FAQ: Dash's Secret · 12:20pm
Hi, everypony! In response to all of the wonderful feedback and support I’ve been getting about Dash’s Secret, I thought I would write a few words answering some of the most commonly asked questions about the story.
Where did you get the idea for this story? Why Rainbow Dash in particular?
Because she has a squeaky voice that makes her sound like a boy.
Seriously, that’s it. When I listen to Rainbow Dash’s voice, I don’t hear a teenage girl or a young woman, I hear a nine-year-old boy. This is interesting, and a sign of Ashleigh Ball’s great vocal range, since I find Applejack (her other character) to have the most identifiably feminine voice among the mane cast, even more than Rarity or Fluttershy. Eventually I started thinking about what might be behind Rainbow’s voice, and the rest all sort of followed on from there.
Wait, I’m confused. What exactly is Rainbow Dash’s deal?
I’m not really in a position to teach Gender Identity 101 here. If anyone has a useful website they’d like to recommend, I’ll put a link to it here.
In short, and this is very much oversimplifying how things work for humans in the real world, Rainbow Dash is a transmare. That means that she is a mare in all emotional and psychological senses, and identifies as one socially, but has a Y chromosome, and the anatomy more commonly associated with stallions. This is a problem, because it means other ponies are inclined to treat her as a stallion because of how she looks.
I should note that Rainbow Dash being a lesbian is more or less independent of her gender identity. I really only made that decision because I wanted her to have been in a relationship with Gilda. That will be coming up next chapter, by the way.
So is Rainbow Dash meant to be the only transmare in Equestria?
I wouldn’t think so, no. It’s true that none of Rainbow Dash’s friends have ever heard of a pony with gender identity issues. In fact, neither has she, which is a big part of her problem – she doesn’t have the ability to look at her own situation and say, “Oh, hey, turns out I’m trans, I guess that explains everything.” The reasons for this are twofold.
Firstly, Equestria lacks the mass media that we take for granted. It doesn’t seem to have radio, let alone television or the Internet. All it has is newspapers and magazines. In that regime, it’s hard for any small group of ponies to make their existence known to each other, especially when they really don’t want to make themselves known to the general public.
Secondly, I believe that Equestria has a less strongly gendered culture than most Earth cultures. Ponies usually don’t wear clothes, and there seems to be very little connection between gender and profession. Observe how none of the mane cast have ever been told that their careers and behaviours are inappropriate for a mare. One transmare who doesn’t experience body dysphoria might live her whole life without feeling the need to do anything about the fact that ponies think of her as a stallion. Another might find that it’s a big problem, of course. In general, though, I suspect that the fraction of ponies actually attempting a social transition is lower than it is in the real world.
The real reason, of course, is that that’s the story I want to tell. I wanted most of the problems she encounters with other ponies to be based in ignorance rather than actual prejudice, and I wanted her to need to discover her identity by herself – with the help of her friends, of course.
How does Rainbow Dash disguise her body? Surely other ponies would notice.
The thing is, the ponies don’t have visible genitalia on the show, what with it being a kids’ show and all. Because of that, the question of how Rainbow Dash disguises her genitals isn’t really one I can answer. For all we know, ponies don’t actually have visible genitals most of the time. Maybe they actually wear some kind of underwear. Maybe their coats are thicker in that area, so that it’s not so obvious. Maybe, as one commenter has suggested, they actually have magical retracting genitals that disappear when not in use. We just don’t know. Without knowing what the ponies actually look like in-universe, I can’t say what they would do in-universe to change their appearances.
That being said, I do have some ideas. Obviously, when “Sonic” first established herself as “Firefly”, she was wearing dresses that Fluttershy made for her. After that, Fluttershy used her freaky knowledge of sewing to make something out of the same material that aerial teams like the Wonderbolts use for their flight suits, in a colour matching her coat. The idea is that this could sit over her croup and crotch in such a way that it removed the outline of her genitals. I think makeup is enough to soften the lines in her face, and there is actually a fair bit of variance in the facial structures of mares and stallions on the show anyway.
Ultimately, I don’t know how a pony would pass herself off as a different sex. I believe, however, that a sufficiently ingenious and motivated pony would find a way, just as humans have.
Is Twilight going to be able to find a spell to give Rainbow the right body?
Spoilers! But suffice it to say that such a spell will be the focus of the upcoming chapters set in the present.
So, are you…
Nope. As far as I can tell, I’ve never experienced any gender dysphoria or other problems with my identity as a man. I didn’t really know what I was doing when I started writing this story. That said, both of my girlfriends do identify as genderqueer, and they have been exceptionally helpful in guiding me through the issues involved in writing such a story. I’ve also learned quite a lot in the process of doing research for the story and in talking to my readers, and I’m very grateful for that opportunity.
Why so long between updates?
Believe me, I would love to update more often! I’m treating Dash’s Secret as my most significant story, so I don’t want to rush it. It’s also not really flowing as easily as some of my other stories have, probably because I have some very firm ideas of where I want it to go, but I’m not so sure of how to get there. I also have several other fanfics in the works, and, of course, my responsibilities to my job and my girlfriends take up most of the time I’d like to use for writing. I will keep trying, though, and will get the next chapter out as soon as I am able.
Thank you so much for writing this! It means so much to me! How can I ever repay you?
You just did.
I’ve had so many messages thanking me for writing this story, and I treasure every one of them. I never thought that I could make a difference to so many people, for doing something that I enjoy doing anyway. Just knowing that my work has been helpful is something that really helps me keep working on it. If you really enjoyed it, tell your friends about it!
Another thing I’ve learned while writing this story is that there simply isn’t enough transgender-related fanfic out there, for this or any other fandom. There are a few others in the LGBT Group here on FimFiction, which is great. It would be great to see more, though, so if you feel up to it, give it a try!
Once more, thank you to all of my loyal readers. I’ve had a great time writing this, and am looking forward to writing and publishing the next chapter!