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Silhouette

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Completely ignore if you like.  I just need to release some ideas from my head.  It comes in the form of a new story concept called Silhouette.  I don't want this one to be too long though, so I'm aiming for novella length.  The art's not the best either, as it's a little bit of a rush job, but it will suffice for clearing my head for the time being.

***

Over the weekend, while in a state of exhaustion, I randomly started reading some new manga.  It ended up being "gender bender" manga.  By which I mean, stories where a character (usually a guy) who is quite pointedly NOT transgender is by some weird (oft forced) magic shenanigans, transformed either temporarily or permanently into the "opposite sex". Usually in an otherwise normal real world setting. Mostly played for laughs. Almost assuredly with plenty of fanservice.

I grew up with a lot of this kind of gender bender stuff. It was an outlet for me when I didn't know transition was a thing yet. I used to hate that the main characters were always opposed to their transformations though (because I would've loved their "curse").  And yet I was simultaneously uncomfortable about the forced nature of the change (because I knew too well how much it sucked to feel trapped in a body that felt wrong).  But since it was the closest thing I had to a story that I felt even vaguely validated by at the time, I kept coming back to these through my teen years.

And then there's the fact that if I didn't waste my youth wishing for some easy solution to magically poof me into a girl, I might've actually pursued transition a lot sooner.  Escapism and wish fulfillment have their value, but I didn't have a Rain growing up that could depict the reality of transition to balance it out.  And I needed that a lot more than I needed magical poofing that was never actually going to happen.  

Now that I'm older, wiser, and transitioning, I can't help but focus on the more problematic elements.  I can still enjoy these kinds of stories as a bit of a guilty pleasure, but since I'm transitioning now, I'm essentially already living my dream.  I no longer need that vicarious bliss like I once did.  And it makes the parts I don't like about these stories stand out more.

***

If you follow the Rain Webcomic Facebook page, you might have read a lot of these musings already.  I shared these thoughts and many readers responded with theirs.  The discussions were interesting and varied (and delightfully civil).  It got me dwelling on all this even more.  And perhaps with the fact that NaNoWriMo (aka National Novel Writing Month) just started, the creative juices just flowed.

"I wonder if I can write a better, less potentially offensive gender bender that focuses on more real issues.  One that removes some of the more problematic elements and offers a more unique perspective for this type of story."  I don't necessarily know if I can, but challenge accepted!  Silhouette was born from this notion.  It will allow me to explore the fantasy of gender bending versus the reality of transition... and further delve into the wonder and harshness of both.

I don't want to get more specific than this yet.  I would much rather let the story do the talking for itself.  I'll give the characters' names for commenting purposes, but that's the extent of story details you're getting for right now.

From left to right:
Dana, Harper, and Giselle

And as soon as Rain - Volume 3 is done, I'm going to direct some of my free time to this (it won't get in the way of typical comic posting though).  But that's why I had to draw this and express some of my thought process.  This takes Silhouette out of my head, and allows me to return focus to Volume 3 distraction-free.

Not much else to say from there, so back to my real task for now.  ^_^
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Misfile comes to mind.  
It's a webcomic in which an angel misfiles some things in heaven, which changes things on earth.  Emily loses the last two years of her life, and Ash gets turned into a girl (physically).  It doesn't really address any trans stuff by name, but Ash has to deal with being a guy in a girl's body, sexism, and being seen as gay now, stuff like that.  
where can i find this misfile?
kinda already found it... ^^;
Kinggigasmon's avatar
Your writing is already incredible, so I have no doubt you can make such a story. Your characters and their struggles already had me thinking about these issues myself.
MyThoughs's avatar
Giselle kind of looks like you were Knives Chau for Halloween :)
BlueDuckee's avatar
I feel much of the same way towards gender bender comics, for the same reasons =P I'm very curious to see what you do with the concept though ^_^
drakesfire101's avatar
Very interesting. Cannot wait for this and Magical to start. 
Animasword's avatar
This is a very interesting idea. I've tried to read a couple of series like this, but they were all fan-service heavy comedies, so it'd be nice to see one with a little more thought put into it.
breawycker's avatar
Ah. I remember when I was young and too stupid to realize the connection between my obsession with MtF gender bender stories and being trans myself. Oh wait that was like 2-3 years ago.

