Animorphs as Trans Parable
August 5, 2017 11:44 PM   Subscribe

"When I meet trans people for the first time, especially in mixed company, I’ll sometimes try out this line where I mention Animorphs offhand, as if I don’t take it seriously, as if I didn’t spend the majority of my first puberty wishing that I were turning into a bird or a tiger instead of into a young woman. More often than not, trans folks will say something to me like, “Oh my god, right? Tobias was totally trans!” Cisgender people will usually take this as their cue to get another drink."
posted by Eyebrows McGee (8 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
 


Never really thought about it, but the thesis makes prefect sense. As a kid I was always a bit too literal-minded to make much of this kind of connection, and consequently I never much cared for Animorphs. Would've been good if I had, might've come out sooner than I did.

Thankfully, as the author points out, there's books with explicit literal trans themes these days, so even unimaginative trans kids like I was can find something that speaks to them. It's a better world than it was, still.

(Also there's so much potential for punning here, but I'm not sure if it'd be entirely appropriate... I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader.)
posted by Dysk at 3:33 AM on August 6 [2 favorites]


As a former weird little trans kid (and current weird little trans adult), I've been greatly enjoying the recent Animorphs renaissance. (this previous thread is also great!)
posted by ITheCosmos at 6:03 AM on August 6


I always like learning about the ways that people identify something in a book, movie, or show that is not seen by the mainstream audience. I'm sure there are lit crit terms for this ("reading against the grain," maybe?) but there's also something different when it is more organic, like what is described in the FPP, rather than coming from high theory.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:15 AM on August 6 [5 favorites]


I wonder if this is relevant to the popularity of Benedict Cumberbatch, who's been described as looking like the middle of an Animorphs cover transition.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:29 AM on August 6 [7 favorites]


Huh. Thanks.
posted by Night_owl at 7:47 AM on August 6


This is wonderful. I was (am) a huge Animorphs fan, and while I didn't get the trans metaphor with Tobias at the time: at the end of the series (spoilers), the war with the Yeerks is revealed and the morphing cube becomes open technology, and here's this painless, simple way to become your correct body in two hours. The book doesn't discuss the morphing cube's relevancy for trans lives but oh boy it meant so much to my trans sibling when I told them about it. They loved the hope of that little blue box.
posted by hapaxes.legomenon at 8:13 AM on August 6


Oh, Granny Weatherwax - please help me trans into a little old crone/animal who gets things done - and doesn't ache!
Sorry, too old for"Animorphs" and still missing Terry Pratchett.
posted by Mesaverdian at 11:51 AM on August 6 [3 favorites]


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