The fujoshi / fudanshi subculture is a complex overlap of several interests, including cosplay, ageplay, gender play, and kink. Some people in the fujoshi community seek social, medical, and/or legal gender transition options.
The terms fujoshi and fudanshi are slurs used to describe those who enjoy stories with romantic relationships between young men, typically yaoi, also called boy’s love or BL. It is related to “slash fiction,” a genre of fan fiction about romantic or sexual relationships between fictional characters of the same assigned sex. It is also related to “shipping,” where fans dream of relationships between two people or characters they like.
For many transmasculine minors who were assigned female at birth, the term fujoshi is a gendered slur (fujoshi means “spoiled girl” in Japanese). Some prefer fudanshi which means “spoiled boy” in Japanese. Some people consider both slurs. Others consider them an erotic identity.
Interest in masculinization
There is nothing wrong with finding yaoi / BL stories erotic. In the trans community this is sometimes called crossdreaming and male embodiment fantasy. In my 2006 paper on this subject, I discussed three possible kinds of interest:
- interest in masculinization
- erotic interest in masculinization
- autoerotic interest in masculinization
In other words, you may wish to be more masculine to match your identity and expression. You might also be interested in being more masculine in order to enjoy romantic and sexual relationships. You might even think it’s sexy to imagine yourself in a masculine sexual role. All of these interests exist in both cisgender and transgender people.
Some trans and gender diverse people feel shame about their interest in yaoi / BL. No one can make you feel bad without your permission!
As Samuel said on reddit to other trans guys who like BL:
At the end of the day, you are a gay man. There’s nothing wrong with gay men liking gay romance. Often that’s an early sign of being trans, how strongly you identify with either straight men or gay men in terms of sex and romance. Would anyone think that a trans woman must be faking it because she watches the L word? No one would ever say that. So why does the reverse have a stigma?
Because these interests sometimes leave young people questioning their gender, I encourage you to read my questioning page and think about why you might be interested in transition.
It’s important to distinguish fantasy from reality, though. If you decide to take steps to transition, I encourage you to think about how that decision will affect all aspects of your life. There are good and bad things about being trans, and transition won’t make you a new person or solve all of your problems.
The most important thing is to have healthy attitudes about your interests. With self-acceptance and realistic expectations, how you identify and express your gender can be fun and exciting.
Suzuki, Midori (2013). The Possibilities of Research on Fujoshi in Japan. In Transnational Boys’ Love Fan Studies, edited by Kazumi Nagaike and Katsuhiko Suganuma, special issue, Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 12. https://doi.org/10.3983/twc.2013.0462.
Page, River (March 22, 2023). The Yaoi To Trans Pipeline. Pirate Wires https://www.piratewires.com/p/yaoi-trans-pipeline
Look for books by the following authors:
- Natsumi Konjoh
- Seru Joberu