Besides writing articles here on Medium, I am also a novelist and I primarily write gay erotic romance, under the pen name of Grayson Bell. Many of my characters are gay or bisexual men. While I am a gay, transgender man, I have not included a gay, transgender male character in my stories. Yet.
A big reason why I haven’t included any trans characters yet, is because I am still early in my own transition. When I write a trans character for the first time, I want them to be fully transitioned. Also, don’t get me wrong, when I say fully transitioned, I don’t mean surgically. Not all trans people have surgeries, for a myriad of reasons. When I say fully transitioned, I simply mean they are far enough along in their transition to mostly feel comfortable within their own skin.
I will be able to write a more authentic transgender male character once I’m farther along in my own transition. It’s important that the character be authentic, not only to appeal to any potential transgender readers but also to educate and inform readers who are not transgender.
Another reason why I haven’t written a story with a trans character, is simply because the right story hasn’t popped into my head yet. I write everything from sweet, vanilla romances to dark, kinky, erotic ones. I’ve been leaning more toward dark and kinky lately, and I haven’t felt like they were appropriate for me to introduce a trans character.
I enjoy writing some very kinky, and occasionally dark, stories. While a transgender person could very well experience things I enjoy writing; I don’t want to fall into making them a stereotype. I want my first story about a transgender male character to be positive and uplifting. I also want my stories to be escapist fantasies, not a reminder of the harsh realities that many transgender people face.
As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I understand all too well how much representation matters. However, I also know that not all representation is created equal. Clichéd caricatures of trans men would do more harm than good. That being said, I do plan to include transgender characters in my future writing. I just need to find the right story to tell. I want the character to fit naturally into the fabric of the world I create. There are many ways I can approach this, but I need it to be the right story, especially since it will be an erotic romance that will depict explicit sex.
I realize that no matter how right the story will seem to me, I will still ruffle someone’s feathers. I expect that some transgender men may object to how I write the sex scenes, no matter how carefully I write them. I’m also positive that some cisgender readers may object to any inclusion of a transgender character. All I can do is write the character as authentically as I can, based on my personal experiences as a transgender man, and hope for the best.
Would you read a gay erotic romance that featured a transgender male character?