Friday, March 20, 2020

I Just Want to Play Cross!

Matt Baume
Matt Baume crossplaying Captain America
“Crossplay… is cosplay in which the person dresses up as a character of a different gender. Crossplay's origins lie in the anime convention circuit, though, like cosplay, it has not remained exclusive to the genre.” (Source: Wikipedia)

When I was a kid, crossplay and cosplay did not exist and anime was foreign to me. Halloween was the closest thing to cosplay/crossplay that we had. As a fan of comic books and science fiction, monster, and adventure films, I put together Halloween costumes that reflected those interests.

One year I was the Frankenstein monster, another time I was the Hunchback of Notre Dame, Alfred E. Neuman made an appearance one year and I was a pirate twice on Halloween. My mother often helped me assemble my costumes and when I dressed as a pirate, she insisted that I wear gold hoop earrings as part of the costume. So on October 31, 1960, I had my first experience with clip-ons!

As a kid, I never Halloweened as the opposite gender. In my heart, I certainly wanted to femulate on October 31 and I am sure that my mother would have made me into a very authentic female, but I did not have the guts to do it.

My best friend did it one year and I was very jealous. He even suggested that we both go out as girls the following Halloween, but I still could not muster the courage. (By the way, I am sure that my best friend was trans. He may have suspected I was too and his Halloween invitation was an attempt to reach out to me. I so regret not accepting his invitation – it would have been wonderful having a supportive sister while growing up.)

Five years later, I did have the courage and made my first of many Halloween appearances en femme, but that’s another story.

Getting back to crossplay – if crossplay existed when I was in my teens and twenties, I think I would have participated and I’d probably attempt femulating Wonder Woman or Vampirella. Since I was able to pull off an authentic Playboy bunny, I think my Wonder Woman or Vampirella femulations would be good, too.

Wikipedia also has this to say about crossplay, “Male to Female crossplay is typically divided quite definitively into these two groups: those engaging in genderplay, and those attempting to pass as female. The stark contrast between these two groups is due largely to the social context surrounding the subject of male crossdressing. For most males, dressing in women's clothing is not something to be taken lightly, and so most crossplayers choose either to take the approach of ironic humor (intentionally not passing), or that of the masquerade (attempting to pass).”

Crossplay and cosplay is a young person’s game and I am way past being a young person, but I can look on and appreciate the efforts the male-to-female crossplayers and cosplayers and think about what might have been.

Source: Beyond the Rack
Wearing Nino Balcutti

Zach Scuderi
Zach Scuderi crossplaying Dark Elementalist Lux


  1. "...Crossplay and cosplay is a young person’s game and I am way past being a young person, but I can look on and appreciate the efforts..."

    I think that's the key part: being happy for someone else and appreciating what they do.

    FWIW, I went to a comic convention for the first time and there was a lot of cosplay going on. It brought home how gendered and also how tight a lot of the outfits were. Certainly no place for those of us over a certain age :-)

  2. For a few years in my pre-teens my go to Halloween outfit was Dracula. For me the cape was like a hair would be slicked back and my mother would lighten my face with light foundation, darken my eye with black eye shadow and redden my lips with lipstick. Not quite crossdressing but making elemental progress.

    I do remember one year seeing a boy my age fully dressed in a wig, a Donna Reed style house dress, stockings and white pumps (even after Labor Day). my jealousy meter went through the roof.

  3. Ah yes- Halloween. I got up the courage to venture out en femme when I was 17. It was a VERY busy day - my friends and I were in our town's annual Halloween Parade during the day (we were The Marx Brothers - I was Groucho) then I was assisted by a female friend to get all dolled up for the evening's activities.
    A few days later, another female friend expressed regret that she didn't get to see me in costume, so since we both had birthdays coming up soon, we planned a joint Birthday Costume Party, with she and I as Host and Hostess (in that order). What a thrill to be able to dress up again - in public - so soon after! Unfortunately the only photo I have from this joyous time is from the parade! ~~sigh~~

  4. When I was a kid back in the late 1940's and early 1950's we were just finished with WWII and in the Korean conflict, so "cosplay" involved lots of soldier costumes. But we also did lots of superhero cosplay, such as it was. I don't know any of my friends who didn't have some sort of cape -- mine was a red Superman cape.

    There were a bunch of us kids, pre-boomers, in the 'hood, more girls than boys
    on my street. We saw those family shows on early TV and listened to radio programs also promoting families. So we played extended "house" games. Two of the stay-at-home moms were seamstresses and there was no shortage of costumes. On a regular basis the girls would revolt and insist they get to be dads -- and the moms agreed with them! So we boys regularly were moms and sisters. I especially enjoyed being my favorite, "Aunt Henri". The moms told us, "It was only fair to share the roles", and we didn't blink, we were right on board.

    It was also at this time I started rummaging through the laundry basket and wearing my mom's clothes. Mom worked and my grandmother would shut the door to her room to listen to her "stories". She always fell asleep and her snoring could wake the dead. I listened, and the snoring triggered my visit to the laundry basket.

    We played "house" at least once a week during the summer for years. Our "downfall" was when we played the game while switching roles on a weekend. Fathers saw their sons in dresses and there was hell to pay. Our games of "house", role-switching or not, came to a very abrupt stop. My visits to the laundry basket did not stop until I outgrew my mom's clothing.

  5. Could you imagine what a cosplay effort would bring to the participants if such a thing were to take place in the 50's/60's?
    What would Joseph McCarthy say?
    What would the comic book hearings senators think?
    How about Edwin Meese (Nixons (anti)Pornography Czar)20 odd years later?

  6. It would have been awesome to do this but am also in the same boat regarding age. However, have spent many Halloweens en femme. One of the most memorable experiences has been the number of men who said they were straight but still wanted to have sex with me because they thought I looked hot. (These comments were mostly while I was dressed as a sexy nurse.) The statements were certainly flattering and validation of my femininity.