COMING OUT 2023 STYLE
I saw an article about a YouTube celebrity who recently came out as a trans woman. It was on the Buzzfeed.com site headlined MrBeast YouTube Star Kris Tyson Just Came Out as Trans. It appeared on July 23, 2023.
Being unfamiliar with the MrBeast YouTube channel, I looked it up and found that it was one of the most popular creators of videos on the site. Based on the descriptions, MrBeast does many different unusual things on camera that apparently are wildly interesting to millions and millions of people. Kris Tyson has been a co-creator since their beginning in the mid-2000s.
According to the BuzzFeed article, Kris came out on another YouTube channel run by Anthony Padilla. “I am a woman,” the MrBeast star told fellow YouTuber Anthony Padilla in an interview published this weekend. “I’ve never said that publicly, but I’ve been fully confident in that decision for over a year now.”
In April this year, Kris told her audience that she had begun taking hormones because viewers noticed a change in her appearance. But she was still not sure or ready to say that she was trans. From the interview: “For a while, I was trying gender fluid. I was like, what’s making me feel like I’m bi-gender? What is tying me to this masculinity? And really, it was after a lot of talking with a therapist and a lot of self-reflection, [that] I realized it was really just the societal pressure of, ‘You’re Chris from MrBeast. You’re the guy that starts the fires. You’re the guy that builds the stuff.’ And like, my whole life, I’ve enjoyed doing those things, but I’ve never really felt like ‘the guy.’”
I found this article interesting because like many contemporary coming out stories, the changes and announcement seem so much quicker and self-directed than I remember them in the 1990s when I first encountered trans people in our Renaissance group in Philadelphia. I’m not fully versed in the transition process then or now but there was something called the “real-life test” and licensed therapists that needed to sign off on hormones and reassignment surgery. (Is that even the correct terminology anymore?) It was a long process for those who wished to transition completely and with proper medical and therapeutic care. Kris Tyson mentions consulting her therapist but she seems to have made her own declaration according to her own timeline and comfort level. The only thing that held her back was her own nerves and bashfulness. “For the longest time, even to say it to some of the closest friends, it would make my hands shake. I would get so nervous. But now, I can say I’m a woman,” she told Mr. Padilla in the interview.
Things move faster now than twenty plus years ago. Maybe that’s one of the reasons trans skeptics and critics are so freaked out by it.
NO CROSSING ZONE
I saw an article headlined Florida Transformers Convention Bans ‘Cross-dressing Cosplay’ Under State’s Anti-drag Law. It appeared on the ThePinkNews.com site on June 9, 2023. According to the article, the organizers of the convention said, “Due to Florida state law, cross-dressing will not be permitted as part of the cosplay contest or at the convention. TFcon has always been a convention where all Transformers fans can come together regardless of any differences.” They also put out a tweet stating that if LGBTQ+ fans felt “unsafe”, they could request a refund.
This is all part of the craziness of the right wing anti-drag hysteria and particularly Florida’s governor being at the forefront of that hysteria. Pink News wrote, “The vaguely-worded Florida Senate Bill 1438 had already sparked concerns that it could result in iconic shows such as the Rocky Horror Picture Show, or even pantomimes, being restricted in the state. But no one predicted that it might stop people dressing up as fictional robots from outer space.”
The Transformers convention is “one of the most inclusive conventions – let alone Transformers conventions – in North America” according to one online commenter. Others felt that the convention should be moved to a more inclusive state. It is planned to run October 21-23 in Orlando, Florida.
Crossdressing within the cosplay community is pretty common. It is known as “crossplay” and seems to be well accepted by the entirety of cosplayers – male, female, or nonbinary. One interactive gamer, F1nn5ter, who crossdresses convincingly while gaming in his own home, was covered in an earlier Diner. I saw this funny quote while researching a little further on crossplay: “I just asked my mother for a bra,” says Lee Hong Zhu, a 30-year-old administrative assistant who has been crossplaying for six years. “She didn’t ask what it was for. She just told me not to stuff it too much or it would look too fake.”
I’ve written a few times about the anti-drag hysteria and how we as crossdressers could get sucked into the vortex of activists supposedly protecting children from sexualized forms of entertainment. For now it is targeting the Transformers convention and crossplayers who may have wanted to participate. Will department stores, wig boutiques, and cosmetics outlets also need to ban “drag” in their stores lest some zealot accuse them of endangering any children who might be present?
I’m confident that this too shall pass eventually. But until then, we need to fight craziness that might land on our doorsteps and imprison us in our homes.
THE INTELLIGENCE IS ARTIFICIAL
I’ve begun to notice the creeping start of what I believe is artificial intelligence-generated photos on some online sites. I am referring to adult-oriented sites catering to porn, fetish, and crossdressing interests. I’m no expert (believe me) about so-called AI but I know a phony photo when I see one and it disturbs me greatly to see them popping up here and there.
The old adage “if it looks too good to be true, it probably is” applies here. And that at least makes the AI images somewhat easy to spot. There is a hyper-realism to the image that makes them almost jump off the page or screen. In the specific instances of provocatively dressed or undressed women, the curves are perfect, the skin flawless, the dresses or lingerie molded to the exquisite (and artificially enhanced) bodies.
