How Trans Role Model Casil McArthur Learned to Express Himself Through Cosplay

Long before the 17-year-old model Casil McArthur became a favorite among Marc Jacobs and Steven Meisel, he struggled with gender dysphoria and not being accepted for wearing masculine clothes. At 13, though, he found relief from both going about his life and his modeling career under his then-name Dani Rose: cosplay, or dressing up as characters from mostly anime and manga series, proved not only the escape McArthur needed, but one that eventually taught him how to be comfortable being himself.

Released on 4/26/2017

Transcript

00:01
I never really thought about
00:04
being a girl and that being uncomfortable for me.
00:10
It's when I started getting older,
00:13
people started forcing things upon me,
00:16
like not being allowed to wear masculine clothing
00:20
to public events,
00:22
didn't want me to make them ashamed.
00:24
For me, when it came to gender expression,
00:29
I didn't understand it until I started cosplay.
00:33
I started cosplaying around 13 years old.
00:38
It's the fun version of my job.
00:40
I just started making so many friends through cosplay.
00:44
It's really become way more than a hobby to me.
00:48
Cosplay can make someone beautiful,
00:50
especially if they don't feel beautiful with themselves
00:54
and they feel better cosplaying a character.
00:57
I was cosplaying, and this woman came up to me
01:00
and was like, holy shit,
01:01
you're a man?
01:03
You are the most beautiful man I have ever seen.
01:07
And that was the compliment I was looking for.
01:11
And I never knew it.
01:12
That was the first time I ever
01:14
was in a place where I was being called he,
01:19
and I realized that I was no longer comfortable
01:23
having to live as a girl.
01:26
There's so many unique people in this world.
01:28
You can't just categorize you're a man and you're a woman,
01:32
and that's it.
01:33
And you can't expect people
01:34
to be completely comfortable with that.
01:37
It just doesn't make sense to me.
01:40
Cosplay gave me an outlet of self-expression
01:44
that I had never been allowed to have before.
01:47
And it gave me a platform to become more confident
01:51
and more self-expressive.
01:54
It really changed me.