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Trick Question


Here, feel this.  (Patreon & book n/a.)

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Upon her return to Ponyville, Applejack learns Big Macintosh crossdressed at the Sisterhooves Social to help his little sister Apple Bloom. Obviously, Applejack knows Mac's behavior doesn't mean he has gender issues. If anything, it just shows how much he cares for his little sister.

However, something else happened while Applejack was away that can't be so easily dismissed.

It's time to talk.

Written for The Writeoff Association's "Illusion of Choice" contest.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 96 )

On this day, I felt a feel. It was a small feel that slowly grew larger as your nourished it over the course of these 1.1k words.

Now the feel is larger and squatting on my head like some sort of depressing gargoyle. Thanks for that.

I now declare this canon! Good job!

I like it. Not usually the kind of stories that I would read, but this had plenty of emotions, and it had a sweet ending. So thank you for giving this wonderful little story.

Mac needs a therapist, and not for the cross dressing. AJ hit it on the head here about him speaking. I've always suspected that Big red may have issues not suitable for a third grader's cartoon show. But what's the cause? That I find the most intriguing of questions.

Aww... You do an excellent job with Orchard blossom. Yay! More positive trans fics!

6512943 Uhh...Cross-dressing and transgender aren't the same thing.

But anyway- you got me right in the feels with this, the whole thing was just a pleasure to read :twilightsmile:

6513015
True, but at the end of the story she identified with the name Orchard Blossom, not just as a disguise, but as an identity. I will admit there's some ambiguity here though.

Good for him.

6513015
"Transgender" is a broad umbrella that includes ponies who crossdress for different reasons, so I don't think it's an inappropriate comment within the context of where the story goes. The story tries to be clear about the fact that Mac crossdressing one time does not imply he is transgender, but other events that transpire (some in the show, like the talking; some not, like the fact that he's done it before and continues to) which give Applejack concern about his need for support.

6513353 Well yeah, that makes sense :)

This makes me smile so much. It's rare that anyone portrays gender fluidity like this, and so well to. Well done. :twilightsmile:

Very accepting for a family so steeped in tradition. Guess this is what you get when there apparently isn't a religion denouncing such a thing.

This was amazing. Thank you for putting into words everything I was thinking as I watched that episode. Really fantastic job. Brilliant, and well done.

That was amazingly bittersweet. Wasn't sure what this was going to be, something I loved or hated. But this was fantastic, a very beautiful trans positive story. Kudos.

6513353 I've had people say that I was a crossdresser back when I had to wear women's pants. Still makes no sense to me. When you're so skinny it's gross, you don't get to be picky about your pants. Thankfully, I've put on enough weight since then to wear normal jeans,

This was sweet. <3

Well that was short but sweet. Thumbs up.

That was a nice read.

6515783 The story wasn't even about cross-dressing -- did you read it? The point is, even if Mac was playing a character, that character did something he NEVER does. Something he couldn't do even when in character as a SINGER performing his favorite song! Suddenly that amazing but quiet voice opened up and could say anything to anypony about whatever, rather than staying taciturn or laconic. That's the sort of change in a person that's notable outside of "doing it for family".

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0 #20 · Oct 11th, 2015 · · ·

What I do miss in most stories of the identity crisis kind is a bit more depth to the confict itself. While it is arguable that many things are to be implied, it does not mean abusing the "because others" argument wont get boring after some time. Well, it is the same for many tropes, but this type and the human in hugbox are quite frequent here. As someone pointed before, an insight to equestrian morale would enrich.

Still, its hard to find things that evoke this feeling of craving in our brains. I wonder why this particular sort of stories do that to this demographic. :derpytongue2:

I have to admit it was somewhat unsetting for me, but I am just like a little young pony who finds that the world's morals are little more tan helpful constructions, while he still holds fiercely to some he considers universal. In any case I love controversy, even inside my brain. Plus for that.

And now I have a craving to find more things to desire. No. Bad brain!

So in the end, the Princess Mac thing was given more story. Good use of the episode.

You know, Big Mac did steal Smarty Pants away from everypony else after Celestia undid the 'Want it Need it' spell. While Big Mac's communication barriers are important, maybe he's more feminine than he lets on, but since he had to be the 'stallion of the house' after his parents died, he's been suppressing his femininity for a long time.

