1. louismonette
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    louismonette Member

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    A Transexual character, feedback please!

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by louismonette, Apr 7, 2011.

    Hi guys. I am working on my first drama short story. I did some horror and sci-fi pieces, but i dont know, its getting old really fast. So i decided to focuse on a real-life issue. Transexuals and the mental and physical process they must go thru to transition one gender to another.

    Now i have been watching alot of the L word, and yes i have been inspired by max, but i want to totally avoid having the same type of character.

    So here are my main basic ideas. My main character is woman who decided since the age of 17 she wanted to be a man. Altough ignorant about the possible ways or procedures for doing this, she feels in her heart this is something she must do to feel complete. Born and raised in Montpelier, Vermont. Her dad is a professional sport fisherman. He travals north america for various fishing tournaments.
    (Your opinions are welcomed please)
    Now im struggling with 2 ideas. Should i go the usual my dad is never around so i dont have a good relationship route, or go for more of an strong and close bond even tought i rarely see you route.

    Here mom died while delivering her sibling (i still dont know if its a brother or sister) when she was five years old.
    She never dated a guy. Well she never dated anyone in fact. Not that the ocasion never showed up (from both sides), she never was comfortable showing off her body that she tought never really belonged to her.
    She is a dreamer, someone who always thinks big, maybe too big. And also is a nature lover.
    Now the way im starting my story is that she moved to Montreal Quebec Canada two years ago. Working as a bell hop at a fancy hotel downtown.
    She is saving up to go to thailand to get her operation. Going to thailand will save her half the cost (20 000 instead of 40 000).

    Also for the brother or sister issue. Now somewhere in my story, her sibling shows up at her doorstep for a surprised hello. But im not sure about doing a sister or bother. What in your opinion would make a better storyline. And how should they react to the transition. And what should be there character traits?

    Anyways thnk you for reading this and please give your feedback.
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think she would have known much earlier than 17 she wanted to be a man.
     
  3. louismonette
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    louismonette Member

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    Ok in your opinion, around what age?
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    well I don't know any female to male transexuals. However the male to female transexuals knew most of their life and were fully aware by nine or ten possibly younger.
     
  5. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I dunno, being brought up liberally meant I never felt any particular gender roles being pressured on me, and since I was also a nerd and not particularly interested in dating, I got all the way to 19-20 before really wondering if I was actually messed up about who I was, and 21 (current age :p) before I'd sampled enough rubbish relationships to realise I have huge issues about my body and the way people see/use it and how I'd rather they didn't. Mind you, I still haven't decided how I feel because I don't feel particularly manly at heart - just that I dislike being seen, sexually (and pretty much solely sexually - I have zilch issues the rest of the time), as a woman.

    Though, I really don't have strong feelings about the whole LGBT thing, while pretty much everyone else I've ever met who is even vaguely there makes a huge fuss out of it, so it could just be that I'm too apathetic and lazy to count as a model example of anything. :p
     
  6. DeNile
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    DeNile Senior Member

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    I think seventeen is about right, my friend Damien knew he was a man when he was sixteen. And you don't 'decide' you want to be the other gender, you just feel different for most of your life and when you finally figure it out, it just clicks.
     
  7. hiddennovelist
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    hiddennovelist Contributing Member Contributor

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    ^Yeah, that's pretty much how it went for my friend. He didn't actually make the decision to go through the process until his early twenties, but he told me when we talked about it that he had felt different for a long time, it had just taken until his late teens for things to really start clicking about what it was that was wrong.

    I believe he actually had a youtube thing that he did as he was going through the process. Don't know if that would help you, but I can get the info on that if you'd like.
     
  8. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I do agree there is a difference between deciding I am going to do this and know it is what you want or something is wrong. Guess I found the phrasing a bit odd sorry.
     
