Excerpt for How to Fail Miserably at Being Queer by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

How to Fail Miserably at Love

© 2017 by Giselle Renarde

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

The essays in this collection were originally published on the authors’ blog Oh Get a Grip!

Cover design © 2017 Giselle Renarde

First Edition 2017

How to Fail Miserably at Being


Everything I’ve Done Wrong

By Giselle Renarde

Table of Contents

Off with the Fairies

What Your Favourite Sailor Scout Says About You



Without Sounding "Political"

Maybe I Shouldn't...

Anonymous. Obsession.

A True Ghost Story (I should know. I was there.)

When the nipple makes its first appearance...

Hello, Kitty

Off with the Fairies

Every once in a while, my girlfriend talks about pantomimes.  She figures you can't pull off panto the same way they could back in the day. Children's sense of humour has become too sophisticated.  Used to be that the adults in the audience were the only ones laughing at the dirty jokes.  Now kids have enough exposure to understand innuendo.

I don't know if that's true, but it's never really the point of Sweet's story. She tells me about the seventies, when her kids were growing up. Kids were still naive enough that pantomimes didn't raise parents' hackles.

Her daughter's drama group put on a pantomime one year, and asked if any of the dads would take on the Dame role. Sweet jumped at the opportunity.

So, I should probably mention that my girlfriend still identified as a man in the seventies.  She'd been cross-dressing secretly since childhood, but the word "transgender" wouldn't pop up on her radar until the 1990s.  Hearing that word for the first time, and learning its implications, would become a Eureka moment.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.  Let's stick with the seventies.

See, when Sweet performed in pantomimes, that was the only time she got to be herself in public.  Sure, she was basically a cheap laugh, but she didn't care.  If the trade-off was that she had to be the butt of a joke in order to wear a skirt in public... well, she was willing to laugh along.

A lot has changed in the past... holy fuck, was the seventies forty years ago?  Anyway, my girlfriend identifies as a transsexual woman now (though she's still very closeted where her family's concerned) and she shies away from any behaviour that might call her gender into question.

Sweet's stories about the progression of her identity from cross-dresser to questioning to trans have fueled my fiction for years (with her enthusiastic blessing, of course).  It seems flighty for a grounded person like me to consider any other human my muse, but her history has certainly inspired a lot of my work.

What Your Favourite Sailor Scout Says About You

Here's the thing about Sailor Moon: I'm too old to have loved that show as much as I did.

I was in my late teens when the Japanese anime television series was broadcast on YTV here in Canada.  I had an excuse for watching it: a sister more than a decade my junior.  My siblings and I would flock to the living room and be like, "Oh no, not another kiddie show!" and secretly be thinking, "Yeah, I love Sailor Moon!"

My friends at school (and, yes, we're talking high school here) didn't have younger siblings. They didn't have any excuse, and they didn't feel they needed one. They loved Sailor Moon too, and they didn't care if it was a kids' show.

There was something about Sailor Moon that drew us in, drew everyone in.  Everybody related strongly with one character, no doubt because each Sailor Scout represents the astrological characteristics of their associated planet. 

While my youngest sister's generation could perform the role of their favourite Sailor Scouts on the playground, those of us approaching adulthood played them out in ways that were closer to real life. In a lot of ways, children's fantasy lives are more well-defined than those of adults. Our fantasies bleed into our everyday lives, sometimes to our detriment.

Sometimes not.

In my final year of high school, I had a friend (whose name escapes me--isn't that awful?) who was all about Sailor Neptune.  I'm not sure how we knew Sailor Neptune was a lesbian, and her girlfriend was Sailor Uranus, but we did. According to Wikipedia: "In the Canadian dub, her relationship with Sailor Uranus was redefined as being cousins."

But everybody knew what was really going on between them.

Granted, I did (still do) own VHS bootleg copies of TWO Sailor Moon movies, both of which escaped the dub. They're Japanese with English subtitles. Maybe that's where my inside information came from. Or maybe it was just obvious.

Anyway, this friend whose name I can't remember identified so strongly with Sailor Neptune that she dyed her hair green. When I talk about fantasy bleeding into reality, that's where I'm coming from. Not that I'm one to talk. I dyed my hair orange because I was obsessed with Gillian Anderson. Pretty sure all those photographs have been burned.