I'm not saying that he's trans, and I'm not saying that he isn't, but he was forced to grow up sooner than most foals (he's seen wearing a halter when Applejack left for Manehattan when she was a filly), so maybe he has a lot of unresolved trauma that nopony ever noticed since he's always so reserved.

Also: yay for FlutterMac! :pinkiehappy:

The most surprising thing about that episode is how much Big Mac talked during it. I wondering if he just really shy about expressing himself? I bet he's pretty good at table top role-playing or LARPing or acting. As for other theories, why the hell not?

6515974 i totally agree with this! except the FlutterMac

6515912
A few clarifications in case they might help. :twilightsmile:

Something not being a choice doesn't mean it's genetic. It just means it's more psychologically complicated than deciding which pair of socks to put on, or even where you want to work or live. Being trans is not particularly fun for most of us, and for most ponies who are trans, the compulsion is incredibly strong. That's why the feeling and the need to transition persists despite the laundry-list of exceedingly terrible consequences it causes to your life.

As for the story, it's just a story, not an argument or a soapbox. The point of the story isn't to argue for headcanon, but to tell a story with familiar characters. If I write a story about Pinkie Pie being a changeling, that doesn't mean I think Pinkie Pie really is a changeling. It doesn't mean I want other ponies to think that she's a changeling, either. It only means I'm using her as a character to convey a message with written word. :pinkiesmile:

All that said, I went to a good deal of effort in this story to point out the fact that Big Macintosh crossdressing does not imply that he is transgender. I think his being able to speak in public for the first time is a strong psychological marker that would, in real life, lead me to suspect he might be wrestling with issues of gender identity. But I don't think that it actually means anything significant for the cartoon.

6515974
I actually disagree that Big Mac liking Smarty Pants is a sign of gender identity. It might show that he has a sensitive side, but boys can like dolls too. In countries like the United States where gender divergence is strong, not playing with dolls is part of the male role that boys are expected to follow, and that can ultimately tie into transgender issues; but playing with dolls doesn't make you a filly. :pinkiesmile:

That is all well and good... But, what happens when Diamond Tiara finds out...

Oh, nothing NOW. As you were, then...

6516307
I agree, it could be just the "it's not me" thing. That's a common situation in furry fandom: some fursuiters are extremely shy without the suit on, but personality changes completely when it's on.

6514488
I'm sorry but I don't know what religion you are referring to.
I assume you are implying that Christianity (or maybe Islam- Mormonism?) denounces transgender behavior.
I haven't studied Islam or Mormonism as closely but I know there is nothing in the bible that objects to a man dressing as a man or a woman as a woman or even a man dressing ass a woman (though it does object to women dressing inappropriately).
Mormonism is so fluid that even if the book of Mormon directly said that transgender are sick or sinful, all it would take is one prophet to say it wasn't so, and it would be doctrinal accepted.
Islam... Okay, I don't know. Maybe the Kuran rejects it...
and the eastern religions, I really don't think they care...
From this I conclude that any and all issues that transgenders encounter are the result of people not being flexible enough to accept an idea unfamiliar to them.
Ponyville contains Pinkie- of course they're flexible.

I wish this was more than a one shot

Aww, I love seeing some Apple sibling love.

6516522
I assume their point was that there are people who use their religion as a reason to discriminate against transgender people. You might not agree with their beliefs or would prefer they not associate those beliefs with this or that religion, but this doesn't mean it doesn't happen.

That said, religion isn't a necessary component of bigotry, and vice versa. Lots of people out there hate without using religion as an excuse, and lots of people who believe in paranormal things don't use those beliefs as an excuse to hurt others. :twilightsmile:

This story is just awesome. I loved that episode as well.
My brother used to work at a bar called the Hide and Seek Complex, in fact, I had my baby shower at the lesbian side of the bar. I worked in the restaurant when I was pregnant.
They had a drag show at night and I will never forget those guys. They were all the sweetest , most generous, most colorful and unique guys and honestly I feel more comfortable around a bunch of drag queens than "straight " men!!
I specifically remember this one guy who came in for lunch everyday, he came in wearing a business suit and he'd take off his shoes and put on a pair of pumps and red lipstick. When it was time for him to go back to work, off came the lipstick and shoes!
Idk why I felt compelled to tell that, this story reminded me of that place.
This is a really sweet story, good job, I really enjoyed it.

