Read This: How Not to Write a Trans Character

Cheryl Morgan has written two things you must must must read: "How Not to Write a Trans Character" and the piece it introduces, "The Bone Palace", a review of a novel by Amanda Downum. The review is comprehensive and thoughtful, using the novel as a problematic example, and so it is about much, much more than the book itself. I haven't read The Bone Palace, so can't comment on whether I agree or not with Cheryl's take on it, but the evaluation is not the important thing -- what's important is that Cheryl generously offers us a way of thinking and rethinking representations that have real effects in the world.

Toward the end, the review includes a discussion of the Sandman story A Game of You, with reference to something I wrote about it that Cheryl took exception to. I left a comment on Cheryl's post to clarify what I at least thought I was trying to say, however incoherently, but I'm not going to reprint that here because really I think everybody should read both of her posts fully -- what they have to say is way bigger than any specific story.

The hatred and violence trans people face is nauseating and heartbreaking; whatever we do, however well intentioned, that supports a social, political, legal, or gender system that perpetuates, encourages, or ignores that hatred and violence should be criticized as fully as possible. Beyond that, though, we should work toward creating a world where all different ways of being can be celebrated and enjoyed. Striving for less than that means striving for a world of limits and stereotypes, of prejudices and phobias, of policed boundaries and enforced identities. Shouldn't animals with consciousness and conscience aim for more?


  1. Thanks for posting this. I Appreciate it when bloggers point me in the direction of good posts I would otherwise miss.


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