• Member Since 1st Jun, 2013
  • offline last seen 11 hours ago


Trans Queer Plural Artist - Writes the queer stuff, and the existentially queer stuff. They/Them/Theirs unless specified.



Dusk Shine is completely fine with being a stallion.

Sure, he doesn’t like it, but I mean who does, right? He isn’t good enough to be a mare, like his friends are, so there’s no way he could be transgender.

Feeling out of place and alienated around his closest friends has to be some kind of friendship problem, and that is what he’s here to study after all.

Maybe once he fixes this hole in his heart, he’ll understand why his friends seem to want him around. Maybe he’ll even be somepony who deserves them.

Content Warnings: Moderate internalized transmisogyny and associated gender trauma, detailed depictions of panic attacks.

Sex tag for: Some very saucy cuddling and kissing, and vague discussion of genitals in a transition context.

Proofreading and editing by our lovely partners, Kataponies and FlutteringLillies.

Cover art by ourselves. Find more of our art at humanwhodoesstuff.com. Title lettering graciously provided by Kataponies.

Chapters (8)
Comments ( 105 )

I read this when it was in Beta and LOVED it!!! I’m absolutely gonna read it again! :raritystarry:

Holy crap you have no idea how much this hit me. I haven't cried from reading fanfic in who even knows how long! When I got to the agender part, I was at a loss for words -- can't say I've seen much representation on that part from this community. It legitimately made my day to see something of myself in such a beautifully written fic. Thank you so much for bringing this into the world, my friend.

Thank you very much! It means a lot to hear that, you've made my day by saying so! That's exactly the kind of thing we hoped to do by writing this! It may not be exactly the same, but our kind of gender journey isn't represented nearly enough, especially in pony fic!

Such an incredibly lovely story. Thank you so much for writing this.


Thank you for reading it! That means a lot to us!

Already favorited by the first chapter. You have a fantastic handle on how the characters talk, and just the way they talk through it gives me warm fuzzies.

Thank you! That’s some very high praise, it means a lot to us!

Great story wish I could have read Celestia's reaction to the letter but lovely story

There's a sequel in the works that deals with Both Celestia's, and Twilight's parents reactions, so look forward to that!

This was a beautiful story! I’ve been struggling with dysphoria recently and I think this story helped me.

Thank you! That's so amazing to hear, I'm glad!

Damn, this is being slept on. This was great to say the least

so. i went into this with pretty solid expectations. the comments did a pretty good job building it up. and it uh, definitely surpassed them. to an astronomical degree. i certainly wasn't expecting it to scoop my heart out of my chest and cradle it so gently in its hands. to perfectly encapsulate so many of my own feelings around gender and the reasons we perform it. besides the obvious obligatory timeline reasons for setting it in season one, it's also perfect for this story in a meta sense, those first twenty-six episodes being the catalyst for so many of us in this subculture of a subculture. and it also means so, so much to me to see such a wonderful, unexaggerated, down to earth portrayal of an autistic twilight, whether intentional or not. pinkie's little paragraph on her own gender was my first sign that this story wasn't just above my own expectations of quality, it was well above my expectations of nuance and representation too. it's really something special. i'm interested to see where a potential sequel goes, but i also think that closing out with a letter to celestia is the most beautiful ending this story could have.

sorry that this is kinda scattershot, i really struggled to get all my thoughts in line. this story kinda scrambled them in a very very good way. one thousand thank-yous from an autistic, agender-adjacent trans girl.

Thank you so so very much for this beautiful feedback.

We’re Autistic, and view Twilight the same way, so it was very much intentional! We were a little worried honestly about not stating it outright, but there never felt like an organic spot to do so. So we’re incredibly happy that came through!

As someone who also discovered our gender through MLP, by specifically projecting so incredibly hard onto Twilight Sparkle, we’re really glad we could do that emotional journey justice.

