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The Blatherings Of A Blitherer

Questions about sexual presentation in fiction.

July12

Let’s say that you are reading a piece of fiction that is well written and enjoyable. It’s got what you like in it: good characters, good world building, action, romance, happy little elves, sparkling vampires, hard bitten cynics with hearts of gold, whatever.

Let’s say that there’s a character who is one gender, but presents as another. FOR INSTANCE: you have a biological female who dresses in male clothing, uses a male or gender neutral name or nick name, and doesn’t correct people who use male pronouns.

Do you assume this character is transgendered?

If you find, via the story, that the character presents this way for social reasons rather than identity reasons, do you feel let down? Like, the character doesn’t really identify as male, but gets less crap from people/is taken more seriously when wearing pants and short hair, but has no problem having a vagina/ovaries/menstruating/etc?

If a character IS transgendered and presents/lives/identifies as female, but is a sex worker, is that offensive because it’s a stereotype? What if the character is fully accepted by the group she lives/works with, and her clients? What if the character is a minor character who is well fleshed out and realized but ultimately is a support character only (“magical transperson”)?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Please feel free to email me (brigidkeely at gmail .com) if you don’t want to post publicly.

posted under advice, fiction, writing

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