I found this description of AI generated photos online: “AI-generated art is just what it sounds like—images generated using artificial intelligence and machine learning. Typically, they’re created with an AI image generator that creates images from text descriptions of what you’re looking for. In addition to generating images, you can use AI image generators to edit existing photos by analyzing and improving them without human intervention. For example, your AI image generator can remove red eyes, crop images, and create new images from your existing photos
So far I haven’t seen any crossdressers using AI to enhance their online images. I found the accompanying photo online purporting to be a crossdresser photo but couldn’t verify it. We went through a phase when Instagram-type filters were being used to smooth out rough edges but that seems (mostly) to have run its course. The interesting thing about looking at other crossdressers in their online portfolios is that the combination of natural physical attributes and developed talent with cosmetics or fashion can create something that is both real and unreal at the same time. AI generated photos buries all that under a veneer of beauty but leaves the viewer wondering what they are really looking at.
I am hoping that AI generated photos will not overrun the true images because there will always be a market for genuine images. Imagine if all the online daters began using AI versions of themselves. Or if that crossdressing sister you’ve become infatuated with online turns out to look ten years older and fifty pounds heavier than her image promised. Let AI settle into a niche market for people who want unreal perfection.
People have become accustomed to computer generated images (CGI) in films. Photoshopping images has been around for a couple of decades – and ‘airbrushing’ photos even longer than that. AI is still in its early stages so perhaps its use in photos (and text) applications will be reined in lest we all become cynical about anything we see or read.
WE AIN’T GETTING YOUNGER
I recently came across an article about aging rock stars. The weird thing is that it was written in 2013 – ten years ago – and some of the names mentioned were still going strong this year. The article was Our Elder Rockers Have Outgrown Our Descriptions. It appeared on the Independent.co.uk website on June 27, 2013.
The gist of the article was that the word ‘rock’ has such a youthful connotation that we need a new word when discussing 70-year old (and older) rock stars who are still filling arenas and stadiums. Now, some of those same rockers are touring in their 80s (I’m looking at you, Ringo Starr). Bruce Springsteen is in the middle of a summer tour at age 73. The Rolling Stones are purportedly going to tour this year with Mick (80) and Keith (79) back on stage again. Googling for classic rock bands on tour came up with a formidable list of groups with members in their 70s, I’m sure.
So time marches on. And the demographics of crossdressing reflects the same indefatigable attitude exhibited by aging rockers. When you love what you do, you do not want to give it up. Crossdressing photo galleries on many sites are filled with sexagenarian, septuagenarian, and even a few seeming octogenarian crossdressers. An old friend of mine recently reconnected and told me of her adventures out and about at 75 years of age. Aside from the internal satisfaction we derive, crossdressing is about appearance and perhaps that consciousness about appearance (along with cosmetics and a good wig, ha) keeps us young, sort of, as we approach whatever milestone birthday may be on the horizon.
Apropos our aging demographic, the online dating site EHarmony is running a commercial with a very sexy lady of a certain age. She was identified by someone as Kata Csongradi, an actress of 70 beautiful years. Getting older isn’t what it used to be. With a little effort, some artful makeup, and good hair, you could be the next Kata.
THE LOWRIDER RIDES A LITTLE LOWER
Apologies for fracturing the old War song Lowrider lyric. I was put in mind of that song when I saw a brief article about Kanye West’s new wife wearing a low riding skirt in public. It appeared on a site called Toodat.com on August 9, 2023 under the headline Showing Your Butt Crack is the Latest Fashion.
Kanye’s lady, Bianca Censori, is shown here in a skirt that not only rides low on the hips but also loose around the waistband allowing a peek at her derriere. The article’s author called it “plumber chic” in reference to the well-known stereotype of visible male derrieres when workmen bend over. I find the term ‘butt crack’ kind of cringey myself. However, while looking for other evidence of a new female fashion trend of exposing the top portion of la femme’s rump, I found that the proper term is “intergluteal cleft.” Work that into your next conversation to impress your friends.
Try as I might, I couldn’t confirm if the low-rise, derriere-peeking skirt or slacks were really making a comeback. It seems to be a one-off attention grab by Ms. Censori – who was also wearing a sheer bra top at the time. As the man said, “If ya got it, flaunt it.”
Of course, we have seen instances of derriere decolletage or rump revelation or fanny framing in trends gone by. Back in the 1990s when thongs became popular, it was considered daring for women to let a portion of the thong be exposed above their beltline so everyone knew they were being a bit ‘naughty’ underneath. Some red carpet gowns have dipped daringly low to reveal at least the topmost curve of the booty. I was pleased to see that 1950s actress Vikki Dougan was mentioned in relation to the phenomenon. I wrote about her several months ago as being renowned for her bare back gowns in the post-war years. In the 1970s, the low-rise jeans fashion allowed admirers to ogle derrieres of both sexes covered in skintight denim just barely suspended on youthful hip bones.
Alas, like many great fashion ideas for the fairer sex, accenting the gluteal muscles is not an easy thing for crossdressers to pull off. We don’t have the same hip flare or mass of rump meat that makes it so much a part of female sex appeal. However, if you feel that you are the exception to that rule, “back it up” and let’s see what you got.