You’re praise is everything we could’ve ever hoped to accomplish with this story, and phrased thoughtfully and elegantly as well. We really can’t express how much you made our day!

I. Adore this.

(And not just because you seem to have just straight up written my biography you lovely spying little sneaky you... yous!)

I almost wish this was written when I first started reading stuff on this site, ten years ago, just to see how different my journey would have been.

Because I did press myself to come up with actual critique this time I do have some things to say that are not actual problems that I have so much as things that may be problems for other readers. One of them being that this felt instructional more than experiential at times. This is Twilight Sparkle narrating for us, so it makes a lot of sense why it can come off that way, but that is something that detaches certain people, and so I think it's worth noting.

There is also the matter of the pacing of it all, which does feel awfully fast. Again, it captures a very Twilight Sparkle vibe; of course she would fast-track solving a problem once it had been revealed to her as one, especially something this important. And even though my own experience has taken years to get to the point we end on here, it still felt like things were changing so quickly sometimes. I just am a reader who absolutely loves to stew in a work, and would rather something be too long rather than short. But also I am fully aware of how exhausting long-form stories can be to write, and the fact that it's as long as it is already is an impressive feat in my eyes.

But again, even if those were issues for me, they would be washed away by all the raw unfiltered euphoria that radiates off of every single paragraph, some illustrating the sheer enormity and beauty of being trans and autistic and polyamorous and discovering yourself in a way that leaves me in utter envious awe! There is a deep understanding of the power of words and literature evident in some of these sentences that is truly impressive, and fully appropriate given our character of interest.

And it's all made so much more powerful by how personally resonant it is for me. This is the most I have ever seen myself reflected back at me in a work, and I can't stress enough how happy it made me to read.

10/10. 10/10. 10/10. 5/5. 5 Stars. A++. SSS. Perfect. 100%. Incredible. I love it with all my being, and I am unfathomably thankful for its existence.

Thank you so much, that’s amazing to hear! We’re especially glad the story has started to find folks who resonate so strongly with the specifics of it!

We’re kind of with you on the length thing! We too prefer too long over too short. Which is why we have several 50k+ word WIP fics that aren’t even halfway finished.

Sparkle was a commitment in making a story we could actually finish! Though we do have several Sparkle side-quels in the works that’s explore some specific little premises in a more zoomed in and relaxed paced way. So hopefully that may satiate the need for more content!

I am 100% here for all of it.

I...am at a loss for words right now...

This might just be one of the best things I have ever had the joy of experiencing! I am not even talking in terms of fanfics for MLP or even fanfics in general for that matter! I mean like this is literally now one of my favorite pieces of fiction barring nothing! MLP G4 is already my favorite piece of media, but I struggle to think of a single episode that I enjoyed as much as this story! As someone who is autistic and very much currently questioning my entire existence of some things I am definitely not prepared to confirm at the moment this makes me feel things that nothing else has ever done! I believe that is the highest honor I can bestow! I might be jumping the gun here because I literally just finished this story, but this is my unfiltered and scattershot gut reaction to it!

Aside of how amazingly you have handled all forms of LGBT+ representation you tackled in this story, the character writing is on another level! Everypony feels familiar yet so fresh and refined at the same time! Pinkie Pie is notoriously hard to write for but what you did for her what nothing short of genius! Fluttershy, my personal favorite character ever, also had an incredible role in this story! Yet those don't even match watch you did for Twilight Sparkle here! She feels like her even towards the beginning of the story! Despite her not knowing what she knew further along in the fic at the time it all still felt so in character for her!

This story is a work of art! I am very much excited to see the potential sequels and side stories that you have mentioned!

Also, I suppose the first line was a lie. I had a lot to say about this story!

Hearing you say this is one of your favorite stories period is such an honor to hear! And it's wonderful that it resonated so heavily with your own feelings! Thank you for your lovely comment!

This is a wonderful fic and really well written. wonderfully emotional to can really feel the struggle that Dust/Twilight are having.