One colour I didn't dye my hair was blue--despite being a die-hard fan of Sailor Mercury.

Ami was my girl. She loved school, just like me.  I wasn't anywhere near as sweet or kind as she was, though.  In fact, looking back, I think a love of studying is all we had in common. 

If I were to re-watch the series today, Sailor Mercury might strike the same chord an ex-lover would.  I'm not sure I'd be gaga over her anymore, but she still holds a special place in my heart.

While researching Sailor Moon just now, I typed the following into Google:

What your favourite Sailor Scout says about you

There were a surprising number of recent and relevant results, but the one that jumped out at me was an article titled:

Your Inner Sailor Scout Based on Your Myers-Briggs Personality Type

How could I NOT click that? I mean, really!  It's got everything.

I happen to recall, from my one year as a psychology student at the University of Toronto, that I'm an INTJ.  So I scrolled down the page to see which Sailor Scout corresponds to the INTJ personality type.

INTJ – Sailor Uranus

A quiet assassin, you slash through life like a Space Sword through a block of PC-friendly cheese. You cherish your independence and have few friends – but those few friends are your life. You’ve never been easy to categorize, whether if it’s by your fashion sense, loyalty, or even your gender. You’ve never tried to shock people, but it just seems to happen naturally. You’re just too advanced for us mortal beings, who still can’t say your planetary name without giggling.

Oh my God, yes! This is me! Independent, shocking and genderfucked. Makes me wish I were more familiar with this character.

Moreover, Sailor Uranus is the girlfriend of Sailor Neptune--the hero of my green-haired high school friend. Maybe if I'd been more in touch with Uranus (haha) in high school, I'd have hooked up with that girl.

Imagine how different my life would be.

For starters, I'd probably remember her name.


The only time I've ever lost consciousness was last year, when I sliced my finger open with a kitchen knife and fainted. Woo! That was something else!

It got me thinking about something that happened to my girlfriend a couple years back, when she was having lunch with a friend. In case I haven't mentioned it lately, my girlfriend (I call her "Sweet" online) is trans. She identifies as female, but she's not out of the closet with her family. A few of them know something’s up, but most see her as a man, and she continues to present as male when she's around them.

Among friends, she's stealth--that is to say, she presents and identifies as a woman. Not trans. Not genderqueer like me. Not "other." Just a woman.

Many of the trans women I know are older people--say, sixty-plus. One big difference I've noticed between trans friends in the "older adults" category is that many more of them tend to be stealth than the trans and genderqueer people I know at the younger end of the spectrum. Among my older trans friends, only their inner circles know they're trans. Many also lead lives in which their time is split between two distinct identities, two distinct genders. In some situations they present male, even though they identify internally as women.

By contrast, the younger trans women I know tend to be out. They don't mind people knowing they were raised as boys. They deal with any repercussions that might arise because they don't feel ashamed of their identities. This isn't a hard-and-fast rule, of course--just something I've noticed among friends.

Anyway, we now return to our regularly-scheduled anecdote.

My girlfriend was eating lunch at a restaurant with a friend. She was stealth with this friend. They were enjoying a perfectly pleasant conversation when everything went black. The next thing Sweet remembers is regaining consciousness in an ambulance, with a paramedic holding her wig in one hand and her driver's license (with her male name and photo) in the other.

She was mortified. She had no idea what had happened. There was only one thing she was sure of: her friend would abandon her, hate her, tell all their mutual acquaintances what a freak she was, spread transphobic lies about her...

That's not what happened at all.

Her friend filled in the blanks as much as possible. Apparently Sweet started nodding off as they were eating, then she just collapsed. She kept breathing, but nobody could bring her back to consciousness. Restaurant employees called 9-1-1.

When the paramedics arrived, they couldn't get her to regain consciousness either. They loaded her onto a stretcher and carried her out to the ambulance. Her friend came along and witnessed as Sweet was unmasked, or at least de-wigged.

Being “revealed” in this way made my girlfriend very uncomfortable.

