on April 14, 2010 by Austin in Events, News, Comments (0)

Gender Bent, Not Broken In Holiday Fete

SpinDizzy’s first recorded Gender Bender holiday came through on the 3rd of April in Dolphinholm, with the chance for people to try out different gender roles or components a well-attended affair. A “dressing booth” for changes was provided, and tokens allowing for an in-character sensible temporary transformation were left scattered around the city.

Though no lasting revolutions in gender or interpersonal relationships have been reported many people tried out something for the day at least. Mina, tiger, explained,  “It is kinda fun being male! But everything feels a little different. It’s like I got glasses or something. Plus, I’d have to get all new clothes if I stayed like this a long time.”

The most remarked-upon change was in Beltrami, who appeared as a rooster. From her description:

Beltrami is a smoothed, transparent rooster, a chanticleer standing proud high. His shape is most basic, not anthro, wings that end in the pleated impression of feathers instead of fingers. Only his feet can be used to manipulate items.

Dolly, his brother, is a brilliant red comb stuck to his head, and a black snood for his bill, and a gold cape to decorate Beltrami’s clothing. Mischa is blue leggings that cover from toes up to Beltrami’s hips.

Nigel, spotted hyena, took the chance to try something considerably different as well:

A lanky hyena, tall, with tan fur interrupted by black spots. His black lips are set off with a rosey lip gloss, and his eyebrows stand out dramatically with pencil.

More dramatic, however, is what he seems to be wearing: A kind of patchwork quilt of carefully sewn together pelts of various species covers him like a second skin. There’s skunk and some sort of tiger. Here wolf and bear. The orange fur of Vixens figures prominently, including the scalp between his ears, someone else’s long blonde hair flowing off it. Something makes you suspect that all these hides are female. Otherwise all he’s wearing is a colorful shawl, wrapped around himself for some degree of modesty.

Other transformations were subtler: Mayor Jaxen became a vixen — a change foreshadowed in the days before during what were described as tests — and several people, including Garrison the skunktaur, Jukka the deer, J.P. the winged squirrel, and Dragoncat appeared in gender-swapped versions of their typical bodies. Dragoncat, who has been experiencing a series of physical transformations which leave the name no longer strictly accurate, took the day as the chance to debut a new fennec-raccoon body which, in male form, has been worn since. Nyni appeared in his newest form of a caracal. Valleyminks, usually a pack of minks of various genders and ages, reported having a gender balance different from the usual, although we would have to take their word on it.

Others took a more minimal approach: BunnyHugger, devilbunny, cross-dressed for the part in sporting a dark brown spotted necktie which was not Lieutenant Columbo’s, as Lieutenant Columbo would know if she had taken it. Austin, coati, and furless since a sudden case of winter-fur shedding, put on long eyelashes, a neckerchief, and a pink bow on his tail.

Leslie, meanwhile, was Leslie.

Despite its ultimate success the day was not without controversy. While, as noted in the community Livejournal, people on Spindizzy are known to change genders on occasions, the planned convergence of so many simultaneously brought out fears. The event was relocated from the Rose Garden to the Dolphinholm in order to emphasize the in-character and wholly voluntary nature of the changes or the need to react to the changes.

The event also brought a spirited debate on the difference between “gender” and “sex,” with Fuzzy, marsh rabbit, left wondering, “Is it heteronormative day or something?”

BunnyHugger noted, “Usually ‘gender’ is taken to be a social category and ‘sex’ to be a biological one. Although some people will tell you that only words have gender, properly speaking. That’s more old fashioned though.” Cadge-Tuesday, dual squirrel, explained, “Tuesday has a male body ’cause she shares mine but she considers herself female. So her gender is female. But I guess maybe her sex is male, kind of.” Jukka and BunnyHugger discussed the usefulness of distinguishing between gender and sex particularly in the modern world of more publicly differentiated gender roles.

It is still not perfectly clear how to tell whether Dolly is male or female.

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