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Blurred Lines

Anthology

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A growing phenomenon in the queer community is rejecting the strict confines of the gender binary. The need to be 'all boy' or 'all girl' all the time—or to feel like one or the other at all—is a restriction on free gender expression. What does it look like when someone blazes their own path through gender roles? Wearing, saying, and doing what they want, even when it causes confusion or discomfort to others? It takes a strong personality to defy societal norms, and this collection brings together several of them.

In Werebears and Water, Rayce and his boyfriend, Vince, take a break from their busy college lives to visit a WereCon, where they hope to meet others like themselves. Most of the attendees are players and posers, but when a sexy spitfire of a girl named Maia comes to share their room after a hotel mix-up, they will find that she's everything they were looking for... and everything they didn't even know they were looking for.

Tony tends bar, and whether he's in a suit and tie or a mini-skirt and glitter, he can handle anything from sarcastic comments to the drunk and disorderly—except for the gorgeous George, whose comfort level with Tony's gender fluidity is a little fluid itself. Experience has taught Tony to expect the worst, and he's not about to risk his heart on someone who can't love him, tits and all. Only by Defying Expectations can George win the fair bartender's heart.

Then, in Red Blood, White Blood, Chee, once known as Chen, has sought the guidance of her tribe's spirit creatures, and has received and unorthodox message: she will not receive the totem's blessing to become a hunter, because that is a man's duty and, despite her body, she is no man. Her horrified family sends her away to another tribe, where a wise woman may have a cure for her strange malady... but the wise woman's cure is acceptance. As Chee teaches Taki, a boy with a similar dilemma (and a woman's body), the ways of men, she learns her own place as a woman of her new tribe, both publicly and in the privacy of a darkened hut.

Finally, Of All The Days to be a girl or a boy... Both have their benefits and drawbacks for thief Vesh, who's having a particularly bad day involving a big guard, a pick-pocketing gone wrong, and time in jail. When a mysterious benefactor offers freedom (without loss of limb), in exchange for attempting a dangerous mission, Vesh jumps at the chance. There's one catch—the big guard, Jerik, gets to ride herd.

Tony opened his eyes wider, trying to make sure he didn't poke himself with the mascara brush. He had already done that once this week, and he didn't feel like a repeat tonight. The dirty mirror in the men's bathroom wasn't helping much, but he finished the job without incident. Recapping the brush, he took another look at himself. His thick, black lashes stood out in stark contrast to his pale skin. His light pink lip gloss wasn't too obvious, but it gave his mouth a subtle sheen that would definitely draw attention, just as he wanted. Damn, he thought to himself. I'm going to be beating the customers off all night looking like this.

A sharp banging on the door caused him to startle, and then the sharp voice of his boss came through the door. "If you're not out there in two seconds, I'm coming in after you," she said.

Tony had no doubt that she would, too. Ellen was many things, but delicate wasn't one of them. She'd get in the middle of a bar fight or come barging into the men's room or whatever the situation called for, and not make any apologies for doing it. It was one of the reasons he liked working for her.

With an exaggerated sigh, he pulled open the bathroom door and walked out. Ellen was standing there with her arms crossed, tapping her foot and looking at him like she was a few seconds away from ripping him a new one. "Are you done, Princess?"

"Beauty like this takes time." He looked at her, his eyebrow raised as he took in her worn jeans and plaid over-shirt. "Maybe you should follow my example and spend a few minutes on your own self."

"No, thank you," she said, then narrowed her eyes as she leaned closer. "Are you wearing glitter?"

"Oh, is it noticeable?" he asked, rubbing his fingers against his cheek. "I couldn't tell in there. The lighting's so bad, it's a wonder our customers can see well enough to aim, much less tell what they look like."

"Most of them are too drunk to notice anyway," she said. "But, really, what's with the glitter?"

"Cindy picked some up for me last time she went shopping. I wanted to give it a try and see if I liked it."

"Like the other stuff isn't enough for you?" she asked, pressing her lips together. "Nobody needs to be that shiny, much less you."

"Ellen, darling," Tony said, cocking his hip to the side and striking a pose. "I'm just enhancing my natural glow."

"Yeah, right," she said, her tone flat. "Well, how about you direct your glowing little ass behind that bar? You're already fifteen minutes late for your shift." Ellen turned, calling back over her shoulder as she walked down the hall. "And if I have any customers complaining about glitter in their drinks, you and me are going to have a discussion."

"Bitch and complain," he called out, but she didn't acknowledge him, just walked into her office and slammed the door behind her.

The place wasn't even all that busy when he walked behind the bar. There were a few customers sitting around the outer tables, and the pool tables were occupied, but at the bar itself was desolate. There were only three customers sitting far apart from each other, and Cindy had it covered. Tony didn't know why Ellen had to be such a hard-ass about him taking the time to get dolled up. When the crowds increased she would be thankful for it, since he could draw in more money with his flirting and fine looks.

"Oh, you're wearing the sparkly stuff I bought you," Cindy said when he came near, her smile getting wider. "It looks fantastic."

"Thank you," Tony said, emphasizing the words. "At least someone appreciates it."

"I always appreciate you, baby," she said, giving him a peck on the cheek. "Now take over the bar while I deal with the tables."

-- from "Defying Expectations" by K. Lynn

4.5 - Garrett at Read The Rainbow
"Together these tales provide insight into what it’s like to live in the small spaces between society’s preconceptions and stereotypes, having to deal with the discrimination that so easily comes to us, often unthinkingly, but just as wrong nevertheless. But whether this is your experience or you’re curious about what it’s like to live this way, Blurred Lines is also about something more. It’s about people doing what people do: overcoming obstacles, growing in the process, and sometimes finding love and peace within themselves. The gender fluid are at root, just that: people. And there’s nothing blurry about that."

Length

51,000 words

Release Date

February 11, 2014

Book Type

Anthology

Categories

Trans*

Cover Art

ThinkSentient Ltd

Keywords

Trans*

Contributors

Caitlin Ricci
Jasmine Gower
K. Lynn
Sian Hart