Sweet was absolutely sure the incident would dissolve a friendship she'd spent years cultivating. She was far more concerned about the social fallout than her health. Her health was an afterthought. (She's since been scheduled for two MRIs, but she also happens to be claustrophobic and each time she's gotten near an MRI machine she’s had an anxiety attack.)

When I talked to her the day she lost consciousness, she was freaking out.

And then... nothing happened.

Her friend drove her home and called the next day to make sure she was okay. Her friend emailed, as usual, to schedule their next get-together. Nothing changed. Their friendship went on, as usual. Maybe this woman read Sweet as trans all along. Who knows? It's hard for me to assess my girlfriend's "passability." We're just too close. To me, she's the most beautiful woman in the world. Could be that others view her differently.

Doesn't really matter, though, because the point of the story is that the scariest thing in my girlfriend's world happened to her. She was "unmasked" in front of a friend and in front of strangers. And she lived to tell the tale.


I won't say who (because it really doesn't matter), but one time I mentioned online that my girlfriend is trans and a fellow author was absolutely FASCINATED. She said, "Oooh that's so interesting! I've never had the honour of meeting a trans person, but I've always wanted to."

Not the first time I've encountered that reaction, but it's one that always leaves me feeling a little uneasy. And I'll tell you why:

The whole world's got a Madonna/Whore complex when it comes to the trans population. I don't know what the deal is, but it's like there are two categories trans people get dumped into:

  1. "Eww! Gross! Disgusting perverts! Keep them away from me!"

  2. "Wow, they're so special and spiritual and fascinating and inhabit a higher plane of existence than us mere mortals."

Okay, obviously I'm vastly oversimplifying and usually when I discuss touchy subjects I get a lot of angry communications, so I've been pretty quiet lately because it really sucks to bare your soul to the internet and then get shit all over, but oh well. I think this is pretty important, so here it is.

People are people.

I won't even touch on the "Eww" reaction because if you're reading this I'm sure you realize that being grossed out by trans people is really-really-super-duper transphobic. If you carry this reaction inside you (even buried deep-deep down), that's something you should probably look at.

But what's so wrong with the flip side? What's so bad about being like, "Wow every person in population X is totally awesome. They're all THE BEST!!!"?

Well, because positive stereotyping is actually pretty dehumanizing. When I hear someone being either fascinated or disgusted by an entire population, all I can think is like... that's A LOT of people you're grouping together right there. A lot of different people. It's not like every member of the trans population is exactly the same person. Being fascinated or disgusted just sort of reveals the speaker as having little/no experience with that population.

Which isn't news, I guess. I mean, look at the quote I started with. The author was telling me straight out that she'd never met anyone who was trans (to the best of her knowledge, I'll add). But the most telling part of that quote was the word "honour." It implies a kind of otherizing fascination that emphasizes difference. "Those people are not like us."

Now, I don't want it to come across like I'm saying there's no commonality within the trans population. Obviously there is an aspect of shared experience for those who are raised one gender and have lived any portion of their lives with another gender identity.

But ultimately trans people are just people who are trans. Some may feel a degree spirituality or yin/yang-ness in relation to their transness, but everybody's different that way.

So, is it an honour to meet someone who's trans? Well, sure, I guess--in the same cosmic sense that it's an honour to meet anyone. Namaste means "the divine in me greets the divine in you." I know I act like a jaded old bastard sometimes, but I do believe there's divinity in everyone.

But it's no more so an honour to meet a trans person than it is to meet a cisgender person... unless we're talking about someone famous like Janet Mock, because OMG wouldn't you just DIE? She is so cool. But I'm sure she would laugh at me for gushing and be like, "I'm just a person too."

I feel like I'm doing a really crappy job of articulating my point, but it is three in the morning and I totally just derailed myself by mentioning Janet Mock, so maybe I'll say if you're stuck inside a fascination/disgust feedback loop, read her book Redefining Realness.

Without Sounding "Political"

My girlfriend's mother didn't have a problem with queer people--it was our "politics" she objected to.

She liked gay people as individuals. Working in theatre as she did (and as my girlfriend does), she had many gay friends. She held genuine affection for them... she just didn't approve of them wanting legal rights and such.

