“You can’t be a brony! My Little Pony’s for boys—no girls allowed.” My friends had such strange ways of affirming my gender identity. This came after a wisdom tooth extraction, where I dreamed of chasing after cartoon horses and forgot my name.
For a half hour after I came to, I believed my name was Applejack. My girlfriend at the time—who had paid for my name change—was more concerned that she might be on the hook for another switch than whether or not she’d just been handed a broken girlfriend not covered by warranty.
She just kept patting my hands. “Why don’t you sit on that idea for a while. Until I get a raise.”
I try to avoid children’s shows—especially ones about or for little girls. It hurts. Not good. It takes me to such a primitive state, a neonatal state of need, that I can’t even form the words or feelings for why they make me so sad and hopeless. And even if I could, I’m too proud of making it to 29 and getting to cook my food all by myself to ever admit it to anyone.
There is, though, something compelling about the “brony” culture. I don’t think it’s this dichotomy of masculine-identified people who like a girl’s show unironically—I am in fact profoundly disinterested in the subtle, reasonable pushing back against gender norms.
No: there are men who want to fuck cartoon horses that they think might be Nazis and I am tangibly, incorrigibly attracted to their scene.
I exert so much energy wrestling with “reasonable” people. The women who campaign for my expulsion from women’s restrooms have a hideous underside to their soul but they are still tethered to a shared reality. We may disagree on what makes a woman, but we both understand things like, the sky is blue and that the Honey Nut Cheerios bee is not sadly not capable of conversation.
When so much of your day is spent fighting back against a cultural campaign of invisibility, the line between self-care and schadenfreude is eventually washed away.
There is a very specific type of Twitter account, known as “.txt”s, that are curated text posts from another place on the internet. The person behind them is usually not a “believer” or “member in good faith” of the community they’re cross-posting—the intent is to inspire shock and humor.
There is a .txt for /mlp/, the dedicated My Little Pony forum on 4Chan. What you’re about to see are posts made on that message board and then quoted on Twitter.
Don't bother preparing yourself because it's not possible.
Before we go there, because once we do you will have to find your own ride back, this is not kink-shaming. Kink-shaming is when you, as someone who is grossed out by "adult baby" play, go out of your way to harass people who like "adult baby" play online, regardless of whether or not their participation in the kink with others is mutually emphatic and consensual.
I care a lot less about men wanting to fuck a cartoon horse than I do about the way men have appropriated a show aimed at little girls, specifically one aimed to teach little girls about how to have healthy relationships with other girls.
The "cartoon horse fucking" is actually really hilarious. The ways this obsession manifests mirrors a lot of fetishes—ones like "loli" that specifically require the presence of an underage, therefore nonconsenting, participant—but without that human element, without the lingering fear of an immediate human victim, I derive no sensation of revulsion or dread. In the absence of that, I find myself enthralled—I am filled with horror and ever-challenged disbelief in equal measure.
It's, in a way, an indulgence of luxury. I wish I could find the toxic logic of the people who are out to get me, "funny in a creepy, oh-my-god sort of way." Alas, I cannot.
There is also a staggering vulnerability to this underbelly of the MLP fandom.
No, wait. Wrong tweet.
And that vulnerability really resonates with me. My life is actually pretty swell—I have multiple sexual partners and have eaten Chinese food off of a woman tied to a bed more than once. I pursue, without compromise, the sort of sex and love life that monogamous straight people hem and haw at about wishing they could have.
Still: I get lonely, and not that "oh there's no one to come over and cuddle" lonely, but that "any love I receive is a lie based on the misconception that people don't actually know me if they knew me they'd see I'm hideous," sort of loneliness.
I spend a little bit of every day telling someone, somewhere, to shut the fuck up about what they think of my body and my gender identity.
There's no room for me to be honest and open about myself and my body, because whether or not I think I'm worth anything the people that harass me would just screencap it and showcase it as proof that trans sex deviants like me are, deep down, miserable and unhappy, and we should be protected from ourselves by being disallowed transition.
It affords me somewhat of a solace to see that introspection and openess about hurting—even in a subculture I find so thoroughly harrowing.
I laugh at them in part because I cannot cry about myself. And also because I am just constantly amazed at just how out of hand this obsession with a children's show is.
I am not so far removed from self-loathing that I can't imagine someone seeing me and my life and thinking to themselves "wow, I've got it pretty swell considering, at least I'm not a transgender lesbian with strange kinks." As I look at the MLP Twitter and dwell on an internal scream which, if externalized, might be mistaken for laughter, I understand I am being looked at. Scrutinized.
And really: that's fine. All sexual attraction should be examined—this is how we prevent harming people with unchecked privilege, enforcing damaging cultural norms.
All I can say for sure is the only thing "wrong" with the My Little Pony fetish fandom—besides the appropriation of a little show for girls and the ways in which a shared community built around sexualizing nonexistent entities might encourage a detached outlook on consent—is that JFK really strikes me as more of a Steven Universe type.