idea persists that the soul takes on a female form when it is less spiritually evolved, and that as one progresses in their lives they eventually get to be a male. However, I reject this notion, which I believe reflects patriarchal and misogynistic cultures and their fear of women more than any true spiritual understanding.

I believe that neither male nor female is a superior or more evolved gender.  I believe they are different identities and that each has its strengths and weaknesses.  I believe both males and females are capable of creating life and beauty, and both are also capable of destruction and ugliness.

The cyclops.   The sirens.  One crushes with brute strength.  One lures you to your death with the allure of their beautiful voices.   We need both the masculine and the feminine and all the gradations in between.   The most evolved cultures honor all and live without fear of any.

I don’t know where any of my books are going as I write them.  I just write and see where the characters take me.  Sometimes, readers have complained about my endings, but I always feel like I am ending the stories where I need to.   Right now, having started with my questions about the soul, I am just letting the characters go where they please, and I am really enjoying writing my mythic exploration of this idea as my main character slowly comes to realize that he has a female soul, and how that knowledge impacts him in his current life.

 Here is an excerpt:

The water felt warm and scented oils clung to his smooth leg, the sweet odor of eucalyptus rising up to meet him as he stepped in completely, sliding down into the luxurious waters, and the candles flickered and he sighed as the water rose over his soft, swaying breasts, and he sighed softly, arching his back as he ran his hands his breasts, lifting them and squeezing his legs together as he remembered the way Chris had fucked him…

Craig opened his eyes, looking down at his hands on his flat, muscular chest.  What the hell?  He’d seen himself as a woman.  Again.   Had… loved seeing himself as a woman.  It had felt so good, so real, so…. Right?

Everything was wrong.   So wrong.   What had Chris done to him?

NY Times on blurring gender lines

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Breaking Free of Boundaries

I dream a dream of fashion anarchy, where people just wear what they want depending on who they feel they are on a given day or a given time of life.

And unisex clothing is not the answer.

Today’s New York Times features an article on the blurring of gender lines in fashion, with more and more designers opting for unisex clothing lines in which all their items are sold without any male/female labeling or identification. The clothes are awesome, and I support and applaud anyone who likes them and wears them, but I long for a more expressive world.

And what would that more expressive world look like?  That world, to me, would include fashions that fell everywhere from the extremely feminine to the extremely butch, and in my world people could wear whatever they felt like on any given day in any given season.  If a woman wanted to dress in “dude” clothes, she could, or unisex, or if she felt like getting all dolled up and showing off all her curves, that would be fine, too on any given day for any reason.  Ditto a man.

What I see in the pictures that accompany the articles are a bunch of gorgeous, rail-thin models with androgynous features, all hints of curves or angularity hidden beneath loose, baggy clothes. The designer Kimberly Wesson, who wears her own unisex fashions, complains that her friends plead with her to wear a “sequined skirt” or to dress like “Joan from Madmen.”  Her designs are great, and she should wear the hell out of them, but why create a new set of restrictions in which unisex is an iron-bound fashion rule just as a inflexible and rigid a code as any other?  In which people are hiding their bodies?  In the name of being gender free, do we have to become gender-less?

I realize my vision for an expressive world that opens up opportunities for expression and includes more rather than less options may well be an unrealistic fantasy.  Even in my own writing I have yet to write a story where it exists, though maybe I will now that I think about it.  I think any trend that involves blurring of gender lines is a good trend.  The article asserts that more and more members of the younger generation are comfortable with gender free clothing, though, predictably, this trend is more female-centric as it has long been more acceptable for women to adopt men’s fashion that the other way around.

The changes are good, and I applaud all of the designers moving away from rigid notions of male and female clothing, but I want more.

I dream a dream of fashion anarchy, where people just wear what they want depending on who they feel they are on a given day or a given time of life.  I want total freedom all the time for everyone.