Traps Are Queer, Baby

So you have a “why boner” for queers. That’s okay ❤

Content Warning: discussion on transphobia

I explored the concept that anime fans tend to spew out called: “traps”. It’s a controversial term because of the implications that it has for the mentality that genuinely transphobic people have. One thing that I will criticize about this passion project is that I forgot to factor in the mental health of transgender people and what would drive them to the position of labeling “trap” as transphobic rather than reclaim the slur. I admit that I was starting to come to terms with being trans myself at the time and I feel the need to give a disclaimer about how much I have learned about myself, the LGBTQIA+ community, and the real gravity of the reality for this topic. Now that I have lived for half a year out of the closet with being trans and assuming a new identity, I have encountered transphobia for what it really is and how it manifests. I’ll summarize my other article, discuss the shift in discourse surrounding the term: “trap”, and discuss how any trans individual or ally can move forward with handling this term.

I will admit that I had originally wrote this essay for a class with the full intention of having it be published in an academic journal. Ever since I qualified for Medium’s Partner Program and received e-mails and DMs from readers who had their lives change for the better from the article, I have since rethought that academic ambition to keeping this streamlined for everyday use where it will help the most people. Patrons who support me on Ko-Fi and Patreon know my work and have the patience of saints as do some of my most loyal fans and readers who look to me for my insight on issues like this. I finally understood how to tackle this topic and came with a better understanding as to what people want versus what people need to understand better. So please do understand that your input on social media and in comments do help the development of these essays.

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I admit that I was being facetious and light-hearted with the essay by using humor to engage readers such as the framing of: “Are Traps Gay” as a premise. Ultimately the answer to that question reveals a delightful perspective shift that is often overlooked by…well…everybody. Think about it. Queer characters like Astolfo are designed to be feminine and succeed in passing the Uncanny Valley effect. I reveal this to be the effect that androgyny has with attraction by providing an anthropological perspective as well as just deducing online discourse to compare how ancient civilizations handled this same predicament. It turns out that if you break rigid gender roles, societies begin to become more socially flexible with romance and sex. This is not usually true with sexual orientation oddly enough. Standards gradually change and maintain a peculiar hierarchy to uphold what norms exist. Like saying: “idk, it is what it is” to explain how things are, not tackling a hierarchy even with extensive critical thought exercises tends to have detrimental impacts with how we treat one another. Examining gender roles and explaining how gender identity, gender roles, gender expression, sexual orientation and the nuances between terms are always necessary to make sure we’re all on the same page when discussing honestly complex issues like this.

Androgony Still Is & Always Will Be Central To The Human Condition

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Why did I focus so much on androgyny as a concept? I focused on it because of the specific ambiguity that comes with specific individuals who can both emulate and naturally showcase sexual confusion in individuals who conform to traditional gender norms. It certainly is interesting to note that with enough HRT and surgery, emulating this same effect can both bring inner peace with the individual suffering from gender dysphoria, but also achieving a definitive shift away from traditional hierarchies is something a person can be proud of achieving inner peace with in of itself with or without the need to have an acute mental illness. The concept of “gender nonconformity ” (aka GNC) is specific in the desire to break these norms. If being transgender means to “transition” from one sex and gender to another, I also believe it also means to “transcend” gender in of itself — hence why I believe most trans individuals are GNC by default. Fashion can often dictate what GNC looks like (like being a cisman who wears a dress and makeup or whatever cool shit that goes along that line of expression), but I have also come to terms with the idea that behavior also plays a huge role in GNC. ”Traps” play a bigger role in our fandom than fanboys give them credit for. In my original article, like stated earlier here, I explored online discourse with sexually confused people who find attraction in these characters and even go so far as to find attraction in such individuals IRL. It is a simple fact that not only are ”traps” gay, but the person usually in question has an attraction to a character in mind and doesn’t quite know what to do with themselves — so my usual answer is simple: you aren’t straight, fam — you’re at least bisexual or pansexual. This is a devastating truth for homophobes and transphobes, but it’s true. These queer af characters do not, by definition and just by existing as they do, conform to rigid gender roles and exist outside of that rigid worldview altogether. My prescription is simple: deal with it by coming to terms that it is okay to like queer people as they are and maybe try to explore a little more about yourself to see if you are queer too. You’d be surprised what genuine introspection can positively do to people.

