How To Write Trans Characters (6 Tips)

In this article, we discuss ideas surrounding the idea of how to write trans characters in various storytelling mediums.

Elliot Fletcher and Nicole Maines are both trans actors who are known for their roles as Erin on The Fosters and The Angel on Supergirl.

When writing a story involving a trans or genderqueer character, it's crucial that their entire character arc doesn't center on the gender identity of the character. It's also not in good taste to create an overly stereotypical character as a depiction of any minority or marginalized group.

6 Tips on How To Write Trans Characters

Here are several tips on creating trans characters for your stories:

Don't needlessly make your trans character the center of the story.

Here are some difficult scenarios that you might not want to tread for trans stories unless you have genuine experience to draw upon:

  • Your character is struggling to decide whether or not to "come out of the closet"
  • The character is deciding not to transition for the benefit of another person

It makes sense to bring awareness to the daily struggles trans persons can face. But you can't go wrong writing about a character who chooses to live out their truest essence (a component of every Hero's Journey).

Make sure that your character is believable.

Do not create characters who are not acceptable and who are not held responsible for their actions. It grates my nerves when authors use "realism" to justify creating inhospitable settings in their work.

If you have characters incredibly intolerant of your trans character, they should be held responsible for their actions because it happens so frequently that people get away scot-free in real life.

Use your story to take a stance against what is unacceptable treatment towards trans characters.


Carry out in-depth research.

If you are unwilling to do the necessary research, you should not write a character who is transgender. Creating trans characters requires a significant amount of research. This is because they go through a transition medically, legally, and personally. If you are unsure of any of those factors, then you need to do more research.

Make sure your depiction is as accurate as possible to make sure you are representing trans people properly, without any disregard

Avoid humor at their expense, especially if there is no justice.

It's not funny to make jokes about your trans character, especially if those in the wrong are not reprimanded soon enough for the audience to understand that it's unacceptable behavior. It is a huge pet peeve of mine that in much popular media these days, humor is made at the expense of transgender characters, particularly trans women. Typically, this takes the form of asserting that a transgender woman is not a "real" woman or that she is seeking to exploit innocent heterosexual men who aren't aware of her transition.

Make use of trans authors and trans consultants.

If none of your writers are trans, or you have no trans consultant onboard, understand that you cannot tell stories that can live up the the authentic life experiences that need to be known.

If you work in a movie studio or in TV production with many people working together, having a trans person on your staff who can write trans characters will be advantageous.

Do not display photographs of them taken before the transition.

Your character may be one of the transgender people comfortable sharing photos of themselves before they transition. However, your cis audience may focus an excessive amount of attention on that, which will give them an incorrect impression of who your character is. It is terrible that transphobes frequently use photos taken before a transition to reveal the identity of a transgender person.

Because of this, you need to keep that in mind and proceed with caution. If the pre-transition photos are important to your narrative, you should present them much later in the narrative. It is inappropriate to show them to your audience until you have shown them your character after the transition.

First impressions are highly significant in determining how people think of one another. Therefore, the first thing your audience should notice about your trans character is that they are portrayed as the gender that most accurately fits them.

Here are resources I recommend to get more in-depth knowledge

Storytelling 101 teaches you how to write compelling stories worthy of commercial success. This is best for screenwriters, novelists, filmmakers, videogame writers and storytellers.

Children’s Books 101 teaches you how to write stories that children will love. This is best for aspiring children’s book authors and storytellers.

Owl AI is the revolutionary AI-powered content production platform that helps storytellers, writers, and bloggers of all subject matter easily create highly-polished content.

Success, Money & Mindset Subliminal is a self-hypnosis recording that we recommend to new writers to help with focus, concentration, creativity, and motivation.

Shadow Work Journal: 240 Daily Prompts contains inner work exercises related to relationships, anger, anxiety, self-love, healing trauma, abandonment issues, depression, forgiveness, etc.


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