Thursday, August 7, 2008
Wanted: A Transgendered Hero
This evening I was at a local cafe, enjoying a latte before I left for a writing circle that I was facilitating. I was reading and generally mulling over life when the owner of the cafe who happens to be a transgendered person (A man who dresses like a woman.) came over and started a conversation with me.
Somehow it came out that I was a writer and she quickly told me that she had a great idea for a novel, and would I write it?
"What is that?" I ask.
"Someone needs to write a novel where the hero is transgendered. All transgendered people in the movies or in books are weirdos or killers or evil. You need to write something that shows us in a positive light."
She quickly went away to bus some tables, but she had me thinking... are there positive images of transgendered people in the movies? Certainly there must be some. I offered Dustin Hoffman as Tootsie.
"Doesn't count," she said when she returned. "Dorothea wasn't really trans. Dustin Hoffman was playing a woman to get a job. Same with Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire. It can't be a comedy. It has to be a real hero hero."
We paddled around a few other famous transgendered movie roles, but none of them fit my new friend's definition of positive role model and hero.
So now I am trying to decide how I would write this character. I would need to ask a lot of questions of transgendered people and find out exactly what's going on when they choose to don the clothing of another sex.
I told my friend that she should write the novel. She told me she couldn't write at all, and she was content to let it be my mission. Help me! I am stuck on a transgendered detective in a series of mystery novels. What sort of novel would you write if you were asked to tell a story of a transgendered hero?