How I Explored My Gender Identity Through Pony Play

Updated March 29, 2016 3:06pm PDT

My therapist’s jaw dropped when I first told her I wanted to be a woman. 

Nowhere in our sessions had she seen this coming. A young gay man talks on nearly contracting STI’s; next week, he wants to be a woman. She hadn’t even flinched when I told her of my fetishes–I felt as though it was the first time anyone had ever mentioned to her that being transgender was a thing.

She made it clear she didn’t see me as someone who would end up becoming a woman. 

I said: “I don’t think I want to become a woman. I feel like I am a woman. I feel like my life has been nothing but trying to fit in, trying to be what other people tell me.” 

I had grown up with dolls, and I had more in common with Nala than Disney’s rambunctious male Simba.

On my spare time, I’m a female horse of rubber with a serious attitude problem.

I like to pretend. Along with our dolls, stuffed toys, and affinity for animals, my brother and I were always the kids running around in costumes. He would be Wolverine, and I would be a dog. The parents would see him swiping his claws through the air, and I would be lying around happily if not chasing our cats; he would also try to fight with me, but I’d scream and cry, and when we were out for recess, he with his friends and me with mine, I would pretend to be a woman known as Cheetara, hoping that her strength and beauty would stem on down to me.

When I got older, I invested myself in the furry fandom. Humans could be animals, monsters, creatures, and even plush toys of any gender. My first persona—or “fursona”—was a fat red balloon shaped like a silly male wolf. It was a thrill to socialize under my chosen identity: a jovial, colorful toy. Being cared for; empowered by interacting with other chosen identities. Expressing myself under my own terms.

In this freedom I found the character of Natalie, a latex loving and leather clad mare with an affinity for affection. I was captured by the idea of being someone’s pet, an owned commodity with sexual purpose and capital. I had a sexual affliction tugging me in–pets, rubs, and even floggings got me making horse sounds and the occasional kicks. Only in the bedroom did I experiment with this side of me; because I was single, I spent most of this time alone. 

But being a pet gave way to me wanting to be someone’s female pet–that was where I found the woman inside of me.

Being a female horse brought me to know sensitivity, beauty, and grace. The attitude I have when playing as Natalie gives me an aura of strength. She had strong legs that could hurt someone, but a soft mane and tail ready to brush the skin. Her squeaking latex brightened the usual monotony of my life.

Playing pretend is the first way for us to learn who we really are. My brother’s time as Wolverine gave him the strength he needs to save lives. I never expected myself to roleplay and tease others as Natalie the show-horse. Stepping on someone’s length, nibbling their ear, making soft nickers, flirting with the animal inside me–while I never felt drawn to identifying as a woman whilst growing up, in some odd, quirky, and definitely kinky way, I eventually learned who I was by letting myself go and giving the “me” inside a chance.

I learned that I’m a woman, strong and beautiful, by letting the horse inside of me go free.

Being a furry never affected me the way that many may think; the community showed me how being true to yourself is more important than anything else in life. My experiences gave me the opportunity to explore myself, lifting the veil of my inner desires, revealing who I truly felt to be. I know now that I’m Natalie, as well as Brandy. With family, I’m some other name that doesn’t really resonate. It’s there, it’s nice, but it isn’t the person that I know I am.

I share who I am, what I do, and what I’m into with a group of friends much like me. A handful of them are transgender; the rest are some of the kinkiest people that I have ever met in my life. Parties for us mean getting together, drinking, and most of the party ending naked and bruised or scratched or bitten (safely and consensually, darlings. Don’t accept anything you never asked for when under the influence). We revel in that we can be who we are. 

This openness has allowed me the confidence to identify as female in school, work, and relationships.

I’ve met someone who accepts me as Brandy, Natalie, and a good handful of other pet personas that each get him hot and me nickering wild.

I wouldn’t have told my therapist that I’m transgender, and unwilling to get "the operation" (which is no small risk in terms of getting necessary health and mental care as a trans person), if I hadn’t felt confident in who I was amidst my creature comforts. The proverbial "beast mode", if you will. 

Friends tell me that my kinks for latex and bridles never change me or who I am.


Sipping my tea beneath a big red balloon, I’m glad that I can eat my oats and accept it all just the same.

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Brandy Lewis is a freelance writer and fantasy author living in California. She attends the University of California, Riverside, where she is a part of the on-campus queer community and shares her work with her peers.