I'm looking for advice from the transgender community on how to portray a transgender person respectfully and accurately on a piece of cover art I am putting together for an upcoming book.
If I have the artist portray someone who reads in all ways visually as female, there is no way to have the intended effect - that someone who is transgender or transsexual looks at the cover and says "Hey, that's me there!"
The answer seems pretty obvious to me. Tread the line between someone who passes as female convincingly and someone who passes terribly to the point that it becomes potentially comedic to the average viewer.
This character should not pass as female. But they also shouldnt look downright bad either. She should look female only if one takes a quick glance. If one looks at her for any time beyond that, they should be able to pick up that she is trans. Which I dont think is disrespectful, as its where most trans women are in reality I think. But the character wouldnt be ugly, or someone who looks really male but with a wig. Because I think a real trans woman who looked like that would be quite upset. I think respect isnt about just showing off an easily palatable ideal. I think respect and true skill involves showing the less than ideal and treating it seriously.