Happy Bunny

For a long, looong time I wasn’t sure about sharing these photos, but I reached the point where I figured ‘what the hell’…

I must be nuts to dress up like this. Speaking of nuts - don't ask.

I must be nuts to dress up like this.
Speaking of nuts – don’t ask.

When scouting for locations for photoshoots for a calendar I was making for friends in 2012, I cast my search far and wide. One of these early springtime searches took us to the coastal town of Dunbar, which has a couple of roundabouts on the approach.

When we drove past, I noticed one of them was chock-full of daffodils, and surrounded by trees. The cogs started going round.

I already had a vague idea for an Easter-themed set of photos. Maybe, just maybe, I could do some tongue-firmly-in-cheek Easter Bunny shots?

I already had a bunch of clothes that could be repurposed as a bunny girl costume. I just needed the ears (from a dirt-cheap party shop), and maybe a chocolate egg as a prop (the supermarkets had nothing else). I ended up getting a small, handheld wicker basket from a charity shop to put eggs into, as well. It’s all about the details.

...because the eggs are what everyone's going to look at, obviously.

…because the eggs are what everyone’s going to look at, obviously.

All I needed was a location. And to lose a load of flab. (I got kind of paranoid about the latter, virtually starving myself and getting the most merciless body-shaping underwear I could acquire on a budget.) There are a ton of photos showing rolls of flab spilling over the body-shaping stuff which will never see the light of day, because I am vain.

The only other thing to do was hope like hell the weather would be good early in the morning at weekends, for as long as the daffodils lasted.

I can’t remember if it was the following weekend, or the weekend after, but after checking a nearby place to park on Google Earth and resigning myself to the fact that the morning sun wouldn’t be in the best position lighting-wise, we ended up at this roundabout again at 7am on the first Saturday morning of April.

...because bunnies are renowned for... uh, laying eggs...

…because bunnies are renowned for… uh, laying eggs…

This should be enough to tell you that 1) I get some really daft ideas and follow them through from time to time, and 2) I have the most understanding fiancÊe in the world.

It was damp and cloudy and not too warm. The daffodils were cold and wet with dew. I put down a rug and took off my coat and stood in the middle of a roundabout dressed as a bunny girl and asked aloud, “What the fuck am I doing? Seriously, who does this?!

It took a while to get into the right mood for it. A few initial shots to see what the lighting and framing was like, but also to get the right posture and expression (“the tits are real, but the smile is fake” and all that…)

Spreading happiness, good cheer, chocolate, and myxomatosis...

Spreading happiness, good cheer, chocolate, and myxomatosis…

In the middle of one of these poses, an early-morning bus rolled past. As you might imagine, all the passengers suddenly pressed their faces against the windows to check out the bunny girl in the fishnets standing next to the road. I waved at them. I like to think I enlivened their journey into town, anyway.

Okay. No problem. Time was marching on, and the roads were going to get busier. Hopefully we wouldn’t take much longer.

A few more photos later, a car passed by and honked the horn. I think the driver liked my tail. He actually drove around a second time with his window wound down, and shouted “You look lovely!!!”

I can make it twitch, too.

I can make it twitch, too.

I didn’t dare shout back, in case he lost control of his car. His journey was certainly brightened up.

More photos. I have this thing about checking the ones which have been taken to see if any need to be retaken. I mean, there’s no point in taking all those photos, only to find a bunch of things wrong with them when you get back home, right?

My audition for the Playboy mansion did not go well.

My audition for the Playboy mansion did not go well.

And that’s when I noticed, in the distance, a police car heading straight for us.

I immediately dropped down and hid among the daffodils, my mind racing, thinking of potential upcoming newspaper articles about the weirdo tranny bunnygirl at a Dunbar roundabout, with my mugshot right next to them. The police car kept coming. How would I explain this? I wasn’t breaking any laws, surely? Would I get fired from my job? What the hell would my friends and family say if it hit the papers?

Her ladyship decided this was hilarious, and a photo should be taken for posterity:

Bunny in the headlights

Bunny in the headlights

And then, at the last possible turning, the patrol car headed off in a different direction. I breathed a massive sigh of relief. I damn near laid a few rabbit pellets right there.

I decided that three vehicles passing by was too busy for my tastes. We finished off and headed home. This was the first time I’d gone out cross-dressed just to take photos, rather than to meet with friends. Maybe it was the adrenaline rush, but I really enjoyed it; it was like a quick mini-adventure. I got hooked.

This Easter Egg was gone in sixty seconds...

This Easter Egg was gone in sixty seconds…

As for the location we were actually scouting in the first place? I’ll talk about that another time… 😉




The Kids Are All Right

I reckon the future’s in good hands.

I recently had the chance to help out and speak at a couple of school events dealing with gender issues.

In the first, I only provided links to some recent brain studies and helped prepare a presentation for two teenagers, made in front of about 1500 pupils and teachers. Their talk was powerful, highlighting the death rates among trans people, from suicides and murders, and making the case for (among other things) gender-neutral school uniforms. They did a bloody good job, too – it’s really quite uplifting when things like that happen.

The fact that they got the chance to do this – and the lengthy applause afterwards – made me wonder if we’re reaching some sort of turning point.

In the second, I got to speak to a pupils’ lunchtime group which discusses LGBTI issues, led by a couple of teachers. I won’t repeat what I said, since much of the information has already appeared in this blog (and the rest of it will appear in future posts). My main goals were to inform, reassure, and – when possible – to entertain.

The teachers appreciated the fact that I had citations for everything I said, and the pupils appreciated the fact that I covered a wide range of sex, sexuality, gender, history and culture (kudos from one girl when I included asexuality with the other types).

But if the group response was anything to go by, I think what they’ll *really* take away from it is my impersonation of Australian cuttlefish…

LGBTI kids still face a lot of discrimination, but public awareness is growing. Doubtless, things will improve further as more parents understand what their children (or their children’s friends) are going through and seek support.

In some schools in the UK, more pupils are challenging the rules on uniforms – skirts for girls, trousers for boys – and schools are starting to adapt.

Kids are more aware of these issues, because they are already part of the world they are born into.

Me, as depicted by the 4-year-old daughter of one of my friends...

Me, as depicted by the 4-year-old daughter of one of my friends…

In my own experience, a couple of my friends have been happy for their kids to see pictures of me, or meet me dressed up.

“[She] saw and liked your new Wild West photos.
She said, “Cool! He must have fun being able to dress in both boys’ and girls’ clothes.”

It probably helps when you can provide a friendly, familiar face (if not a respectable one…) 😉

“…it was interesting to me when she met you in full Twist mode because it challenged her expectations at an age when she was probably quite binary (genderwise)”

Obviously, openness and acceptance aren’t going to happen everywhere, immediately. But they do seem to be spreading and accelerating.

“Twist is the biggest challenge to identity norms I’ve offered my children.”

It’s going to be interesting to see where this all leads. A couple of years ago, I introduced a talk by Nathan Gale, who expressed the hope that trans- and intersex issues would be mainstream within Nathan’s lifetime. Back then I wasn’t so sure, but now… hm!