What Screenplay Writers Think of Trans Characters

the crying game Dil

Notes in screenplays show that writers often have a good deal of contempt for the trans characters they create. With almost no exceptions–and this includes movies that won major awards such as The Danish Girl–trans characters are seen not as human beings struggling with an incredibly difficult existential dilemma, but as members of a freak show that can be used to entertain the ignorant and insensitive, which often includes those who write the screenplay.

I have reached a point where I don’t think that cisgender writers ought to create trans characters if those characters are more than briefly passing through a story.

I sometimes write fiction and have completed two novels and some short stories. As someone who knows a bit about writing, let me observe that because I am not African-American I would never feel competent to write about the inner lives of those who have lived that experience in a racist society such as ours. I’m not that arrogant.



When You’re Smiling, When You’re Smiling . . .


First of all, in case there is anyone reading this who has never presented as anything but a male, let me ask: have you heard about that business where, if you are a woman, men you encounter in public spaces feel free to pretty much order you to smile?

Let me assure you that it is, as the kids say, a “thing.” I’ve experienced it myself on a few occasions from men in the 50+ age range.

I smile more than Dead Name did, but smiling being read as more feminine in this society is a very small part of why I do.

Often I don’t even realize I’m smiling unless I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror in a department store or something.

I smile a lot more than Dead Name did, but it’s mainly because, although it’s both difficult and dangerous to be a trans woman in this hate-based society, I am so, so much happier than he was!!!




Please Boycott the Film “Anything”

anything poster

Please boycott the movie “Anything.”

Hollywood keeps perpetuating the myth that transgender women are cisgender men in drag who look and act  like someone’s hairy, straight husband on Halloween. This is a myth that can get us killed because straight men are often dangerous. We’re not.

At our holiday party a few months back, the staff and volunteers from the trans center and some sister organizations, their spouses, partners, dates, and kids took over one end of a large restaurant. There were over 30 in our party; most of the adults (and a couple of the kids and teens) were trans.

The other diners didn’t notice. We looked like an ordinary large holiday office party (in our case, it was a non-profit), which is exactly what we were.

One of our cisgender social workers brought her husband. She introduced me, a tastefully dressed older trans woman, to him. I smiled and said hello. He just stared at me with his mouth and eyes open.

I was not what he was expecting! I guess I didn’t look trans enough.

If you want to see an honest film about a trans woman, check out A Fantastic Woman.

“Jen Richards describes being told that she doesn’t look transgender enough to play a transgender person on film, even though she is in fact transgender.

“They said you don’t look trans enough,” my agent told me over the phone, “What the hell does that mean?”

I laughed. I was finally joining the club that included my friends Angelica Ross, Trace Lysette, Rain Valdez, Jamie Clayton, and Alexandra Grey.

“It means that they want the audience to know the character is trans just by looking at her,” I explained, “And in their mind that means a guy in a wig.”



Book Alert! Female by Pilar Vergara


“The photographer, who lives in New York City, rose to prominence as a human rights photographer in Chile during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. She has spent her career focusing on the most marginalized and misunderstood members of society. She said her lifelong dedication to human rights is what inspired her to photograph women who are trans.

Vergara said the portraits in “Female” give no impression that her subjects are anything other than women.”






Boston Marathon 2018

runner-race-competition-female.jpg“For trans women who do lower their testosterone levels, medical experts say there’s no evidence of an athletic advantage.
“That’s a misconception and a myth,” said Dr. Alex Keuroghlian, director of education and training programs at the Fenway Institute, a health and advocacy center for the Boston LGBTQ community. “There’s no physiologic advantage to being assigned male at birth.”
Rather, trans women who take medication to lower their testosterone levels often face side effects like dehydration, sluggishness and reduced stamina — which can all spell disaster for marathon training.”

No Regrets, April 2018


Despite the nonsense being spouted by the Christian right (a) transition greatly improves the mental health and happiness of transgender people and (b) cases of individuals who regret transition are very rare.

One of the primary causes of suicide in trans people is being unable to transition. I used to wake up every morning with not wanting to be alive any more on the back burner of my mind. I had quietly worked out how I could do it. I didn’t kill myself mainly because I was concerned about how it would affect people I cared about. Yes, gender dysphoria can hurt that much.

Although my life since transition has certainly been difficult at times, I have not had even a single day when I wanted to throw away my wonderful new life as myself!

“We identified 56 studies published since 1991 that directly assessed the effect of gender transition on the mental well-being of transgender individuals. The vast majority of the studies, 93 percent, found that gender transition improved the overall well-being of transgender subjects, making them more likely to enjoy improved quality of life, greater relationship satisfaction and higher self-esteem and confidence, and less likely to suffer from anxiety, depression, substance abuse and suicidality.

Only four studies (7 percent) reported mixed or null findings, and none found that the transitioning created more harm than good. Despite recent media focus on anecdotes about “transgender regret,” actual regret rates across numerous studies were minuscule, generally ranging from 0.3 percent to 3.8 percent. Our review of primary research confirmed the positive findings of at least 16 previous literature reviews.”

THAT WAS FUN! 7 April 2018


I went out to dinner with a friend last night at a winery. There was a marvelous jazz band. Loved it! Just loved it!

I was wearing what I think was a terrific little gray dress with pumps and some red jewelry. I think I looked pretty darned hot! My friend was in a suit and tie, which made us one of the better-dressed couples in the bistro.

Torn jeans and flip-flops in a classy winery/bistro? Seriously?

The jazz was mostly music from the 1930’s, 1940’s, and 1950’s. I understand that genre is called American Standard. The band had transcribed some big band stuff and made it suitable for a small combo. They were excellent!

I would have loved to dance, but it was a restaurant venue that wasn’t set up for that. I was having such a good time laughing with my companion and enjoying the music and the great food and wine–since this was a winery, I had one of my rare alcoholic drinks, a Cabernet Sauvignon produced locally, which was excellent!–that I didn’t much care since I was able to chair dance instead!

As a usually-non-drinker I really felt the wine!

Did people at other tables think the older blonde was too into the music? Making a fool of herself at her age? Maybe. Did they clock me? Maybe. Do I care? Absolutely not!

Going through transition I learned that there is no way to survive coming out as trans and those moments when you don’t pass unless you can get over being easily embarrassed.

The less you care about the opinion others have of you, the better your life will be.

Just a useful tip from your transgender neighbor!

Something else I have learned is that if there is joy available you had better grab it no matter what someone else thinks! Other people don’t get a vote. I appreciate and am grateful for every moment of happiness I am granted.

Buy the red pumps, wear the cute dress, eat the too-rich chocolate dessert, laugh and dance and be who you really are.

Why would you want to live in any other way?