A Transgender Interview: on Diverse Literature

As I wrap up work on my YA Contemporary Fantasy for #NaNoWriMo2016, I continue to push for diversity and authenticity. These comments from my interview with two transgender people, Natalie and Milo, continues to put things in perspective for me. After all, WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS! (And diverse songs, screenplays, and poems… the sky’s the limit here, people.)

The last post on my transgender interview series is coming next week. Tune in!

transgender interview

On Diverse Literature

Where do you think prejudice against transgenders comes from?

transgender interviewNatalie
The biggest prejudice comes from the unknown.  Some people have a harder time concealing their biological sex so when they are seen in public people act out of ignorance.  They aren’t educated on the matter and refuse to educate themselves to be accepting.  They want to use the Bible as a way of defending their stance, but nowhere does it say anything about transgenderism.  People are confusing it with sexual orientation, not that that makes their stance any better or easier to accept.  If you have a question and are sincere, just ask.  Education is key to overcoming prejudice.

Milo
Media and sales. They create this device to market stuff. When a corporation wants to sell stuff it needs a clear customer base. Times are changing again though and I feel that around the corner they will fine that products don’t need gender. In the past there were transgender Greeks, women were Vikings, and pirates supported disabled people. Native Americans knew about non-binary and gender fluid people. Only recently has there been this issue with more than cookie-cutter gender.

transgender interviewWould you like to see more transgender-related literature? What sort of book would you like to read?

Natalie
I haven’t actively sought these books out, however I am in the process of plotting them.  I read mostly YA romance, fantasy, and science fiction, anything to escape my reality.  I have heard other writers discuss their ideas for trans characters and stories and I have thought they were brilliant, but as they aren’t finished I can’t go into detail.

Milo
History as it actually was for a start, there have always been transgender people just as there has always been homosexuals, POC [people of color], and disabled people. AND their gender was not a defining trait! It was a [descriptive] trait like hair or eyes. I see too many people turn this into something it’s not. I forget about my gender; it is not the top thing in my mind all the time.

Despite the supposed demand for “diverse books,” do you feel there is transgender prejudice in the publishing industry? What makes you think as you do?


Natalie

I think overall the publishing industry is growing to accept more real characters.  Of course there are some publishers/agents who won’t be comfortable with these books, but as a whole they have become accepting.  I like the push as it makes authors more cognizant of creating relatable characters rather than the same perfect jock or clumsy girl turned heroine over and over again.

transgender interviewMilo
Books could be so much more interesting if the characters were written three-dimensional. Like a woman doesn’t think about a man 100% [of the time], an elf doesn’t think about the war 100% [of the time], the guy in outer space doesn’t think about space 100% [of the time]… I’d love to see someone with 100 different problems, not one. 

 

Want more? Visit Mica’s the other transgender interview blog posts. If you’re an author, also visit Mica’s Free Online Writing Events Calendar for chances to get free professional feedback or to win contests, or read some of Mica’s Writing Tips posts!

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