  9. BUDDY GORGEOUS
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    BUDDY GORGEOUS Active Member

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    Im writing a story at the moment which involves a transexual with a speech impediment titled:

    Man or Myth :p

    Hehe, sorry, had to get a little joke in there somehwere. Anyways, I remember reading Hubert Selby's 'Last exit to Brooklyn' and one of the stories involves Georgette, a transsexual in love with a hoodlum who is scared of his sensitive side. She wants nothing more than to be with him, but he treats her horribly to show off in front of his friends. They end up at a "party" together with a large group of people and an even larger amount of drugs where Georgette and Vinnie's relationship reaches a turning point. Appart from that and watchign the film 'Boy's don't cry', I can't really say I've read much that involves a character wanting to change gender

    Answering one of your questions, I think you should give her a brother as a sibiling because if she has grown up feeling 'different' to most girls (wanting to be a boy or a girl isn't something that happens over night) and wanting to muck about like other boys do, maybe watching her father interract with her brother differently (like teaching his son to fish maybe more imprtant to him than teaching his daughter) to her sort of fuels her need to be a boy too. Grows up being a tom-boy but it still isn't the same. I'm just spouting ideas popping into my head now, haha. To add more drama maybe in some way it causes some friction between her and the brother throughout life and her transition into being a male could be met with dissaproval or alienation/abandonment from the sibiling etc. With the whole dad & daughter relationship, i wouldn't make it a story where the dad was never there for her. The fact that he was there but payed her no mind would be more powerful I would feel, paying more attention to his son.

    Character traits. That's a little tricky because only you know who they really are in your mind. Strangely I have a picture of your MC, her brother (if you so choose to do that) and the father, so I'll just say what I have in MY head so you don't necessarily have to go along with it. I picture your MC with shoulder length hazelnut hair but ALWAYS tied up so she wouldn't look too 'girly', same with wearing little or no make up. I can see her wearing glasses and always wearing layers of clothing as if covering everything up no matter what the weather like someone who's a little over weight because you mentioned how she never felt comfortable with it, feeling it didn't belong to her. She addopts some sort of male-swagger in her walk and talks a little differently maybe, copying the way her brother speaks or something, thinking that in oder to be a man she has to walk the walk and talk the talk. When she's older, working as a bellhop, she still does the same, keeping her hair tied back, no make up etc, out going to a certain degree but still hesitant in certain social situations where she's concious of herself, such as dating etc.. Annother thing is, I get a feeling that she has always thought that she's alone in feeling this way, going through life wanting to be a man and in doing so has kept herself to herself. Being a Bellhop at a swanky hotel too I can imagine her meeting many characters in her line of work, maybe she meets someone staying at the hotel who is flying out to some unkown destination to receive some sort of surgery that your MC has always wanted. Again, just throwing out ideas.

    Sorry if any of this sounds stupid matey, just thought I'd share :)
     
  10. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    I actually read a manga, (that I can't find for the life of me because the name is too short), called "IT" about people born with two genders. Not exactly what you are looking for, but it really dealt with the struggles of gender roles and also how the people around them deal with it.
     
  11. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    As I always say in these threads people with these kind of situation are extremely, EXTREMELY, complex beings and you shouldn't write about them from your lounge chair at home. I suggest that you find a support group for such people, approach them about your book idea, and do interviews.

    I've talked to a variety of such people and I assure you, it will be interesting.

    Also, you need to research the surgeries because that is another complex situation with all kinds of fallout, especially for women that want to be men. On the high end, men can be made to look like a female much more easily than the reverse. There's a doc in the US who uses computers to reduce the male facial bone structure to that of a statistical female with amazing results. And, the apperance of female genitals is fairly "easy" to create. However, a woman who wants to be a man can't really get the surgery to do so. It's hard to add bone structure, height, and no one can make a penis because it's a very complex organ. So, females can get breasts cut off, hormones, and that's about it. Thus, I would imagine that the psychological complexities of their lives are greatly increased post-op.

    There's lots to learn here.
     
  12. Bright Shadow
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    Bright Shadow Member

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    Okay, already you have a major problem. Transgender people do not just wake up one day and say "you know, I wish I was another gender!" If this was a transgender man, he would KNOW he's a man for as far back as he could remember.

    What if you woke up one day in the body of the opposite sex? Same you, but everything else was different. Think about how badly you would want to go back to being the real you. Well, that's what being transgendered is. It's not something wrong with their heads as much as it's their brains trapped in the wrong body.

    I suggest you do a lot of research on it, as in reading up on what transgendered people say about themselves.
     
  13. DMF
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    DMF Member

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    I agree with the two above posts. People who are transgender are born that way and know from the time they are a ble to think for themselves that they are transgender. I would really consider doing more research on the subject before making decisions on what to write.
     
