transwriting:

a post on some shit i’ve seen

“I have a male character, but they’re very feminine so I think they might be a trans woman.”

This is not how being trans works. Being gender non-conforming =/= trans. Here is a list of reasons why this is sexist and transphobic.

  • It implies that men and women must behave a certain way and that anyone who does not adhere to these gender roles must be a different gender.
  • It implies that gender non-conforming trans people do not exist.
  • It negates sex dyshoria.
  • It enforces gender roles.
  • It enforces stereotypes and misconceptions trans people have been fighting against for a long time.

Your male character can be feminine without being trans. They are still a man.

“It’s offensive to describe trans people as being ‘born in the wrong body’.”

No, it’s not.

This is a narrative that many trans people use because it is an easy and succinct way to describe sex dysphoria. Dysphoria is more complicated than this, but this narrative is not offensive.

Stop silencing dysphoric people. Your character can describe themselves like this if they so choose to.

“I have a male character, but I picture him as having little body hair and wide hips, so I think I might make him a trans man–”

This is offensive. If you make a character trans because they posses physical characteristics that are seen as “undesirable” or “not typical” on people of their sex, then you are sexist and transphobic. 

Cis men can have wide hips and little body hair. Trans men can have narrow hips and a strong jaw. Cis women can have lots of body hair and a deep voice. Trans women can be short and curvy.

“My character is androgynous and it’s difficult to tell their gender so I’m making them non binary.”

Okay…

  • By claiming that non binary people are always androgynous appearing, you are creating a new set of gender roles and expectations while simultaneously doing everything in the first thing I talked about.
  • “Non binary” and “gender non-conforming” are not synonyms, but this doesn’t mean non binary people can’t be/aren’t gender non-conforming.

“Cis people are boring so my characters are all trans.”

This is the wrong mindset when talking about representation for trans people and when writing trans characters. When you equate “cis” to “boring” and “trans” to “cool” and “interesting,”, you are fetishizing and dehumanizing trans people. 

We are not trendy accessories that will make your story better simply by being there.

BTW, boring trans people exist. Because, you know, we’re people and not this year’s most popular Christmas gift.

“Reveal that your character is trans by showing their scars/body.”

Allies and transphobes alike have a fascination with the bodies of trans people. It has gotten to the point where “allies” spread private information about the medical lives of trans people to the general public. This has turned into a “how to spot a trans person” game.

Your characters do not need to be half-naked to show that they are trans.

“Dysphoria is self-loathing and can end up bringing too much angst to your story.”

Dysphoria is not self-loathing. This is a huge misconception. Dysphoria is a disconnect between someone’s brain and their physical sex.

When people experience sex dysphoria, their sex characteristics feel foreign. It is not simply “hating your body.” That narrative should not be used in fiction. Ever. It is false. Body positive feminists (both lib and rad) use it to vilify sex dysphoric people.

Do not ignore dysphoria. A lot of people don’t know what it actually is and confuse it for internalized misogyny. Dysphoria needs to be a part of fiction featuring trans characters so that we can work to end the misconceptions about it.

Also, do not “cure” your character’s dypshoria with love or romance or sex or self-acceptance. That’s not how it works.

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