Over the last couple of years I've started to get into Cosplay. There's a wikipedia article on the subject, but its basically fancy dress where you portray a specific character, and pay attention to the details. As well as the dressing up angle, I also like the challenge of creating a costume. Whether that's trying to find something similar in the shops to adapt, or going the whole hog and buying material and a pattern. Some people just buy the costumes (often from sweatshops in the far east), but that cuts out half of the fun for me.
In the late 90s and early 2000s I'd attended anime and manga conventions, seen the awesome costumes, and even attended talks and workshops, but I'd never got started. Fortunately some IRC silliness and peer pressure convinced me give it a go last May. As a T*person I naturally gravitated to what is know as Crossplay - cosplaying a character of a different gender to yourself - and I've been really surprised at the reception.
Crossplay has a bit of a bad rap because of male crossplayers with hairy legs and five o'clock shadow, and female crossplayers who act out smutty Yaoi (guy on guy snogging or worse) scenes in public. Fortunately I had my tranny skills, and I pick characters who don't expose bits I'm not proud of!
Although a few chav kids have made snide comments, the cosplayers I've met have been very complimentary, both about my novice costuming skills, and my feminine acting (although my self conscious nature always worries they are exaggerating). I think it has helped by picking fandoms where the majority of fans are female, and they are used to crossplaying to meet all the major roles.
Or maybe its novelty? MtF crossplayers are still quite the rarity when you exclude those doing it half-arsedly or for "a larf", so maybe they are preserving an endangerd species ;-)
Either way, my next costume in progress is Miss Finster from Disney's Recess. I'm hoping this will provoke some amused nostalgia!
9 hours ago