Need Advice On How To Portray A Transgender Person In Art

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Re: Need Advice On How To Portray A Transgender Person In Art

Postby Guest » Wed Feb 11, 2015 7:29 pm

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.

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Postby Casaluna » Thu Feb 12, 2015 2:07 pm

Last edited by Casaluna on Tue May 12, 2015 11:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Need Advice On How To Portray A Transgender Person In Art

Postby TBM » Thu Feb 12, 2015 6:13 pm

This is really insulting.

I'm speaking from direct experience in trying to design a trans character for my story. I believe there's a fine line to be tread between a perfect pass where you wouldn't suspect a thing, and a mockable depiction. I say that because I've literally seen it done by my own two hands. But like with most visual interpetation, this is opinion.

If you want, I can draw you such a character.

You see we are constantly battling against negative stereotypes in the media and to portray a transperson in this way just reinforces this comedic image.

There's an unwholesome narrative at work here. Sure, if you portray the transwoman as someone who looks just like any other woman aka an idealized pass, then people will likely take her seriously. Which is great, if you're that kind of transwoman.. It changes absolutely nothing on the acceptace front, for the trans who aren't so fortunate. They may even be mocked as not *really* being trans, as a *real* trans looks just like a cis woman, right? That's the kind of message that gets sent when only an ideal is taken seriously. But ultimately that some find poor passers comedic is the flaw of the one laughing. the problem is with them. Do we fix their problem or leave their biases uchallenged and limit serious trans depiction in fiction to one that doesn't offend their sensibilities?

I completely disagree. Yes there are some trans people who don't pass for whatever reason. However, what about the majority you pass in the street who you see as just another women and you have no idea of their trans history?

But I don't take more than a glance or two at almost all strangers i pass on the street. Which is the case with most people. Most trans people pass the glance test, sure.

But if I look at say a trans person in a video, I think it wouldn't be accurate to say that most perfectly pass under such scrutiny. Trust me I wish they could.

ps or visual clues only obtained in very close proximity.

That's for the most part what I'm talking about. this is a book cover after all.