My girlfriend never came out to her mother, either as trans or as a lesbian. I've mentioned before that Sweet isn't out with her family. She's genuinely afraid of losing them. The one family member who discovered she was trans hasn't spoken to her since.

She doesn't feel that would have happened with her mother. Her mother wouldn't have abandoned her--she simply wouldn't have understood what it means to be trans, or why Sweet would want to live as a woman. Their relationship would have changed, become less comfortable and more stilted. That's what my girlfriend believes.

Her mother died a few years ago so I guess we'll never know.

I can't help wondering how it's possible to "have no problem" with queer people, to have lifelong friends who are gay, and yet not want to be troubled by our politics--where "politics" indicates a want and need for human rights and legal protections.

I also can't help wondering if Sweet's mother would have changed her tune if my girlfriend had come out as trans and lesbian. This woman was a genuinely caring person. I can attest to that because I knew her. But she didn't know me as her daughter's girlfriend. Would she have treated me differently if she'd known me in a different context? 

Would she have treated her son differently as a daughter?

Would she have found my girlfriend's gender identity too... political?

That's the thing about queer bodies--and trans bodies in particular. Our very existence is highly politicized, and that doesn't usually start with us. It's imposed on us. We're just living our lives... until we're told we don't have the right. That's when we choose: we give in or fight.

(I rhymed.)

Do I want to be a political queer? Not particularly. I'm a quiet person who just wants to live a quiet life. But what happens when I get my census form and I'm given the choice of telling the government I'm male or female. I don't identify strongly with either of those choices. On the inside, I feel pretty non-binary, genderfucked, androgynous, questioning. My gender identity isn't perfectly pinned down.

How do I convey that sentiment to the government?

...without sounding "political"?

Maybe I Shouldn't...

Sometimes I have thoughts I probably shouldn't share.

Sometimes I have thoughts I keep to myself because other people would probably think I was a terrible human being if I fessed up.

Here's one:

A few years ago, I started thinking about homelessness among LGBT youths.  Statistics are pretty staggering, though don't ask me to cite them because I've got a mind like a sieve.  But you've probably seen these stats about the percentage of homeless youths who identify are queer, genderqueer, questioning, trans, gay, bi, lesbian.  It's a big chunk.

Then I started thinking about who, here in Toronto, provides shelter and assistance to young people who've been kicked out or left their homes. There are a lot of shelters in this city, but the go-to one that everyone knows about is a Catholic organization.

Now we come to the part I thought maybe I shouldn't say out loud, for fear of sounding anti-Christian or anti-Catholic or whatever.  I don't want to come off as a total jerkass.  That said, the Catholic church hasn't exactly been friendly to the LGBT population.

So if the biggest youth shelter in my city is a Catholic organization and a huge percentage of homeless youths identify across the LGBTQ spectrum... isn't that problematic?  Is it just me?

Last year I discovered that, no, it's not just me! Other people have these thoughts too! The article I read on this topic wasn't Canadian--wasn't even North American.  It was an article from Australia, voicing EXACTLY the same concerns I had! I am not alone! What's more, this appears to be a global phenomenon.

I wish I'd bookmarked the article I read, but I'm not that organized. I think it appeared on a gay news site, but I could be wrong. The reporter interviewed staff from Catholic shelters to ask whether they truly felt they could provide a safe and supportive environment to LGBT youths. Of course they could. "What a question! We never tell our clients they'll burn in hell for their wrong-headed groin sins! Never!" (These are not direct quotes, or even accurate paraphrasings.)

And maybe some shelter workers can do that. Don't ask me! Anything's possible!

I have worked in the shelter system, though. As with any job, a big part of how well or poorly you do it depends on who you are as an individual. But, no matter who you are and what you believe, you're working within a framework. If your institution works within a religious framework with a long tradition of gay hate, is it ever really possible to provide responsible care to queer youths?

Here's a solid example, in case you think I'm just picking on the Catholic church because they chased my grandfather's Jehovah's Witness family out of Quebec (no hard feelings, honest! He converted to atheism shortly thereafter, so we're cool):

A bunch of really amazing high school students here in Ontario organized a bake sale at their school. They sold rainbow chip cupcakes and lots of other rainbow-themed goodies, and they raised money for a very deserving charity that serves LGBT youth.  All-round amazing! Good job, students!

