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Updated Mar 01, 2021 at 05:29PM EST by Matt.

Added Jan 18, 2010 at 06:21PM EST by Elita.

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"Trap" is an internet slang term used to refer to a fictional character whose outward appearance is inconsistent with one's perceived gender. The term was initially popularized by anime and manga fans on 4chan in the early 2000s to call out images of femininely-dressed or androgynous-looking male characters. However, the word has drawn criticism and stigma for its derogatory connotation against the transgender community.


The term "trap," not to be confused with "trap house" (a place where illegal drugs are bought, sold and used) or trap music in hip hop culture, stems from a reaction image based on a scene from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, wherein Admiral Ackbar is quoted as saying "IT'S A TRAP" upon discovering an ambush by an enemy fleet. As the reaction image continued to gain traction across anime hub sites like Something Awful and 4chan over the next decade, the word "trap" itself gained recognition as a slang label for a transgender person in general.


Beginning in 2004, the Admiral Ackbar quote spawned hundreds of parody sites featuring the soundbite of Admiral Ackbar’s quote on YTMND, with the most notable instance uploaded by user MultiKoopa on June 2nd, 2005, which has garnered more than 313,000 views (as of April 2016).

Around the same time, shortly after the launch of the imageboard community 4chan, the phrase became closely associated with traps, a slang term for a photograph of a model or illustration of an anime character wherein the gender of the subject seems to be ambiguous or androgynous in appearance.

4chan users, in addition to creating the internet theme day "Trap Thursday," described androgynous anime characters as "traps," a long tradition within anime and manga. According to user coleopterist on the website Stack Exchange, the first trap character comes from Osamu Tezuka's 1949 manga, Metropolis features the first male-to-female "trap" character.[4]

Osamu Tezuka 1949 Manga Metropolis with first feature of male to female trap character

On September 8th, 2007, Urban Dictionary user Michaels V posted a definition of "trap" (shown below).

A man who dresses like a woman and is somewhat feminine in appearance. Could almost be mistaken for a woman until you are in the bedroom with one. Watch out for these types, they are usually afraid to get intimate because you might discover their little 'secret', but sooner or later you find out the truth!

The subreddit /r/traps started on February 28, 2010 and has since accumulated more than 57,800 subscribers. According to the subreddit, "/r/traps is for the posting of photos and video of young and beautiful trans girls and individuals who would love to trap!"[5]

"Are Traps Gay?"

"Are Traps Gay?" is a satirical debate within otaku and alt-right online communities, attempting to determine if being attracted to a crossdressing man is an indication of homosexuality. This debate is often discussed alongside the discussions of anime and futanari character design. On February 21st, 2015, Redditor NyaaFlame posted a thread entitled "Why Liking Traps Isn't Gay" to the /r/anime subreddit. Later that year, on July 31st, 2015 YouTuber king rad uploaded a video in which alt-right leader Milo Yiannopoulos" "Is it gay to like traps?"[1] Yiannopoulos appears to be hearing the term for the first time. On August 10, 2015, he uploaded a video to YouTube entitled "Judge Milo Decides: Are Traps Gay?" The video receives more than 74,900 views.

On January 16th, 2016, anime YouTuber Lost Pause uploaded the video "Is That An Anime Boy or Girl?"[3] The video garnered more than 455,700 views and began a series of videos in which Lost Pause attempted to determine the gender of androgynous anime characters. On September 30, 2016, YouTuber 4TRASH XTREME posted the video "Are Traps Gay [an analysis] ((with graphs)) garnering more than 14,612 views.

On December 16, 2016, Malik Obama, the half brother of former President Barack Obama's, began tweeting about anime and it's supposed negative effects on children, including "traps."[2]

Malik Obama tweets out asking what are traps in a rhetorical questions

Malik Obama tweeting out a formula to imply that anime is bad

Malik Obama concludes in his tweet that Traps are Gay

On February 10, 2017, YouTuber dvri re-posted a video from Instagramer @garebearonline entitled "Traps are gay," which received more than 28,200 views.

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ballstothewall Moderator

Article currently reads "“Are Traps Gay?” is a satirical debate within the Alt-right community," but I think the joke is far from exclusive to the alt-right, it's more to do with anime/Japanese culture fandom, which does not necessarily overlap with the alt-right and is an independent thing.


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