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  • Writer's picturethe BarkAgaist Team

Trans Joy for Trans Day of Visibility 2023

"In this time where society is trying to clip our wings and stop us from flying free, fuelled by hate and transphobia I want to talk about joy. Trans Joy. I feel joy when I hear my name, when I sign at work using it, the name I chose for myself.

I feel joy when Trans people of all age walk together at Pride, with the other members of the LGBTQ+ community and our allies.

My younger self wouldn't ever have thought that one day I would have the chance to transition and keep my job, to live my life and thrive.

     Writing our own journey after years of having our stories written by others is something powerful that I wish for all Trans people to experience." Tony Fenris 

     Trans joy can be expressed with so many individual experiences like the above, but it can also be experienced with a supporting community. In a forum asking pet players what their experience as a trans person in the community, Pup Storm from the UK remarked that her experience has been “ mostly positive, I’ve met a handful of really lovely people and I wouldn’t be who I am today without them.”

     For some, the experience of feeling welcomed in their communities is having their pronouns respected and being treated no differently than cisgender people. “I’ve been welcomed as a pup and no one sees me as female. It’s very welcome to know I can be myself,” Pup Ripley answered about his experience in Iowa, USA.

     Sometimes being out as trans in a local community makes it easy to find others that are trans like Pup Wishbone has, “ I found that a lot of pets I’ve met are either trans* themselves, or very accepting. Every year that goes by, the community becomes more diverse.” In their area of North Carolina, USA, they’ve been able to join a pack of mostly trans critters where “anytime we are together it’s pure trans puppy joy.”

      For those that haven’t had the opportunity to travel afar from their local community, The online community provides an opportunity to connect to other pups, pets, and critters. In this instance Pup BlueBee from Belgium was taken aback, “ I’ve been surprised by the welcoming and accepting crowd. Most pups I’ve met are very friendly, and they never misgendered me. Although some cis people are a bit ignorant, and clueless, I know they don’t mean any harm/wrong.” He even wrote how a cis male pup, Pup Aston, has helped to be supportive by creating a few telegram groups for trans and non-binary pet players/kinksters. BlueBee is also looking forward to more progress “with Pup Marshmallow as new Puppy Belgium 2023, I’m sure she’ll bring even more visibility and acceptance to trans pups/pet players and handlers.”

     As many of us, trans identifying individuals, we all have a common experience of not being accepted in some spaces. Unfortunately for some, that even includes some pup/pet play communities. For Kiki, their experience hasn’t been welcoming, “As a femme enby, I’m often greeted with ‘pups are for gay men only’ and I struggle to make friends out of fear that they feel this way.” For several pups in the forum, they felt more comfortable online compared to in-person events due to not being in a safe location to be trans, not having to be forced to deal with ignorance towards their identity, and generally not having to have the anxiety of meeting new people and explaining themselves. As Storm states “ I have account info that you can read and I can block the people that refuse to be respectful. In person it’s a lot harder to do the same things,” as her experience is easier online.

          “Just be yourself And don’t shortage yourself. You’re amazing. You're valid. You’re welcome here. If someone is rude, there’s always a block button.” Ripley reminds other trans people/pets. He’s right. It doesn’t matter what another person thinks, you belong in the community. “ Easier said than done, but be yourself. Dare to take space and let your voice be heard. If people are being shit about it, then that’s their loss and you don’t have to put up with them. The right people will welcome you with open, unjudgmental arms,” Pup BlueBee also adds to cement this reminder whether in person or virtual.     

      Trans Joy is out there. It may show in a person's own experience as lil milestones in their life is achieved. It may also show in a community online or in person as trans siblings are celebrated in their community. More definitely is needed to reach out to those that don't feel the support. Remember, we belong here just as much as everyone else does.

Pups quoted in this article are as follows:

Storm! - @SubWooferStorm (twitter)

Ripley - @PupRipley (PupSpace)

Wishbone - @pup.wishbone (instagram) @WishbonePup (twitter)

Pup BlueBee - @PupBlueBee (instagram)

Kiki - @PuppKiki (Instagram and Twitter)

[Photos featuring: Tony/Fenris, Pup Blue Bee and Pup Wishbone]

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