I can be honest here, right?
Writing a trans character terrified me.
I try to be a good ally, but I know that it doesn’t matter how much I educate myself, or how much my trans friends choose to tell me about their experiences. The truth is, I don’t understand.
Just as most men will never understand the daily shit women deal with, just as a white person can never grok the systematic oppression PoC deal with every fucking day, I, as a cis woman, can never understand what life is like for a trans* person.
And that means, sooner or later, I’m going to get something wrong. Sooner or later I’m going to make a mistake, an write something that adds to the problem rather than being part of the solution.
The easy answer, the ‘safe’ answer, would be not to write trans* characters. To write worlds where the binary is not an illusion, but the reality. A world where everyone is either a man, or a woman, and there’s nothing in between.
I would never make a mistake then, never write a trans* character in a way that was damaging or insulting or fed the idiotic stereotypes. But then there would be a bigger problem, a bigger mistake. The mistake of pretending that trans* people don’t exist.
I hope I did a good job writing John. I hope I managed to avoid being offensive or reinforcing stereotypes. But if I didn’t? If I did make those mistakes? I can live with it.
I can live with it a lot easier than I could live with writing trans* out of existence.