Helicopter Attack Trans Meme: Why Messy Trans Art Is Important Trans Art
Trans/Sex is a column about trans peoples relationships with love, sex, and their bodies. Have a topic suggestion? Contact Ana Valens at[email protected]or@acvalens on Twitter.
Here are some trans erotica ideas Ive been kicking around since releasing my first game last year:
- A robot trans girl and her trans lesbian creator realize their attraction to each other during an internal calibration process
- A lesbian Medusa seduces and fucks an Athenian trans woman warrior who both fears and desires her
- A gigantic cis woman devours a small, timid, yet masochistically eager trans girl
- Two lesbians rip and tear into each others bodies, delighting in one anothers bloody flesh until nothing remains
These ideas arent meant to be edgy, weird, or push boundaries. I dont want to make people feel uncomfortable or trigger a trauma response. I want to write these because they give me butterflies in my tummy. I love monstrous women with a passion that hasnt gone away in 25 years and probably wont in the next 25. Trans feminine art often includes elements of body horror, sometimes alongside suffocating, even brutal levels of physical intimacy. Fear and obsession over how our bodies will be perceived intersect with deep, traumatic desires to fit in with society. I turn to erotica to explore these gruesome, violent, self-destructive cravings.
But every time I sit down to write a new fiction story, I get anxious. Many young queer people online do not respond well to difficult and uncomfortable sexual material, like guro porn or monstrous lesbians who use force to get what they want. This is laughable to me. I grew up on sadomasochistic fantasies of giant women destroying cities and devouring tiny men, and as of yet, I have not actually turned into a 200-foot woman, let alone destroyed an entire city. But that doesnt make the danger of retribution any less real. Society deems trans feminine people as boundary violators, which means trans artists playing with erotic violence and horrific desires become the inconvenient problem that needs to be eliminatedfor other genders safety.
Im not gonna beat around the bush I WILL do whatever I can to stop these people and if it means hurting them, isolating them, or taking away their source of income, Ill do it! one Twitter user wrote in a viral thread. If people actively participate in this culture, theyre fair game. We need to protect our community.  this is about intracommunity safety, eliminating people who hurt and threaten MY communities from within.
Before you can eliminate a person, you eliminate their art. And theres no better way to do that than through a harassment campaign.
Earlier this month, Clarkesworld magazine published Isabel Falls short story I Sexually Identify as an Attack Helicopter, a work of trans satire from a little-known writer. Within days, Clarkesworld pulled the story at Falls request amid enormous backlash from parts of the trans community. An archived version is available here.
Falls story follows a somatic female whose attack helicopter gender identity is instituted after tactical-role gender reassignment. Its a clever premise that plays with genderfuckery and body horror while touching on many aspects of transness within capitalism, the American military-industrial complex, and everyday life. It also describes the insecurities trans women experience with their genders and bodies without outright making fun of us for having them.
Some people say that there is no gender, that it is a postmodern construct, that in fact there are onlymanandwomanand a few marginal confusions. To those people I ask: if your body-fact is enough to establish your gender, you would willingly wear bright dresses and cry at movies, wouldnt you? Falls titular attack helicopter says. Have you ever guarded anything so vigilantly as you protect yourself against the shame of gender-wrong? The same force that keeps you from gender-wrong is the force that keeps me from fucking up.
Many readers assumed the story could only come from a bigot, a right-wing troll, or a cis person because I sexually identify as an Attack Helicopter is a notorious transphobic meme. But the meme is the point. After the story was pulled, editor Neil Clarke confirmed that Fall honestly and very personally wanted to take away some of the power of that very hurtful meme. This was lost on a huge portion of Falls detractors.
I genuinely dont understand the criticism of the story but its hard to find what the original criticism was, now. It seems like everything is meta-criticism at this point, and I cant really tell where the original critiques were coming from, beyond a discomfort with the title of the story, trans comic artist Carta Monir told me. It feels like this story was the victim of some kind of avalanche effect that I dont really understand.
Avalanches have fallen on marginalized artists for quite some time. Last year, Snotgirl artist Leslie Hung helped an artist creating Devil May Cry yaoi fanart depicting adult characters Dante and Nero together. In the series canon, Dante is Neros uncle, making the fan art about an incestuous relationship. The fan world quickly became divided over Hung, leading her to, as she later put it, get canceled.
Horror author and film critic Gretchen Felker-Martin spoke out shortly after with an essay called I Dont Wanna Grow Up (And Neither Can You).. In it, she explores how a group of left-leaning millennials and Gen Zers are policing art that depicts pedophilia, self-harm, intimate partner abuse, necrophilia, violence against children, and other sensitive topics. These critics only approve art that depicts taboo as fundamentally bad, as if, for example, your average reader needs a reminder that a professor-student lesbian erotica story should not be reenacted with your real students.
Theres nothing wrong with escapism. Theres nothing wrong with not wanting to or not being able to engage with art about horrific things. The problem begins when you look at the people who can, who need to, and decide that they cant either, that theyre going to have to bend to your worldview or youll call them pedophiles and Nazis and incest apologists and run them out of town, Felker-Martin writes.
Felker-Martin knows first-hand why messy queer art is so important. Much of her own work deals with trauma and misery and self-loathing and a bunch of other stuff it absolutely fucking sucks to lug around with you through life, she told me. Uncomfortable art lets her reckon with the rotten, rancid parts of being queer, including internalized hatred of oneself. And just as her own art is complicated, so are her detractors. She theorizes an admixture of repression, self-infantilization, transmisogyny, and assimilationism motivate their actions. This leads to a childlike obsession with art stripped of queer pain, making these young viewers perfect consumers for corporate media churned out by Disney, Cartoon Network, and Netflix.
Youve got increasingly sexless, homogenized mass media to which an exhausted public has gravitated en masse, a country culturally obsessed with security and punishment, a sense that the people above us ruining our lives are basically untouchable; it creates this sort of hopeless, like, destrudo, like a death drive to destroy as much as you possibly can, Felker-Martin said. And I think at a very basic level, the people participating in these harassment campaigns are expressing misogyny and transmisogyny that theyve repressed within themselves and which they can safely vent by attacking visible deviants.
Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/irl/trans-sex-messy-trans-art/