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For Writers: Writing Transgender

Transgender Flag

Today’s writer topic comes from QSFer Matthew J. Metzger:

The big one for me is the double standards. There seems to be a presumption that you need to have a degree in gender studies to write a trans character, no matter the actual plot or genre of the book. Whereas I can see eight novels on my feed right now that are M/M and could be changed to M/F with a simple pronoun switch-up. Why can LGB books be about, well, anything you want, but the idea of a book with a character who just so happens to be transgender blows people’s minds?

Couple things here. I did change a character from straight woman to gay man once, and it was way harder than just switching the pronouns. *grin*

But Matthew’s point is well taken. We often write transgender characters with a capital T – look, everyone – this man (or woman) is Trans! This book is all about their transness!

I think trans literature is, in many ways, where gay fiction was in the 60’s or 70’s… and then once we moved past telling those stores with a capital G, it became a capital A for AIDS. And then for a while it was all about coming out.

So how do we move beyond the initial T stage to tell other kinds of stories with trans characters?

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