Hello, their lovelies! How are you doing today? In need of some entertainment? Looking for something new to watch on those lazy nights? Are you tired of how crossdressers/trans/non-bi are depicted in popular media? Despite that nowadays there is a general sense of political correctness, it seems that many characters are written with little to zero insight. That’s why I thought I could write about some characters in fictional media that are trans/crossdressers/non-binary that I found very heartwarming and inspiring.
Why did I choose this topic? Because I always felt uncomfortable with how these characters are portrayed in most parts of the mainstream media. More, in particular, MtF crossdressers are mostly used as a fun gimmick. An easy laugh. Movies/shows like that tend to reinforce an unhealthy stereotype that’s far from accurate.
In this article, I’m going to give my insight into some of my favorite crossdressers/trans/non-bi characters in TV series, films and a little more. All of whom have found a way into my heart and I hope they will do so in yours too! So if you are up for something new to watch, read on some of my suggestions below. I sure hope you find something you like!
1. How crossdressers/trans/non-binary characters are portrayed
Like I said before, I believe that in the mainstream media nowadays CD/TG/NB characters are portrayed very poorly. But that’s nothing new. Even though political correctness is pushing the main franchises to include more and more characters that fit within this description, it seems that they are doing it with no thought nor passion at all. They are just trying not to fall behind and each day is more obvious.
In the past, characters with these traits were banned, overlooked or ridiculed. Then, when the firsts screened appearances occurred, the tone in which these were portrayed, was very different for the women and for the men. When a lady crossdressed, it was a demonstration of courage and a strong will. Usually fighting for a right that because of their gender, was out of reach. On the other hand, when men crossdressed, it was a reason to laugh. A demeaning (bad) joke at best.
That happened for a long while until very recently. As society grew and the world became a (most of the time) more tolerable place for everyone, these characters became somewhat in demand. That’s why, afraid of losing money and position in the market, big empty-hearted corporations started incorporating more TG/CD/NB characters in their productions. But most of them are as bland as they come, present in the story just to avoid losing any public. That’s why I thought it would be a great idea to share with you these gems that I found.
Before we start with the fun part, some considerations first. Because I don’t want to spoil anything for you, I’m going to let you know previous to any major plot point if any. And lastly, due to regional differences in the streaming services’ catalog, it’s almost impossible for me to make a comprehensive list of where to watch these selections. That part is up to you! Get your loungy outfit, your favorite snack and it’s showtime!
2. Cardcaptor Sakura
Cardcaptor Sakura started out as manga (Japanese comics) from 1996 to 2000, and later an anime series with seventy episodes and two movies were produced, between 1998 and 2000. Written and drawn by an all-female group, CLAMP, it tells the story of Sakura Minomoto, a bright and kind ten-year-old girl who discovers she possesses magical powers when she releases the magical cards that were sealed in a great sorcerer’s book. Each card has a specific ability and all of them must be sealed again to prevent a catastrophe. It’s a very intense, happy and heartwarming show that I’m sure you’ll love. From the very first moment, you can see how well the characters in this anime are written: funny, mysterious and very lovable. You may find yourself laughing and crying at the same time with each episode. But worry not, for it is not tears of sadness. This series also features a lot, and I sure mean A LOT of different wardrobes that Sakura wears for her adventures that will inspire something in you without doubts.
In this show there are many characters that crossdress. Touya, Sakura’s brother for instance. He is a brave, understanding and protecting brother. Even though he constantly teases his little sister, he accompanies Sakura through her magical journey with his best intentions, from the shadows, trying not to get in her way. He is an amazing athlete, an excellent cook and a fantastic friend. He is depicted playing Cinderella for a school play in a very charming episode. Even though he is not very happy about it, there isn’t a single negative remark during the runtime of the show. He plays his part with his heart into it and proves what a heroic person he is during the events of the episode. He is an excellent person and inspiring big brother.
But that’s not the end of it, time to talk about the star of the show, Sakura-chan! Sakura is one of the most charming characters ever! Always trying to protect the ones she loves, she always finds the courage to fight through her fears. She has a bubbly and naive personality, in the cutest way, and she’s a very athletic young girl. We can watch how she grows during the show and develops bonds with friends, family and even rivals! Even though she is confronted with a wide variety of hard and stressful situations, she manages to handle them with the amazing strength of her true and honest heart. With the eventual help of her rival-turned-friend, Syaroan Li, a powerful and honest Chinese boy, a direct descendant of Clow Reed, the creator of the cards Sakura is trying to capture. Even though he appears to be tough, he has a very true and motivated heart, being a hero in his own way. In season two, it’s the turn for Sakura’s class to perform in the school play. And, luck has it, she ends up with the role of the prince, and her rival Syaoran Li, with the role of Sleeping Beauty. Then again, they all put their best efforts to not only perform but also save the day while dressed in the cutest outfits ever! With their uniqueness, each of these characters will find a way to inspire you to be more confident about yourself and etch their names on your heart!