Still excited about this though! Gender benders are a guilty pleasure for me.
flex35's avatar
I am very interested to see how you take on a gender-bender story. Seems like the better stories I know of, come from web comics, rather than manga (very annoyed at how many of the manga quickly sink into forced adult situations). Heck, most of the web comics I follow that don't have LBGT etc theme to them, seem to write LBGT etc characters better than most mediums (though I will admit other mediums are getting better).
MDXLR's avatar
Somewhat related,somewhat not but I freaking love your art!
SailorDolly's avatar
A philosophical thought on "regular" gender-bender stories: Such a story (in which a cis character is forcibly changed into the opposite body from what they are familiar with) functions as a way for cis people to imagine what gender dysphoria could be like.
CocoFaerie's avatar
It's a berry interesting idea hon, something I think I should examine deeper into myself, and it reminds me of...me, especially during high school.
Personally, I never really got much enjoyment from gender bender stories (comic er otherwise) that were mainly fanservice or ecchi, so you're not alone in that.  Seeing that made me write my own stories (The New Open Road) so it would feel more authentic & accessible, and why I like to read comics like Rain.
There is one other story I would recommend that I'm following, Magical Girl Neil ( www.magicalgirlneil.com ), which I think you will really like.  There's a few drawings featuring Neil on here DeviantArt, but I don't have the rinkus immediately on hand.
JocelynSamara's avatar
I was just told about Magical Girl Neil the other day, but hadn't had a chance to check it out yet.  It's definitely on my reading list though.  I could and probably should check out The New Open Road too sometime.  ^_^
Musicallover1234's avatar
I'll be interested to see your views on this and also how the story turns out, should be quite good considering that it is you.
BenjyBum's avatar
I'm sure it'll be great!  I look forward to seeing more ^-^
SilverRoseStorys's avatar
i like the outfit and design of Giselle :) 
and it would be nice to see your take on a 
 "gender bender"  story ^_^ 
for me the best 
 "gender bender" story i have seen is kashimashi :)
or princess jellyfish, but i dont know if princess jellyfish would be considered 
 "gender bender" story or not 
Undertaker972's avatar
im really interested to see how this goes
epic-agent-63's avatar
Can't wait to read this, as I know exactly what you mean with the Gender bending manga and Anime. Also I love Giselle's design!
BumbleBee95212's avatar
I totally feel where your coming from! Though I did enjoy reading them I always did get annoyed by those forced transformations and how the person always hated being transformed, also always found it annoying that i could never find one about a girl turning into a guy or if I did they were only doing cause they had too. I actually did find one Manga that was about a transgender girl, it was called "Wondering Son" if you haven't read it you should check it out! I remember how at the time i hadn't realized I was trans but still seemed to relate to every problem she was going threw and I remember getting pissed off when another girl in the series who was in the beginning wanting to be a boy change her mind towards the end, i kept thinking that if I was her I would've never had wanted to go back to being a girl, it was actually this thought that made me realize that I was trans. If it hadn't been for that Manga who knows how much longer i would've lived in denial. Anyways I look forward to seeing how you approach writing a gender-bender, i'm sure it'll be awesome!! 

If you actually read this thanks for hearing me ramble on, your my most favorite story teller on deviantart Heart 
JocelynSamara's avatar
"also always found it annoying that i could never find one about a girl turning into a guy or if I did they were only doing cause they had too."
The only gender bender I can think of where a girl becomes a guy, is Maze: The Mega Burst Space.  It's an old fantasy anime from the 90's.  It was campy then and probably very dated and sexist by now, but I remember being very drawn to it at the time for the themes.  Basically, the main character, Maze, was a girl who would transform into a man at night, and then back into a woman during the day.  The personality changed with their appearance and both forms dreaded having to turn back into the other.  There was also a kooky, little princess who adored and crushed on both of Maze's forms and called them "Big Sister Brother".  I thought it was funny then, but again, it's probably very dated now.  I just thought I'd throw that out there.  It's definitely not an ideal portrayal, but it's the only example I really know of.

And I do know Wandering Son.  It was important for me too, because I might not be writing/posting Rain right now if I hadn't stumbled upon it so many years ago.  I liked it a lot, but never did finish it.  Unfortunately, people keep telling me it goes all wrong at the end with stuff like you just described.  I would like finish it for the sake of closure, but I'm not rushing.
BumbleBee95212's avatar
Wow I can't believed you actually responded~! Sorry kinda excited cause your really just the best! Your the only trans person I know who writes and makes comics like I do so I kinda look up to you!

Thank you for telling me about Maze I think that sounds a lot closer to what I want than anything I've ever come across and I'll definitely check it out!

And I don't think Wondering Son goes completely wrong at the end, I think it's got more of a ending where the main character she wanted things to go a certain way but then life kinda changes it like life often does but I think it was pointing towards a happy ending for her. I just never liked how that one character changed her mind though I guess me getting angry at her helped me realize who I am so I'm thankful for that! But yeah take your time with it it's a good read! :)
chitttick1's avatar
Have you ever watched the anime "Kashimashi-Girl Meets Girl"? There is also a manga of it that I have meant to read but never gotten around to doing it ^^; It is also a gender-bender where a boy gets magically transformed into a girl (because an alien ship accidentally destroyed his body and blah blah blah). This isn't one that is like really done to laugh at the transformation or make fun of a ton of stuff though, it's actually a really sweet story and revolves more around the relationships between the characters--especially the main character, her best friend, and the girl who was his friend that he asked out and got turned down. There are some weird parts to it, cuz aliens, but overall it's one of my favorite animes and so sweet.
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