But wait... story's not done... because these students attended a Catholic high school... and when the school's principal or a superintendent (can't remember which--sorry) got wind of this, they wouldn't allow the students to donate the money they'd raised to a gay charity. A Catholic board could not support an LGBT charity. Not even when the initiative was coming from the student population. Not allowed.

I could give you other concrete examples of Ontario's Catholic school boards preventing students from showing support to the LGBT population, even among their own ranks. I could give you examples of a board attempting (with incredible determination) to alter legislation so they could legally prevent students from forming gay-straight alliances in schools (and failing, btw--it helps that our provincial premier is a lesbian). But if I got into the nitty gritty of all these instances, I'd bore you to tears OR make you as angry as I am, and I don't want you to be sad and angry.  You're not here to read about Ontario politics.

But it gives you an idea about operating within a framework. Even if you're the most queer-friendly person in the world, is it ever truly possible to honour LGBT individuals from inside a religious organization that dishonours us so frequently and so loudly? 

You tell me.

Anonymous. Obsession.

In 2010 or thereabouts, I wrote a book called Anonymous. It could just as easily be called Obsession.

It's about Hannah, a woman who lost her executive finance job when the market crashed. She's looking for work, but there's nothing available at her level. Being unemployed is getting to her, and it's having a definite impact on her marriage to Nathaniel.

The first thing we find out about this couple is that Nathaniel wants to get with another man and Hannah wants to watch. It's a fantasy they revisit again and again. The first scene takes place during a power outage. When they've got no TV to entertain themselves, they escape into their fantasy life together.

You get the sense that they've been replaying this scene for years: imagining what it would be like. Asking, "What would you do if we had a guy right here, right now?" Getting ridiculously turned on by the answer.

You also get the sense that, if Hannah had a job to occupy her mind and her time, their fantasy life might never have spilled over into reality.

Hannah and Nathaniel have one caveat to their shared desire: they don't want to invite a guy they know into the bedroom. Could get really complicated if they brought in a friend or one of Nathaniel's coworkers and things went wrong. Hannah's convinced they're looking for a stranger.

In fact, she wants someone totally anonymous.

Anonymous is a "careful what you wish for" book, in a lot of ways. Hannah's got too much time on her hands, and she uses it to set up some no-strings-attached stranger sex.

One night only.

No names.

Total anonymity.

Except the big event doesn't go exactly as planned, which puts pressure on Nathaniel and Hannah's marriage. This is a book in three parts (not a trilogy, just a story that's divided into three sections). Everything I've mentioned so far takes place in Part One.

To me, it's what comes AFTER the "getting what you want" bit that's most interesting.

Hannah can't handle not knowing who they spent the night with. She becomes obsessed with finding out the true identity of Mr. Anonymous. The power of that obsession drives almost every decision she makes. Her obsession takes over her life. So much other stuff happens in the second two parts of this book, but Hannah's never the same after that one night.

Obsession drives Hannah to take a job she normally wouldn't have. I wonder if it's detrimental to her life or not. I remember one reviewer saying she didn't feel that Hannah's obsession took away from her relationship with Nathaniel. She didn't find the obsession unhealthy.

I'm not so sure. But what do I know? The writer is the last person you should ask about a book. We have a very skewed perspective.

A True Ghost Story (I should know. I was there.)

I'm a sucker for a good ghost story. Or a bad one. I'm really not picky.

After I'd booked the inn Sweet and I stayed at during the momentous anniversary trip when I drank half a bottle of wine and spent the rest of the getaway throwing up, I noticed a page on their website: Haunted Hotel. They'd posted clips from a time when their inn had been featured on some ghostie show.

I love a good ghostie show. Or a bad one! I love any ghostie show.  I love shows where people talk about their haunting experiences. I love shows where true ghost stories are re-enacted. I don't even care if it's all fake. I'm totally willing to suspend disbelief in exchange for that frisson I get when I'm scared of the unknown.