I lub sum wholesome stoof like dis *squees excitedly*

Ikr?! Aaaaaaaahhhhhh I've been squeaking and making weird mlerp noises since I started reading this!!!

I knew things like misogyny were real, and I wanted to be a good pony, so I couldn't just ignore it. So I just... learned to carry the label of stallion around with me, like a dead weight attached to my identity. Something to be referred to when absolutely necessary, and otherwise ignored.

listen here pal i didnt come here to read my own callout post


y'all are very good at horse words

Thank you very much! And for your other comments too!

This was the cutest! I basically spent the whole time reading it hugging myself and grinning.

Everything flows really well, and I was cheering at all of the main character's little successes and bits of progress.

The tone you have going on is basically how I imagine it would be if the show itself dealt with the subject of trans people, a reflection of real world struggles but in a fundamentally caring and supportive setting. With the largest obstacle being the main character's internalised issues and dysphoria, it allows the story to focus on her inner struggles.

My name is Dusk Shine, and I think the Elements of Harmony made a mistake.

At the beginning of the story we basically know how this will end, so there's an immediate dramatic irony in this line. It becomes clear quite quickly that what she means by this is that the element of magic should have been a woman, which it turns out she is.

The day I met my friends and found the Elements was the best day of my life. With that Spark burning in my eyes, everything felt so clear and right. In the weeks since, that clarity has left me, like a dream slowly dissipating.

I woke up the next day, and I was still just me.

The disappointment is freaking tangible here. The conflict of the story is one of knowing herself, of trying to find that clarity she lost. She's disappointed that she is who she is, and it's not like at the end of the story she's someone different. She just knows herself better, and has that clarity she once had.

The main character is so frustratingly close to that clarity all through the story, blatantly holding herself to different standards than she does anyone else. I feel like Fluttershy in Chapter 7, "I just wanted to grab your shoulders and shake you!"

The double-think, the doubts, and the 'oh, well if it's me it's bad and wrong', ring painfully true, and are also so Twilight: this is the Twilight who threw a town into chaos because she thought her loving, understanding teacher whom she'd known for years would be mad at her for handing in her friendship homework late.

She sums it up nicely in Chapter 3:

Looking at myself is surprisingly difficult!

I love this line, because that's it, that's the whole story. And it's great.

Chapter 2 is the standout for me. You combine Season 1 doesn't-understand-friendship Twilight so well with trans Twilight, and the dramatic irony of knowing what's actually going on from the episode versus what's going on in Twilight's catastrophing mind is used to great effect. I think I might have wanted more chapters like this before she came to understand herself, but that's more because I was enjoying the story and the feelings it evoked enough that I wanted it to continue more than that it felt rushed.

I saw in the comments you're planning on doing a sequel, and I'm interested to see where you go with this!


Thank you so much for very thoughtful and detailed comment! Hearing you recount little moments or themes that stuck out to you is an extremely wonderful thing to hear, and very informative! Especially since you do so beautifully, and with heartfelt intention!

We're especially grateful for your comments on Chapter 2! That was the hardest chapter to write by far. It was very tricky balancing the old and the new content in a way that felt interesting, but without disrupting the original story too much. We've seen so many authors tackle retelling episodes in different ways, and everyone has a different method. So it's great to hear ours was engaging enough to make you want more!

Dusk Shine is completely fine with being a stallion.

Sure, he doesn’t like it, but I mean who does, right? He isn’t good enough to be a mare, like his friends are, so there’s no way he could be transgender.

Feeling out of place and alienated around his closest friends has to be some kind of friendship problem, and that is what he’s here to study after all.

Maybe once he fixes this hole in his heart, he’ll understand why his friends seem to want him around. Maybe he’ll even be somepony who deserves them.

...call me out in your freakin' story description, why don't you! Fine, just for that, I'm gonna read it and you can't stop me!

Ow, my feels! How?! How are you describing my experience of realizing my gender identity so heckin' perfectly?! It's practically like you're quoting my life story here...