  14. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maybe born that way, but it is not an easy answer to a huge barrel of issues. Like most people have been saying it takes time to add up all the stupid things you feel and realise what they might mean. Maybe there are greater and more obvious degrees of things felt that make it all the more obvious, but it can also be hard to know for sure. I still don't really know because I'm avoiding relationships at the moment for the sake of my sanity as I try and finish my dissertation, and it's only when I'm confronted with that sort of dynamic that I realise I don't fit in it and I feel differently.

    Essentially it's been hard for me because I'm female physically and I like guys, so it seems like nothing really is amiss, yet it took me until I was 18 to even accept this because it felt so wrong. I happily diagnosed myself as a lesbian aged 8 or something stupid like that where I had no idea, and got really distressed every time I liked a guy, and felt guilty about it, etc, and really had no idea why I felt so rubbish until I got a girlfriend and realised that, all in all, felt worse. If I'd been a guy all along, classic sort of gay guy story. Meanwhile pretty much since I was 11 and starting to realise things like that, I've really liked the idea of gay relationships between men, idealised them, and fantasized about them, even been attracted to guys solely because I knew they were gay, and then felt really stupid for falling for them, and miserable because there was no chance they'd like me, and so on. Right now I'm pretty much only just realising I would be a lot happier asking a guy "would you be gay with me?" and that's pretty much since Christmas I've realised most of this. Like I said in the above post somewhere, I am 21 now. Not exactly "known all my life with burning certainty"... About the only manly thing about me as a kid was I held a fanatical stance of blue being better than pink. :p Everyone seems to think I'm really feminine and I do think if I was a guy I'd be fantastically camp anyway... :p
     
  15. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    People may or may not be "born that way" and have to obtain a fairly long period of psychotherapy before getting any medical treatment, at least that's the procedure in the US. You want to make sure that the ideas in the person's mind aren't based on some kind of trauma or psychotic thought process. As I've said, this is a very complex topic.
     
  16. louismonette
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    louismonette Member

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    Ok to clarify something guys, when i mean by decided to transition at 17, i dont mind she suddely said to herself ok im going to be a boy. In my mind she always felt or since a young age felt that she was different and did not belong. But you cant really say to yourself well i will become the other gender at 12 years old. She always felt different, but decided that a a transition or maybe just beeing more boy or doing something about it instead of just feeling like a boy. I know i have alot of research to do, and maybe i miss expressed myself (i am french by the way), but i do get the fact that you just dont suddenly say to yourself those kind of things out on a whim.
     
  17. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    You're right.

    Little children do not understand all that being another sex entails and neither do many adults. Kids and most young people tend to be extremely self-centered and rely on their own conception of what the opposite, or even their own, sex is and do not have the experience or abstract thinking to know the difference between their gender and another. They might identify with surface characteristic of the opposite sex, but that's it.

    Thus, the requirement for psychotherapy before a sex change.
     
  18. tcol4417
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    tcol4417 Member

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    Don't jump to conclusions.

    If you want to determine the age someone decides that they are or should be another gender, I'd look up some real world examples. There have been several documentaries and studies on the matter (that I can't link here because of the rules) but a little digging goes a long way.

    There are examples both of people realising that they were born the wrong gender at extremely young ages while other people become increasingly aware of the fact as they grow older, some not actually coming to accept it until they're well into adulthood.

    The only thing I can say for certain is that
    A) It's not spontaneous. There are always symptoms that a person is uncomfortable with their sexuality or gender. These things usually manifest by way of depression, anxiety and a string of failures trying to fit into societal norms, either in relationships or communities in general.
    B) The decision or realisation of a person's gender or sexuality CAN be spontaneous if there is a sufficiently important revelation.

    Above all else, draw on real world examples. Using hearsay and fiction as your reference will just result in the novelist's equivalent of Chinese whispers.
     
  19. LokiDay
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    LokiDay New Member

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    A good start would be to get into the habit of thinking of and referring to your character as 'he'. Considering him to be a woman may make it difficult to get into his headspace, so to speak.

    For general resources, try places like T-Vox, and searching and reading blogs by transpeople of various stripes.

    On the matter of a sibling:

    Has he been living as male and, if so, for how long? Has he been out of contact his brother/sister since before he began doing so?

    This kind of stuff's going to make a massive difference in how they react to him. For example, was he dressing or presenting as a butch female when they knew him or did he closet himself, so this is this completely out of the blue for them?
     
  20. Dharshan
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    Dharshan New Member

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    Please try to do away with all ,or as may as possible, stereotypes because that hampers the the realness of the character!
     

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