Help me write a trans character, please?

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Help me write a trans character, please?

Postby CisAllyWriter » Wed Aug 20, 2014 10:08 am

Full disclosure: I'm a cis-gendered male. I'm Canadian. And I'm developing a character for a graphic novel I'm writing. I'm currently looking for publication for a related book, and that's moving along slowly. I'm here, though, because I'm trying to develop a character who is trans and I've hit a bit of a speed bump because I don't know what its like to be trans, or to question my gender/ gender identity/ gender expression. It's never been a thing in my life and as a way to tell a character story that I am passionate to tell I would like to show a character who is dysphoric and transitioning and going through the coming out process. The only hiccup is I can't even begin to imagine what its like. I don't have a comparison point and I have this feeling like I can't relate because I don't have anything in my frame of experience that I can describe as anything similar to being trans. And because of that, it'll be hard (or at the worst; impossible) for me to convey that to the reader and do it the justice it deserves. The trans person's story of coming out and transitioning is one that (from my limited experience) is generally glossed over and I really want to shine a light on it.

I'd like to ask for some of your stories about realizing you're trans, coming out, rationalizations for not coming out as trans before you did, and just generally what it's like carrying the question of if you are, or the realization that you are, trans around. I'm really concerned about getting this character right, and treating them and the topic respectfully. Unfortunately to do that I have to stumble around like an idiot asking, "how be trans??" But I'd rather look like an idiot and get it right than make blanket assumptions about your community and end up being offensive. Please feel free to e-mail me at

The character is going to be a shape shifter and will likely go through a classically heroic fall from grace and ultimately be redeemed. I'm also interested in thoughts about how being a shape shifter might impact a trans person (assuming we lived in a world where people had super powers). Otherwise, I fully intend to treat the character as a person first and foremost. However, I do need help because I don't want to get it wrong and to do it right I need to hear about the experience of the journey to transitioning. I've heard, "I always knew I was trans" but not much else. And-- no offense-- platitudes like "I always knew I was" is about as helpful to me for writing as telling an architect "the paint is red" is helpful to drawing the blueprint.

My goal is to show the journey from questioning to being out, proud, and happy/ comfortable in their skin. This character isn't going to be anything like, "today we label this character as X marginalized group for the sake of being inclusive." I"m legitimately interested in telling the story of the character journey. By me understanding what its like to be trans will help me develop the character's history and let me better understand the choices a person might make.

Please do feel free to e-mail me.

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