The Real, Honest Issue With “Trap”

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I must then focus a shift to what real problematic usage of ”traps” really are. The real disconnect when a trans person/ally meets a confused weeb is two perspectives clashing. This may seem obvious and may be a source of frustration for activists, but for most people, it is not as obvious as we’d like to think it is. The average weeb is a consumer’s consumer. Critical thought is lost and what matters is what is on the screen and what makes them happy. This is a known fact that they are representative of peak consumerism — much to my dismay servicing such degenerates every day. What makes them happy are these cute, sexy characters giving them an exotic sexual rush. In other words, “trap” is code for a sexual object whether any of us like it or not. It’s primary function to most people is pornographic in nature much like how futanari are (in which I discuss in the original essay that futanari were historically created specifically for pornographic purposes). Where I personally came to an impasse with my fellow trans folk and allies was assuming that people had a desire or could be convinced that reclaiming a slur was a viable option. I was wrong. Maybe reclaiming the word “trap” really is not worth the political capital when the average weeb and gamer can just learn a few new words. That’s really it: just learn a few words and respect when trans people ask you to use the words that they prefer. This is a social issue revolving around common decency, not one based in policy that forces you to conform. In fact, the reality is the opposite. Transphobes are so against such a simple request that they would actively discriminate and end up supporting such people who are doing the things that they themselves are afraid of being persecuted for. That is what implications are at stake with this discussion. These small things go a long way and if you can understand this implication and what trans people are wanting from the average person, you would understand that it is not such a huge tribulation that one could find impossible to fulfill. So completely abandoning the reclamation of that word for better, more accurate descriptions (even if they are vague, umbrella terms) is far more helpful to everybody involved. Instead of saying “trap”, perhaps say non-binary, genderqueer (or just queer since that has been reclaimed), GNC, and even trans works!

Before, I was bothered with the linguistic semantics of the usage of transphobia and the idea that “Little Boy Who Cried Wolf” would dampen the weight of the word. But the more I experienced transphobia myself, the more I realized the real issue with previous usage by allies and trans folks. My issue with the usage of calling “trap” transphobic is not so much that the literal usage of the word itself is transphobic (that took me personal experience to differentiate), but the context of the individual using the term. If the individual who insists to use “trap” for their own sexual purposes and does not respect the wishes of an entire community, then there is a clear disrespect for the reality of what this community goes through. The primary fear that trans people have (especially minorities in the trans community), is being murdered by equally confused men who happen to value their masculinity more than the average weeb does and being sexually assaulted by TERFs in public bathrooms. These are real fears that even I must face every day.

TL;DR: work smarter, not harder.

Now, this is not to say that I am concerned about optics. Quite the contrary, I could care less if we all were more assertive and bitchier about correcting the record. What I am concerned with is accuracy and efficiency. There is just not enough time in the world to get into semantic arguments or being individual mediums for educating transphobes who feel that they are above the fray and claim that their media has no politics to begin with. So here is what I suggest from trans folk and allies: take a breather, assess the situation and who you are dealing with, then determine if the person is worth the time. Understand that everybody has a role to play — by that I mean that everybody has specialized roles for the good fight that needs to be fought. I understand that not everybody is good at persuasion or has the patience for it. I understand that there are people more willing and capable of holding every battle and getting in the mud with every transphobe at every opportunity. I’ve come to terms with this division of labor. What I ask is that if you are going to try to discourage the usage of the term “trap” that you have help and collaborate with others when doing so. Perhaps with more help, teamwork can bring the best out of everybody and ease the mentally taxing work and illusion that it is you against the world. With teamwork, you will and can accomplish much better things than this to achieve your goals.

Wrapping Up

How did I stop using the term “trap”? I simply made a conscious effort and accepted course correction by allowing people to let me know if I messed up and was forgiven for my mistake. It’s about habit breaking and for problematic terms, it’s much easier due to it being able to achieve in the short term than say losing x amount of body fat percentage in y months. I will gladly repeat what I had said earlier: start calling “traps” any of the following for accuracy’s sake (and purely being respectful to people who honestly do not need to deal with this bullshit): non-binary, genderqueer/queer, gender non-conforming (GNC), or just trans. You will be more respected yourself for being more accurate and not coming off as a total tool.

Last pro-tip: please stop getting pissy with the meme: “X Says Trans Rights”. Many don’t like it when we get pissy at Pepe memes, so let us have this while our rights get taken away routinely. The very least we can all do is do simple word changes and allowing us to enjoy memes. Simple stuff, fuckers. Peace, peace~

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Reikan is the author of Magical Phenomena light novel series, Vtuber, and an advocate for mental health, queer liberation, anti-fascism, and social ecology

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