There is one more character in this show, but before we go on:
For those who have seen it and those who don’t care about spoilers: Nakuru Akizuki is a teen girl that, when confronted by a pair of hers on why she chose to wear the girls’ school uniform, claims ‘’it’s much cuter’’ and further continues saying she has no gender and clothes shouldn’t matter. She is an entity created by the reincarnation of the magician Clow. She has a cheerful and happy personality and she’s very confident about her powers. I found her self-assurance something to look up to and reminds me to enjoy dressing up even more!
I won’t lie, when I found this anime, I didn’t expect much from it but I was surprised by how much I liked it and its characters. Part of the TYPE-MOON’s Fate franchise, this show is about a great war between two sides in search of the wish that the grail grants the winner. The integrants of both factions (masters), Red and Black, not only fight with magic and armies of their own, but they also possess the ability to summon a hero of past times (servants) to fight at their sides. The show is very fun and easy to watch but it gets a little gory at times. Many characters here have a well-constructed arch and either you will love some and hate others for all the right reasons. It features phenomenal chaos, in proportions that only anime can achieve if this is your cup of tea.
Now it’s that time again:
Because the show toys with the gender identity of one character, in particular, I decided to write under the spoiler banner. We are talking about Astolfo, the Black Ryder, one of the Twelve Paladins of Charlemagne. Astolfo is a trustworthy ‘’servant’’ with an unimaginable capacity for empathy towards others. Besides, she is incredibly cute! From the first moment she materializes from the past, she exhibits a lovable upbeat personality that is very charming. I found Astolfo’s unbreakable will to defend others very motivating even when she risks her life in doing so. I trust you are going to love this character as much as I did.
4. The film girl by Lukas Dhont
The girl is a Belgian film directed by Lukas Dhont and starring debuting actor Victor Polster. Written by the director and Anjelo Tijssens, narrates the story of Lara, a 15-year-old girl who dreams of becoming a ballerina and struggling with gender dysphoria. Word of warning, although not painfully tragic, the movie has some very dark moments that, if you are not in a good time, may depress you a bit. Maybe stick with a more joyful suggestion, like Cardcaptor Sakura.
This movie has many facets: for one, we get to appreciate Lara’s point of view, fears, hopes and wishes. And it comes all unfiltered. It will surely put you through a whirlwind of emotions. Good and bad. On the other hand, we can watch as her loving and caring father struggles to get across Lara’s feelings and open up her heart. A beautiful story of parenthood and adolescence.
In this film, we follow the emotional development of Lara, facing many obstacles in her path to happiness, but she goes on with a determination worthy of admiration. She pushes herself constantly in pursuit of her dreams of being a ballet dancer, not an easy task at all. Filled with many moments of raw emotion, Polster’s performance speaks with an open heart, making it easy to feel what Lara is going through.
5. And It is playtime!
For all those gamers reading this, even though they are classics, I couldn’t avoid mentioning some of my favorite characters in games.
● Final Fantasy VII
I’m going to start by addressing Cloud Strife, the main protagonist of Final Fantasy VII, one of the best-selling RPGs games of all time. Cloud is a former soldier who joins an eco-terrorist group that tries to dismantle a nuclear reactor in the city of Midgar. Cloud is a skillful swordsman, and a brave person with an honest heart, even though he tries to hide it under a harsh personality.
Without ruining anything for you, there’s a part of the story where, in order to infiltrate a brothel, Cloud needs to crossdress to do it. A little tip: when you get to this part of the game, be sure to check everywhere before infiltrating because there are different outcomes depending on how well you find some items. And if you are not really into retro gaming, now you can play FFVII’s remake with fully updated graphics and looks incredible.
One more honorable mention before we wrap this up. There is one character whose gender has always been subject to speculation, Kirby! Even though in the American market it was presented as male, the creator, Masahiro Sakurai, cleared all doubts about it being genderless. Kirby is a cute pink ball from the planet popstar that possesses the power to absorb enemies and objects to gain their powers. Facing all challenges with joy, I find Kirby’s ability to be a metaphor for taking the best of all around us and learning the lessons life throws our way. This adorable little character is present in a wide variety of games of all genres that are very friendly to play even if you are not the most experienced gamer girl! Be sure to check what game from the catalog is better suited for you, I’m sure you will find one you love!
And that’s it for today, or should I say “cut!’’? I sure hope that you give it a try to some of these and like them as much as I did! What do you think about these choices? And of the characters? Have you already watched or played any of these? Do you have any to add to the list? Please let me know in the comments, I would love to hear from you and read what you like! Remember to live fully, love yourself and great things will come! I’ll be seeing you all soon!