...are you a spy?! :rainbowhuh:

What I was afraid of when I looked in the mirror was that I would just look like a stallion in a dress. It's a wrongheaded way of thinking, in reality appearance is independent from gender, a ‘stallion’ can look like anything. But I can't help it, in my mind there are a set of standards, a set of stereotypes of what maleness looks like, and I don't want that .

THIS!!! All the...this! This was exactly what I couldn't articulate when I was a teenager!

...how do I send a message back in time to my younger self...?

On the new cloth was a subtitle, which made the full banner now read. “Dusk Is Non-Binary Celebration Party; Now featuring extra fun miscellaneous gender exploration!”

I started laughing so hard I was wheezing when I read this.

“You’re wondering about bottom surgery?” Fluttershy says, a little more matter of factly than I expected.

Fluttershy nods somberly. “Very much so. Even I wasn’t sure at first. But the closer the rest of me got to how I wanted, the clearer my feelings got.”

*checks dates*
...how did you know what I would be saying about my own transition nearly 6 months before I did!?!?

Dammit I'm starting to cry, this is exactly what it feels like..

Oh gods...

My heart..

I struggle with these feelings daily and to see them come to life in a story?
It's heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time.
It's heartbrearming-

“OooooOoooOOoOO~!” Pinkie grins. “I’m super glad!!” She sidles up next to me and elbows me softly “So~ Do ya want me to keep using them?”

I raise my hoof and open my mouth, then hesitate. Do I really want to take that step?

Yes, yes of course I do. My own eagerness surprises me. Am I too eager? Does that
mean I—

No. No, I am not going to spiral about that too.

Oh shit... I did the exact same thing..

I wanted to tell you that—” I look down. “I’m Agender, and I’d like it very much if you’d use they/them for me.

I swear to Celestia's Great Grandmother if you keep literally describing my entire journey in this story I'll-

And now I'm officially crying

Whether it's from me not blinking or from the sheer amount of joy, I know not

I'm literally sobbing inside, this was beautifully put. I was so happy to see a true representation of what the dysphoria and fear all feels like.
Thank you. Thank you for such a beautiful story.

Oh gods, Dusk is me

You somehow managed to make all the characters incredibly in character while making me feel incredibly seen the entire time I was reading this. Every few paragraphs I saw something that I have done or thought, while having it be exactly as Twilight would have done it. I try to avoid leaving a like on anything I haven't finished, with only a few exceptions, but I don't think I finished chapter three before I liked this. It's excellent. Thank you.

There's a lot of sexism here that wouldn't be fixed with different pronouns.

"Rainbow blinks. "I mean, aren't you Bi? What, does that mean you can't be friends with anypony of any gender?"
My eyes dodge to the corner. "That's how it worked for me before..."

"But, stallions are rude, insensitive, prone to violence and the perpetuation of misogyny"

"I want to be with you more than anything, but you deserve somepony who's better" (even though they're all saying how great Dusk is).

Transitioning would produce a mare sexist against stallions instead of a stallion sexist against stallions, which isn't really an improvement, even if sex was based on pronouns.

Wouldn't solving the problem by realizing that "stallions are not in fact 'weird and gross and bad'" be strictly better than "stallions are weird and gross and bad, but I'm not a stallion"?

missing the Alt Universe tag

Dealing with sexism is part of dealing with being trans. There’s this idea that trans women are just “men who pretend to be women to sneak into women’s bathrooms” and after a while of hearing that, it can get to you. You can feel like you’re imposing on these situations, because other people tell you you are.

And, even if you don’t realize you’re trans yet, these kinds of situations can still pop up. Like going to a slumber party or on a girls night out.

I’m not a trans women, I’m non-binary. I may not have had the same experiences, but I have experienced this feeling of being somewhere you’re not supposed to be.

You pick up sexism and bigotry, whether you realize it or not.

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