I quite like your point of view. These questions are often so much more nuanced and difficult than people allow for.

For example, I’m a cis gay man and a novelist. Every novel of the six I have written, and most of my dozens of short stories, feature gay male characters.

I draw from my own experience of having lived in various queer communities, and I work hard to give my characters solid dimensionality and rich inner lives.

But the thing is, the queer communities I’ve been part of have also included trans people. So I write trans characters too, partly because not to do so would be erasing trans reality.

I take my writing seriously and work very hard and professionally to make sure I get things “right.” Which includes running passages past trans beta readers and so forth.

But every now and then I do hear simplistic complaints that as a cis man I shouldn’t be writing about trans people.

I think that ignores the complexity of art and artists. To produce our best art, we all have to step outside of ourselves and dream. That’s what makes our work sparkle, or lacking that, what makes it flat and lifeless.

Representation is critical, but I entirely agree that we shouldn’t let it become a form of gatekeeping.

Written by

Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot. jamesfinnwrites@gmail.com

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