Way back when, I made the seemingly rash prediction that in The Future, as distinguished from some small-f future unworthy of designation with the definite article, human genitalia would be temporarily hot-swappable: unhook your existing gear and try on something a little more suited to your fancy of the moment. While the strap-on business might be negatively affected, maybe, I didn't really see a downside to the idea: a weekend playing for the other team would not necessarily mollify someone with full-blown gender dysphoria, but it might be enough for those individuals who only occasionally yearn to be, um, somebody else.

And then having gotten to the end of that train of thought, I left it there, bringing it out only for a setup in a pony story: changelings, who according to canon could assume the appearance of anypony, were hiring themselves out as, shall we say, call mares. Maybe even stallions, were there the demand. And I am persuaded, based on observations of humanoids, that there exists all manner of unexpected demand — and inevitably, therefore, there will be supplies.

There has existed for the last couple of months a Web site called Transsexual Nudists, which modestly bills itself as "images of casual transsexual nudism." Now this site is part of Tumblr, and if there's one feature for which Tumblr is famous, it's for rapid replication of bad ideas and dubious pictures. (Tumblr's acquisition by Yahoo! in 2013 has changed matters hardly at all.) I would not have known of its existence, had not one of its picture posts been reblogged — gawd, I hate that word — by some other Tumblr blog.

Now this name triggered a memory: I had had a discussion on Usenet, circa 1996, with a woman from soc.support.transgendered, a newsgroup which at the time was one of the few resources available for trans people; it has since fallen into desuetude, though it's not yet All Porn, All The Time. She was quite insistent: if she wanted to disrobe at the nude beach, she would, and if people couldn't handle the apparent hardware mismatch, well, it was their problem, not hers. I conceded that this was probably the most rational approach, and left it at that. Still, in the nearly two decades since, I'd seen only one picture that might illustrate the situation, and I certainly wasn't expecting a flood of them.

So I dialed over to TN, and there were pictures. A few dozen pictures. And most of them looked like they'd been taken in the 1960s or 1970s. There were scant few trans people wandering around with their clothes off in this era, so I concluded that this was the not-bad Photoshop work of someone who really wanted to see women with wieners. Okay, fine; I argue with nobody's kink, and some of these pictures are pretty darn well done. (I have often suspected that many current pictures of trans women are faked; there exist shots of someone who looks a great deal like Taylor Swift with her, um, Tim McGraw showing. (Weirdly, I've never seen such a fake of Lady Gaga, who was once believed by gullible types to be so equipped.)

What perplexed me, though, was the sheer willingness of other Tumblr blogs to pass along these shots: almost all of them had a couple of dozen notes, each of which represented a reblog by someone else. There were occasional plaudits along the way, and one or two grumblers, such as this one:

Know the two models and the[y] are both bio Females, why do people fake these pictures?

Came the response:

Since you asked: For fun, fantasy, for the challenge, to get the public used to the idea of transgender human beings, to encourage trans folks to get comfortable with public nudity...

And that would seem to be the end of that: they're having fun indulging this particular fantasy, no harm, no foul. At least, one assumes there's no harm; I haven't read of any case where someone objected to being Photoshopped in this manner. And frankly, the more generic folks are a lot more convincing than the faked-up celebrities. Still, I wonder what it's going to take to keep people's spirits up between now and the time when pictures like this will become both real and routine — if ever.

Note: All the links, except the one pertaining to Gaga, should be considered Not Safe for Work.

The Vent

  14 September 2015

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