I like experiencing fear vicariously, through other people's ghostly experiences.

Does that mean I want to see a ghost myself?


I can't imagine coming face to face with the supernatural.  My #1 fear about buying a house (not that I could ever afford one) is that it might be haunted, and then what would I do? Move back into a high-rise built in the 70s, probably.  No ghosts here.

My girlfriend has seen things.  She works in theatre, and every theatre is haunted. Well, maybe not, but one of the ones where she used to do summerstock work had a reputation for ghostly happenings.  It was featured twice on a ghost hunting show.

While my girlfriend worked there, she often heard noises or saw strange movements when she was alone in the building. One time it was just her and her assistant in the theatre.  They both witnessed a shadowy shape moving across the stage. They turned to each other simultaneously and asked, "Did you see that?" 

A question that pretty much answers itself.

But here's the one I've been thinking about lately: we were alone in the theatre one night after a performance. She'd locked every door. The cast, crew, volunteers, patrons--everyone had left.  This was early in our relationship and we couldn't keep our hands to ourselves.  We were at the back of the theatre, touching each other in our bathing suit areas, when suddenly she pulled away.

She told me we had to go.

I asked why. Things were just getting interesting, and we had the whole place to ourselves.

Or maybe we didn't.

Over my shoulder, she'd seen an apparition of some sort.  There was a shape moving onstage, same thing she'd seen with her assistant during a different production.  She felt uncomfortable in the space.  She wanted to leave.

But here's the thing: all I noticed was Sweet's reaction.  I didn't feel any change in the atmosphere.  I didn't sense any ghost.  I didn't feel anything.

Lately it's really started sinking in that she's so much more sensitive than I am.  When we have a big argument, it bothers her for weeks, sometimes months.  I flip on the TV and I'm over it.  She feels things so much more deeply than I do.  I know how much I love her, but I'm starting to think I can't even imagine how much she loves me.  Maybe I don't have access to that kind of bigness of heart feelings.  I'm too closed off.

I wonder if "sensitives" (in the paranormal sense--people who can sense spirits) are also more emotionally sensitive than jerks like me. Assuming for a second that there was an actual paranormal manifestation taking place right behind me, was I oblivious to it because I'm so insensitive? Could Sweet see it because she has heightened sensitivities, emotional and spiritual? 

Or was she just unlucky enough to have been facing in the right direction?

When the nipple makes its first appearance...

That's me in the corner...

That's me in the spot...light...

Losing my virginity...

There wasn't any music playing the first time I had sex. I kind of wish there had been. I kind of wish it was Losing My Religion.

I was a pretty old virgin too, by today's standards. I was 21 the first time I had sex. It happened at a Crowne Plaza that doesn't exist anymore, in a hotel room I don't really remember because it was like any other nondescript hotel room you can think of. I booked it. He couldn't. His wife paid the bills. She would definitely notice if a hotel charge popped up on their credit card statement.

The whole time I kept thinking: God, I hope I never have to do this again.

It felt so weird, so gross, having this old man on top of me. I kept thinking how much I'd begged for it. This is what I've been dying for? This is what I wanted?

I hated it. The whole time I just wanted it to end.

But we're talking P-in-V, here. What about everything else? Whether or not you think of yourself as a virgin depends on whether or not you feel you've had sex.

So what is sex?

As a queer person, I obviously don't think penis-in-vagina intercourse is the be-all and end-all. You can have plenty of sex and never do the P-in-V thing in your life.

Remember on Seinfeld when Elaine asks: “Hey Jerry, when do you consider sex has taken place?” His answer is pretty damn inclusive: “I'd say when the nipple makes its first appearance.”

So why did I still think of myself as a virgin even after I'd sucked a cock or touched a boob?

Because I truly believed I was missing out on something important. I thought the moment I got a cock inside me, the skies would open up and I'd become aware of all these cosmic truths.

That... really didn't happen.

But penetrative sex did get better over time. Started to feel less icky.

Every so often I like to write about the uncomfortableness of first-time sex. Maybe it's not weird for everyone. I don't know. I'm not an expert. For an erotica writer, I have to confess I'm not a voyeur of other people's sexual experiences. Actually, I'm the total opposite. I don't want to hear about other people’s sex lives.