Ugh, right in the heart ;__; Thank you for writing this! ♥♥♥

I like how you made it just about crossdressing and not about transgenderism

6512763 I don't really know you but this is some good imagery I am getting

6518095 that's really all you need to know about me

6517323 Wait, is that how gay bars work? They have it split in to halves for guys and girls? That is way simpler than I was thinking >< ... I should get out more.

"Mac, don't you think bein' able to talk in public for the first time in your entire life might mean somethin' significant?"

:pinkiegasp:

Nice catch, there. I didn't even notice how that could be interpreted.

6518215 this one was. It ws really cool. It was huge, they had the main bar, then a country western bar, then a restaurant, another little bar on the back, a lesbian bar, and downstairs another one with a sexy toys store.
It was a really cool place

6518597 That sounds awesome! :) ... It sucks being stuck in Alaska, there's nowhere fun to hang out like that.

6518672 it was, it was a Colorado Springs legend. After regular hours they'd open it up to an all ages nightclub. A really awesome place. On holidays they would serve meals to the homeless. I actually used to give food away to homeless people too. I felt my baby kick for the first time in that place.
I wish it ws still open- sigh.
You're lucky to live in Alaska, I would LOVE to live in Alaska!

6518713 Everyone says that, then they winter here. Then they no longer like it. You walk 5 km for groceries in -40 just once and immanently rethink your life choices.

6518714 not me, I LOVE WINTER!! In Colorado we have some cold cold days too, but I'm sure it's nothing like Alaska. No, I could be very happy in winter land

6518890 I like winter too, I like cool, i like snow. I don't like the 3 months where it never peeks above 0 :P And the literal 20 hour long nights. And the multi day blizzards... I seriously do not know why people live here year round >> ... Mind you southern Alaska is alright, I'm in the middle.

:raritywink:6518901 Colorado has something like 360 days of sunshine, even if we do get a big storm the sun comes out and melts it right away.
Alaska is so beautiful.

6518218 I did notice it, and my thoughts were basically: He seems to feel more comfortable as Orchard Blossom. This could have two meanings.
a) He can drop his "strong male" attitude and just enjoy himself.
b) He feels more comfortable because he wants to be female, being transgender and all.
People online claim, that the behaviour Mac showed is making fun of transgenders, while I think: That's being transgender in a nutshell. I'm not transgender myself, but I had a similar realization, and as soon as I had that and could live it out, I was happier - like Mac when he is Orchard Blossom.

Comment posted by Wayward Sun deleted Oct 14th, 2015

That all being said, I like this fic. It takes Big Mac where the show couldn't. Very nice.

6522925
Although I can empathize with the sentiment, I'm not quite sure I'd go quite as far as labeling the episode transphobic. Somepony trying to fit into a role that they're completely unfamiliar with can be funny without being hurtful, as can the situation where somepony is trying to masquerade as somepony they're not. The mere fact that these situations involve gender perception doesn't mean that trans ponies are being lampooned: in fact, the situation was funny specifically because Big Mac wasn't transgender in how he was portrayed. I should add that even though everypony knew he was male, they still treated him as female when it seemed obvious that's what he wanted.

That said, I can totally understand ponies who were put off by the cartoon, and I'm not trying to start an argument over what is or is not socially appropriate humor. I just enjoyed the episode, and didn't personally feel like it was directly making fun of transgender individuals. (Of which I am one, many years post-transition, which could probably be guessed.) :pinkiesmile:

It would be nice if FiM had a transgender character, and if it lasts long enough, perhaps it even could. It would be a very strange topic, though. In the cartoon, everypony walks around nude all the time, so this would provide difficulty. Would their society be forward enough to treat ponies as the gender they appear to be based on secondary sexual characteristics: like, if Big Mac had surgery on his skull to look like a mare, would ponies treat him as female when he/she isn't dressed, despite his/her genitals being male (i.e. recognize the difference between physical sex and cultural gender)? There's a lot of heady stuff there that can't easily be targeted with a children's cartoon, but fans have already contemplated these questions. (Frequently for porn, but still.) :raritywink:

Another issue is the fact that the society is female-dominated. This suggests that FtM might face more discrimination than MtF, based on the give-and-take point of view on gender roles. So get to work writing stories, ponies!

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