Gender

Questions about writing Genderfluid characters, pronouns and healthy Polyamory

Community Gender Questions about writing Genderfluid characters, pronouns and healthy Polyamory

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  • #21908
    Avatar of idrathereatpie
    idrathereatpie
    Participant

    Hi! First of all I would like to clarify that I am not a Genderfluid person and cis-gendered woman, but I am writing a Genderfluid character and I want to do it right.
    A little back-story on the book I am writing; my book is very magic orientated and is a dystopian world. My main character (Alex) is the character I plan to establish as Genderfluid. They mostly go by Male pronouns but will switch to female and they/them pronouns as well.
    Here’s the problem. (Please be really honest; I don’t want to offend anyone by writing this character.)
    1. Offence?
    Since my world is very magic orientated and my character is gifted as well, their magic is lots of illusory stuff but also shapeshifting (Change genders, animal forms. I want to clarify that t(he)y uses other pronouns not once when shifting genders but I am worried it could offend someone by implying that just because my character can change their sex, that they are Genderfluid and accidentally discriminate against someone else. (again please be honest; my worst fear is making a LGBT person upset by the way I portrayed a part of them) Any advice how to go about writing this character? Should I drop the shifting?
    2. Pronouns.
    Secondly, I was wondering how to refer to Alex when the characters don’t know what pronouns they are using that day. A big part of my characters relationship is them supporting each other and a staple of their relationship is Alex breezing into the kitchen and just telling their partner what pronouns their using that day. One problem I have run into with this relationship, is that what do I call Alex’s gender when the other characters have no idea what Alex is going as that day? Alex was born male and identifies as male 50% of the time and female and non-binary the other 50% and while his shifting may sometimes give away what gender they are that day, sometimes its male pronouns in a female body or whatever (They’re flexible). So my main problem stems from my other main characters talking about Alex or something they did before Alex had told them their pronouns. Should I make them refer to Alex in they/them pronouns before he’s told them or should I use the last ones they’ve used? Also, how do I talk about something Alex did in the past? Say they did something as a ‘he’ but is currently a ‘she’- how do I respectively go about that?
    3. Subtle or no?
    On a similar note, I have a Trans-Man that only is mentioned once or twice and I want to know how to go about him. The only role he plays in the plot is that he was a good friend in school but has fallen out with the main characters. The characters only mention him in a “So how’s so and so doing?” but I am unsure how to answer that question. Should I hint that he’s Trans? Or do I not really bring it up? My dilemma is that I really want him to be recognized as Trans and give my readers someone to relate to but I am uncertain if it would be better to not draw too much attention to the fact that he’s Trans. I figure (Forgive me if I am wrong but) gender is only a part of you, not who you are as a whole. I don’t want to give this character only a “Hey he’s Trans” and no personality, yet he only has a few lines/ mentions. Any ideas? I’m toying with an idea of one of my mains getting stressed out that the character is in the hospital before his brother’s like “Chill out; he’s just getting top-surgery”. Is that okay. (Id make it more subtle but you get the idea?)

    4. Finally, I was wondering how to go about writing a healthy polyamourus relationship.
    Character one: Alex is a Genderfluid asexual person that likes the intimacy part of a relationship.
    Character two; Caelyn is a pan/bi cis-woman and is not asexual.
    Character three: Charlie is a lesbian who is aromantic but is totally down for some girl on girl action.
    Their relationship dynamic mostly stems on Alex and Charlie being best friends/ cuddle buddies and confidants, Charlie and Caelyn doing that as well as sex stuff, and Caelyn and Alex doing the dating thing, minus the sex. Does that work and still be poly? I want to clarify that this is all been negotiated between the trio. Am I using the wrong word? Is polyamory the same as a polygamy? Etc..

    THANK YOU!!!

    #21909
    Avatar of obelisk
    obelisk
    Participant

    It’s great that you want to write a book with a LGBT+ protagonist and also seem to want feedback from people in the LGBT+ community (or people who have knowledge of the sort, as you’re posting this here).

    1. I’d recommend to drop the sex shifting, if it’s not vital to the story, as it’s just a bit iffy – in that I can’t see how this is vital to the plot, and also it seems like you might be a tad bit confused in how gender is different than one’s sex. Of course, if your character is genderfluid, their gender (say how they personally identify, gender-wise) will and can change, but their sex (so genitals) will not if they’re just genderfluid and not undergoing any medical transitioning (and if they are, then you could possibly write some gender dysphoria, social/physical/otherwise, into the story, if your character experiences it or not).

    Pronouns also don’t necessarily correlate to one’s gender identity, like for just one example I personally know of a trans feminine person who goes by he/him pronouns because that’s what is the most comfortable to him. So I don’t really understand why you clarified the pronoun usage, in that sense, but idk.

    2. They/them pronouns, which are gender neutral pronouns, could work in this case. The thing is you don’t know if Alex, your character, still wants to use the pronouns that they used the last time, so I’d say using they/them pronouns if none of the other characters are sure about Alex’s pronouns, is the best way to go.

    I’m not quite sure why you asked what to call Alex’s gender when the other characters have no idea what Alex is going as that day, because again pronouns don’t necessarily have to correlate to one specific gender identity. And also, you said Alex is genderfluid, so that’s their gender identity, so you could just call them genderfluid if none of the other characters know what gender Alex is identifying with on that specific day, but idk.

    3. I think what you’re planning to do is okay, as you seem to want to flesh out the character you mention as just a person, and he just happens to be trans at the same time. You are also correct in that gender is only one aspect of your identity, but that’s just my viewpoint.

    Another idea, though it isn’t a great happening, is a subtle slip up of pronouns say with “So how’s so and so doing?…Oh sh- oh shit, sorry, he is doing fine” to give the illusion towards the character used to identify as another gender (due to his assigned gender at birth), even though pronouns don’t necessarily correlate to one’s gender identity. But idk, that’s just a suggestion.

    4. I’d say polyamory is the right word for this situation, as polygamy is more religious based and polygamy tends to only refer to an act of a man having more than one wife.

    And yes, that dynamic can totally work and it could be an open relationship, just different types of relationships (say platonic and/or sensual, so a queer platonic relationship between Alex and Charlie, platonic and sexual, so this between Charlie and Caelyn, and a romantic relationship, so this being between Caelyn and Alex), but as I’m not the characters I don’t exactly know the exact relationships between them.

    Also good luck on finishing/writing/publishing your book!

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