I am a gay man, and so to a limited extent, I think I can relate to someone who is transgender – at least in terms of struggling with something inside of me that’s different – and with society’s reaction to it.
But I’ve always imagined that coming out as transgender must be like coming out as gay or lesbian, times ten.
In my writing career, I’ve mostly stuck to writing straight characters and gay men. But I’m starting to challenge myself to write in some of the other parts of the rainbow – and this month, that includes Colton, my first transgender character.
In some ways, Colton should be like anyone else. I mean, a person is a person, right?
But there’s an emotional mix I want to hit too – the conflict inherent in being born into the wrong body.
There are also the life details to get right – in this case, binding breasts properly, injecting testosterone, and passing in public.
It’s also true, of course, that just like no two gay men are the same, no two transgender people are either, so in a sense, I guess there’s no one “right” way to write this character.
But there are some wrong ways.
I know we’ve discussed this in the past, but it seems ripe for additional discussion.
Have you written or read a story with a transgender character? What was “right” and what was “wrong”? If you are a writer, have you written one yourself? And assuming you are not transgender, how did you do your research? Discuss. :)