Cosplay euphoria as a means for transgender euphoria


For a couple of years now there have been two main reasons for me not having cosplayed fully bare-faced, or not having allowed photos from strangers when I have. The first one is that I do not want photos of my face to be leaked in the net: I cannot remember when was the last time I uploaded my full face elsewhere and I want to keep it that way, for a couple of motives. The second one is that I feel comfier when I am masked, which links the bliss of dressing just the way I want with a sense of (a)gender/trans euphoria.

I am a strong believer of one of the first causes for gender questioning and later reaffirmation being clothing. When a person finds out that the fashion they choose to wear can be a path for a better life and not something that should be measured by “society standards” chances are that this person will be more confident and happier, as long as their environment allows to a certain degree. This feeling can get a boost in manga/anime conventions, where cosplay is a common thing.

Cosplay is a great activity for self-discovery: it allows a person to experiment, (most) people will not judge, and, if one is on the mood, can have a few photos taken, which can be good for self-esteem as well. In my case, it makes me feel I can be whatever I want: as a transgender person, seeing people questioning what is behind the mask feels like reminding when I cracked the egg after a period of doubts. It is like they will demand to know «is that a man? A woman? Neither?» The actual answer has to be: who cares, and why it would be so relevant in the first place? They will sometimes ask me «what are you cosplaying of?» and my answer is «this is my own self» or «I am my own character.» This is me, and just me. Is it not being your own self the pinnacle of cosplay? Making dreams come true and feel for a moment that you are one with your pageant? As I once was described, I am «visually so iconic that I distance myself from your known references so much that you tend to seek to associate me with a character.»

There is a political message included: «This is my manifesto, the snapshot I want you to remember of me; you do not need anything else than this.» And indeed, people will not need to know how my face is because it is not part of the performance, nor it would make me feel comfortable or euphoric if I showed it. It would not make any difference for the better, but rather would be a disappointment for the two parties: the “mistery” would be over, and I would have a sense of being naked.

Convinced that this could not be an isolated experience I recently conducted a poll in Mastodon[1] asking trans and non-binary people about their relation with masks, among other gear. The results, while lacking any validity, were really interesting, where two in three responders affirmed that they had some kind of interest in gear like latex and/or masks. As every person can have their own reasons I could think of a few for this trend, including some already exposed above. It is as if many trans/non-binary people would enjoy experimenting being other entities, for many motivations, or even quitting being what society expects from them. So, I can definitely relate.

By now it has been clearly stated how masking has helped me and others without body modification. As usual, there could be a reason for everyone. It is therefore crucial that each being finds their own way at their own pace. I hope that my intentions and the conclusions of my poll are of help for people having doubts about the way they behave with the world and themselves.