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?

Popular posts from this blog

"Stone Animals" by Kelly Link

"Loot" by Nadine Gordimer

Ghosts: In Memory of Elizabeth Webb Cheney

Reading Raymond Carver Now

Gardner Dozois (1947-2018)