What are your first thoughts when you look at this small happy smiling anime girl in the image above?
Maybe you are thinking she just looks like your standard cutesy adorable type of character you tend to see often in many series?
You would be entirely correct in this statement and should think nothing less!
Granted her character in this show is actually a zombie but we’ll get to that in a minute…
For those of you who may not be all that familiar with the anime/otaku world let me begin by explaining just exactly how the word “trap” has been used by many in the community over the years.
The word trap in this particular instance as you may have guessed after me deciding to feature it as a “Trans-Topic” as opposed to placing it under a “Media Monday” post is used in a way you can probably imagine. It is used fairly commonly to describe, in a very general sense, a character who is for one reason or another implied to be “trapping you” by presenting as a gender other than their own.
Anime, manga, and the like is more filled with this particular “trope” then one may think initially if you have not been exposed to a great deal of it. It can arise in many forms, to just random moments, an episode or two, or even be the primary premise for an entire show in some cases. This can vary greatly from characters who cross-dress, actual physical transformations caused by fantastical means, or androgynous characters who may be hard to distinguish and/or are often “confusing” to others in many incidences. (I’m looking at you, Hideyoshi!)
In some cases as you may have guessed, however, some of these characters that people refer to as traps are legitimate trans people!
The first of my examples being the character I mentioned at the beginning of this topic! Her name is Lily from a reasonably newer anime called “Zombie Land Saga.” Lily, as I’m sure you may have guessed by now is revealed to be a young trans girl only towards the end of the series. I feel this is one of the most well done scenes in anime that has been done to this day to convey that she is transgendered in a very subtle realistic manner.
In the eighth episode she has a conversation with one of the other main girls in the show simply explaining about how she used to go by another name and giving a quick brief summary of her past explaining how her new name came to be. All the lead girls in this show are an idol group who are made up of the undead, hence the name of the series. You find out slowly how all the girls met their various ends with Lily’s death occurring from the stress of growing her first chin hair! If this isn’t as equally adorable as much as it hilariously expresses how some trans-females truly feel when puberty begins than I don’t know what is!
The next character I would like to discuss comes from an older anime released in 2005 known as “Paradise Kiss.” This show revolves around a group of fashion students primarily and their various other life struggles. One of the characters named Isabella is easily one of the most respectable representations of a genuine trans-woman I have ever seen in any anime!
This is another perfect example of a character whose “reveal” does not take place until much later in the series. I honestly questioned it somewhat myself when I first began to watch the show and had all but written it off feeling that I tend to do this in many circumstances as a trans-woman myself hoping to find such an amazing strong female character to potentially be transgendered!
The scene in which this is shown involves a flashback of her and a male lead from the show as children in which it shows the male character fully accepting her to the point he begins to design dresses for her to wear. When she first puts one on in front of him she is clearly very shy and embarrassed, with this almost instantaneously being erased from the full support of her friend. Since that day she lived her life as herself and that was that. Minor incidences do take place that portray some levels of discrimination at points, some of which you may not necessarily even pick up on in earlier episodes.
These are my primary examples of strong legitimate trans-female characters to appear in anime that are both so realistically presented.
A series named “Wandering Son” is one I wanted to mention very briefly as well. This particular show’s primary theme revolves solely around both a young trans female and a trans male. It portrays both of their individual struggles of being transgendered mostly involving a school setting. I highly recommend it to anyone who may be trans themselves or interested in the topic in general! (I say brief because I almost feel this show may deserve it’s own topic one day in the future!)
I would hope that some of you at this point would be beginning to understand how these particular characters, as many others, being referred to as “traps” is just plain incorrect and upsetting in a number of ways.
This term is often viewed in a whole other way than simply being used incorrectly on occasion. It can often tend to be looked at in terms of attraction and/or imply “sexual connotations.” I’m sure some of you have seen in past posts of mine that one of the number one things I can’t stand is when someone views transgender individuals as a fetish of any kind. The use of this word to describe and discuss characters who may be actual transsexuals or not only seeks to further enforce that this notion is acceptable in a number of ways.
I’m sure many view this as nothing but simple harmless banter. However, in this day and age where transgendered people have been placed in the “spotlight” more than ever in recent years I would really love to see it slowly cease being used if possible. I know this probably isn’t realistic to expect it to happen overnight. This is simply one of the more primary reasons I’ve always wanted to discuss this topic on some form of media.
I hope that even one person who may use this term on occasion would even slightly reconsider what the term “trap” can imply and mean to some. Potentially, maybe thinking twice about continuing to do so in the future.
Thank you so much for Reading!