But I make an exception for those squicky awkward first times. There's something so gritty and real about them.

Maybe I just like to watch you squirm.

Hello, Kitty

I'm not sure who started it.  Maybe it began organically.  Maybe it started with Lexi Wood, the sock puppet who lives in my night table and writes stepdaddy smut.  Or maybe it started before that.  Hard to say.

Maybe it started with a spanking.

In fact, yes, it probably did.

Was that spanking my idea or hers? Can a spanking be a mutually spontaneous idea?  If it can, then it was.  She'd never spanked anyone.  I'd never been spanked.  But from the very first smack, we were hooked.

It grew from there.  We'd both mentioned, in passing, that roleplay wasn't an interest.  We weren't lying.  When we said those words, they were true.  And yet, somehow, things evolved.  Spankings altered the power dynamic. In bed, I grew younger, she grew more... authoritative.

When she bought me the hot pink Hello Kitty panties, she became my Daddy.  I became her little girl.

Now, there are complications here.  Complications beyond the taboo nature of a Daddy/daughter ageplay scene.  We've got insecurities, yes we do. And many of our primary insecurities are around gender.

Lesbian Daddies have been around since the dinosaurs. There's a long history there, but for an older trans woman who's led a shockingly vanilla life (until she met me), that seems like a different world. I've never called Sweet "Daddy" out loud, and I'm not even sure I'd want to. I think it might squick me bad and throw her into a not-so-sexy abyss of gender dysphoria.

But wouldn't you think I'd fall into that same abyss when my girlfriend calls me her little girl?  I am genderqueer, after all. My gender seems constantly in flux and it's hardly a binary entity. When people use strongly gendered terms with me in day to day life, it fucks me up.  For me, gender dysphoria feels like... I don't know, vertigo? What does vertigo feel like?  Makes me dizzy, anyway.  Sometimes all the way to that pre-fainting feeling where you know you're going to black out but you're trying really hard not to.

Is that how I feel when my girlfriend calls me her little girl?


It's titillating. And it suits me, physically. I've got this tiny body.  Some of my clothes are children's clothes because that's what fits. But when I'm out in the world, do I want to be treated like a little girl?  Nope on the "little" and nope on the "girl".

In the bedroom is a whole other matter.  I put on my hot pink Hello Kitty panties and I get to be this person I would never be in public. I get to be that person in a safe space with a woman I trust more than anyone in the world.

She's bigger, I'm smaller.  She's older, I'm younger.  These are elements that can become very distressing in a relationship if you try to sweep them under the rug. It's no good to dismiss the ways in which being older/younger and bigger/smaller impact the power dynamic in the relationship as a whole. If you don't acknowledge these factors, they can fester--been there, done that.  It's not pretty.

We can add an element beyond bigger/smaller, older/younger.  Of course we can.  In fact, we can add two, because what's an ice cream sundae without a big banana and a cherry on top?  So let's add the fact that my girlfriend is actually actively a father.  She's not out with her kids.  She might not be their Daddy but she's certainly their dad. And me? I never discuss my gender identity with my family. Just doesn't seem necessary at this stage.  Or I'm scared. Point is, won't I always be my parents' little girl?

These are topics that can be uncomfortable to discuss and tricky to work through.  I think the organic roleplay that's eased its way into our sex life has helped us to address some of our anxieties around size, age and gender.

Maybe some day I'll be ready to call my girlfriend Daddy. Maybe some day she'll be eager to hear it.


Giselle Renarde is an award-winning queer Canadian writer. She was nominated Toronto’s Best Author in NOW Magazine’s 2015 Readers’ Choice Awards, and her book The Red Satin Collection won Best Transgender Romance in the 2012 Rainbow Awards. Giselle has contributed erotica and queer fiction to more than 100 short story anthologies, including Best Women’s Erotica, Best Lesbian Erotica, Best Bondage Erotica, and Best Lesbian Romance. She’s written dozens of juicy books, including Anonymous, Seven Kisses, Bali Nights, Ondine, and Nanny State. Giselle lives across from a park with two bilingual cats who sleep on her head.


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