Monday, June 13, 2011

Transgender Cosplay

This past weekend, I spent Saturday at A-Kon 22 in Dallas, TX. It was my seventh straight A-Kon to attend and the 17th anime convention I've attended overall. I generally spend the entire weekend at a con but teaching and financial concerns limited me to just one day this year.

I've always loved anime conventions and only wish I'd discovered them before I was 23. One thing I've always enjoyed doing at cons is cosplaying. Below is a picture of me cosplaying as Yuki Nagato from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya at A-Kon this year.

I've always appreciated the generally open and accepting attitudes of con attendees. Anime cons like A-Kon were the first and, for a long time, the only spaces in which I felt comfortable expressing my transgender identity. While occasionally someone gives me a strange look or make a rude comment, I've found con attendees to be accepting of crossplay, the term coined for cosplaying characters of the opposite sex.

It was only last year that I thought a little more about crossplay as it applies to me and other transgender cosplayers. The key phrase in my definition above is "characters of the opposite sex." For a long time I fully embraced the term and appreciate the value of the term for creating a space for people to express their love of anime characters, regardless of gender. But I'm now beginning to wonder about the applicability of the term for me. I no longer consider cosplaying as a female character crossplaying for me personally; as a woman, it's only natural that I would choose to cosplay as a female character. Crossplaying for me now would be dressing as a male character should I ever choose to, as unlikely as that may be.

The tradition and acceptance of crossplay among anime fans, while a positive thing overall, becomes problematic for a transgender cosplayer. I noticed this weekend in comments about a "male Yuki" or a girl correcting her use of the pronoun "she" to "he" when explaining to her friend what character I was dressed as. Another example from last year would be a con acquaintance asking my name and after I replied "Lucy," he then asked for my "real" name instead of my character's name (which was actually Azmaria).

The acceptance of crossplay means that anime cons remain a generally safe space for transgender fans. I'm still deciding how to take the next step and figure out how to more fully communicate my identity as a woman and as a cosplayer.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Sounds like you had fun. My daughter was there, too. She brought her pictures over today. I'll have to look for you in them.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. There are several advantages and pitfalls in cosplays and let us have a peek at it. For more information on cosplayhero click me. You can find more details on cosplay hero click me.

  5. This article is interesting and useful. Thank you for sharing. And let me share an article about health that God willing will be very useful. Thank you :)

    Cara Mengobati Gondok Beracun
    Cara Mengobati Gabagen
    Cara Menghilangkan Varises