Some really important advice from a sensitivity editor who specialises in the representation of transgender characters in stories.
For many transgender people, stories about transgender people written by cisgender authors are a source of anxiety. The same holds true when people with disabilities read the works of authors who don’t have disabilities but choose to write about specific disabilities. All too often it becomes clear from the writing that the authors and their editors did not do much research. The writers take the easy way out and fall into standard tropes and storylines. Or, the authors use language that ranges from mildly offensive and ignorant to blatantly hateful.
When problems in the storyline are brought to their attention, the response is often similar to, “I talked to my transgender friend and he’s okay with me using tr*nny, so I did the research.” The one person they talked to about the transgender or disability experience said it was okay, so it must be okay. Pardon me while I go…
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An Irish-Canadian warrior princess and author of Life in the ’Cosm, a comedy sci-fi with an unusual amount of dessert. She's also the editor of the Spoonie Authors Network blog.
Quirky, bakey, eaty, faithy, drummy, wifey sorta gal who really likes writing words.