A Leaf in the Crosswind
I cosplayed as Korra (from The Legend of Korra, sequel series to Avatar: The Last Airbender—see also previously) at—let's call it "Republic City" Comic-Con the other month. Saturday only—conventions are just my excuse to crossdress in public; I don't actually perceive two and a half days' worth of things to do.
I had gotten into the Avatar-verse due to a trans (some variety of trans*; she—I'm supposed to say she—doesn't seem to be trying to pass much) acquaintance of mine, who recommended Last Airbender, but I watched Legend of Korra first, because the protagonist is a cool 17-year-old girl rather than some lame 12-year-old boy.
So I got a premade costume; I basically managed to fit in the women's XL, despite busting some stiches in the back of the top when trying it on. Modulo my curls, I at least have the correct hair for this role—if nothing else. I was a little bit nervous that someone in progressive "Republic City" might take offense at my Maybelline 235 "Pure Beige" foundation being a few shades darker than my actual skin tone—although much fewer than if I were going for show-realism—but that turned out not to be an issue. (Somehow just pretending to be female is OK—only I can't help but wonder what people might make of the 'race' tag on some of my favorite blogs.)
I guess I could have gone as Asami. I even endorse one Tumblr user's headcanon that we have something in common. (I like to imagine that the title of the graphic novel continuation was originally spelled as TERF Wars before they decided to cut that subplot.)
While waiting in line at a coffeeshop before the con, a woman complemented me on my lipstick and asked me what color it was, although I didn't remember (760 "Gone Griege", for the record). I was beaming.
I can imagine an actual aspiring trans woman receiving such a comment, and interpreting it as confirmation that she passes, complementing each other on their appearance just being something that women do. I had no such delusions; the woman was clearly humoring me, commenting in a spirit of communal good cheer surrounding a special event (rather than because she was actually curious about the lipstick color). It was nice.
The booth for signing up for the afternoon cosplay competition also offered signup for a speed-dating event later in the evening, an opportunity which I siezed eagerly. The staffer asked me if I wanted to sign up for a men's slot, or for the unsegregated "queer" session afterwards. I opted for the former ("Despite everything," I said).
Obviously I had no hope of winning the "TV and movies" category of the cosplay contest with a store-bought costume, and they didn't have a "crossplay" category, but I got to be on stage for all of four seconds.
Despite having plenty of time to change, I decided to stay in costume for speed dating. One or two of the other attendees asked me why I had chosen to dress up as Korra. "Because she's awesome," I said. Which is true, if not a complete answer to their question.
I wonder if they bought it.