I’ve been reading fanfiction for almost a decade now. That’s almost half my life. And it’s interesting to watch, as time passes, the leaps and bounds fanfic makes in terms of various issues. Years ago, almost every slashfic I read was about characters who were straight ‘but-you’re-my-one-exception’; now many fics delve into the complexities of the orientations between straight and gay. Writers have gotten better about not completely writing off canon love interests or prominent female characters just because they get in the way of a ship.
But it wasn’t until recently that, for the first time in my decade of reading, I found a fanfic that, instead of a straight character being queered, featured a cis character portrayed as trans.
That Which We Are by mikkey_bones is a Skyfall fanfic that centers on the Bond franchise’s new Quartermaster, as played in the movie by Ben Whishaw. The summary states:
Q seems to explain gender theory, the Kinsey scale, and things like that on a daily basis. The dictionary by which he defines his identity isn’t an open book.
It’s relatively short (less that 5,000 words), but in that space mikkey_bones manages to make you really feel the discomfort, dysphoria, and panic that Q would feel regularly as a transman in a high-ranking government position. I didn’t like this fic—it made me uncomfortable and bore no resemblance to the sort of feel-good fanfic I generally seek out.
But I applaud it, because that’s what it was intended to do—to put you in Q’s place, and give you an insight into his experience. It’s tremendously well-written, contains no ships, and helps to fill a much needed void in representation in fanfic. I encourage everyone to check this out.