From its inception, Animorphs was always a series dedicated to what we’d term social justice today. It featured five kids of various ethnicities trying to save the world from a secret alien invasion, becoming child warriors in the process. But as a product of the 90s, it didn’t focus on LGBTQ+ issues very much. Sure, the protagonists were very young, and author K.A. Applegate might not have been able to get any LGBTQ+ rep through her publishers if she had had any ideas, but the fact remains that a series about kids literally changing their bodies as a weapon of war should have made trans issues front and center in Animorphs‘s otherwise excellent diversity.
Fortunately, in recent years the Animorphs fandom has taken steps to correct this oversight. One of my previous FFs, Bird in a Cage, was a character study of Tobias, arguably the Animorph with the most gender dysphoria. Canonically, Tobias never felt comfortable in his human body, and when he ended up trapped in his hawk morph, it wasn’t his body he missed, but his humanity in general. In that fic, author etothepii explores the idea of Tobias as a trans girl coming to terms with her gender identity. Today’s fanfic broadens the scope of these gender identity issues by changing the gender identity of all the Animorphs. The Word of Your Body is a series of vignettes about trans, intersex, and nonbinary Animorphs that looks at the many social and family issues that the gender-diverse Animorphs have to go through in the shadow of the war.
Trigger warning for gender dysphoria, transphobia, and internalized transphobia in the fic. As Animorphs was originally written in the 90s, this fanfic was written using LGBTQ+ terms that would have been used in the 90s, despite the fact that we no longer use some of these terms today. Please read with caution.
Some of you may remember Animorphs, a series which was all fun animal transformations on the surface and all war crimes and child soldiers when you got deeper. It’s been one of my favorite series my whole life, and so I periodically search AO3 and the trash fire that is FF.net for new fanfic, hoping that someone will someday write me the fix-it fic of my dreams. Though I haven’t yet found that, I have discovered that as our civil rights dialogue has advanced, particularly online, more and more fanfiction writers have been applying it to their fanfic. And Animorphs, which was about a multicultural and multiethnic group of kids working together to save humankind from alien invaders, is a particularly meaningful story to which to apply some of this social justice.
When Animorphs was written in the late 90s, Western society’s understanding of trans issues was fairly low (or nonexistent). Now, though, there are more trans people out in the public eye than ever, and subsequently, people are slowly starting to believe that there can and should be trans characters in fiction as well. It’s a long road to more actual canon representation, but in the meantime, no one can stop anyone from having all the trans headcanons they want. Though today’s fanfic is short, it’s a fantastic example of what I’m talking about.
Trigger warning for body dysmorphia and internalized transphobia after the jump.
Everybody wants to be a cat—but do they really? Animal transformations are a staple of our pop culture, from mega hits like Harry Potter to lesser-known but still awesome books like Holly Black’s The Curse Workers. We love seeing stories where the protagonists can turn into animals and hide from or attack their enemies. However, some of these properties gloss over the actual “transformation” part of an animal transformation, and I think the way the animal transformation is handled can add a lot to a story.
A couple weeks ago, I finished my reread of Animorphs and immediately went looking for fanfic to fix the gaping hole in my heart. The last time I’d searched for Animophs fic, I couldn’t find any that I liked. I’d always wanted a fic about Tobias—although some of my favorites, like Cassie, got an ending that made sense for their characters, others, like Tobias, did not. Even though he would definitely have flown off into the woods to be by himself after the final battle, I couldn’t see him doing it in quite the way he did in the series. But thankfully, Yuletide again came to my aid.
When I was a kid, my elementary school took part in this “encourage kids to read” program—most likely the Scholastic Reading Club—that was also probably a ploy for people to buy more books from Scholastic. But every month or so, our teacher would pass out the Scholastic reading catalogs, and my brother and I quickly latched onto one series: Animorphs.
Animorphs was a book series that had a new book out every couple of months, making it more like a TV show than other book series where you’d have to wait at least a year for the next installment. This series definitely got the most money from us—I don’t think we’d discovered the existence of the library yet. Every time we saw this in the catalog, we’d go home and clamor for our parents to pay for it, and this worked until we had roughly half of the fifty-four book series, at which point my parents forcibly introduced us to the library. But it was too late. We were hooked.