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Help writing transgender characters

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  • I want help writing trans characters

  • I am trans and am looking to add to or review what you've written

  • Just curious

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Mostly void, partially stars
Heyo! This thread is for actual trans people to give info to help anyone who has not experienced what it's like to RP trans characters. I'm FTM so that's all I feel comfortable writing a guideline for, but please feel free to add to this with your own experiences, and call me out if you feel some of these are wrong! they're based on my own experiences

ok so as a start- lingo!
Cis- identifies with the gender they were born as
Trans- identifies with a gender different to the one they were born as
Non-binary- identifies with neither male nor female
Passing- they would be recognised as the gender they identify as i.e. a trans man who passes would be easily recognised as a man by strangers
Dead names/ Birth names- the name they were born with and no longer use
Dead naming- someone using their dead/birth name
Outed- someone reveals they are LGBT without the LGBT persons permission
FTM- female to male or trans-men
MTF- male to female or trans-women

Things not to do
-Someone is a transgender person, or someone is transgender. They are not a transgender. It's an adjective not a noun
-Don't make your character a girl who wants to be a boy or vice-versa. That's not what it is.
-Don't fetishise it. That's against the rules anyway, but... yeah just don't

ok the bit you're probably waiting for- unique trans things

FTM people bind their chest to make it look flat. A binder is like a very tight vest, but bandages and tape could also be used. Those last two are very dangerous, they can cause broken ribs, chest pains and difficulty breathing, so keep that in mind if your character is using them. Binding has a lot of negative health risks associated with it, even when using a binder, so heres a quick list of ways it will affect your character:
- chest pains
- back pains
- difficulty getting breath back and getting out of breath quickly
- rashes
- if using bandages, difficulty breathing and possible cracked or bruised ribs
- It's like a vest as I said, so it shows under tank tops
- you shouldn't bind for more than 8 hours flat, so if your character does, it'll hurt or they'll start to struggle with breathing a bit
- They shouldn't sleep while binding
so basically this means that if your character is binding, they're going to not be as athletic, they can't wear certain clothes, and if they've been doing it for more than 10 hours, it's going to start to hurt.

This is the medical definition for being trans- gender dysphoria. It's the feeling that you're in the wrong body basically. It causes depression, thoughts of suicide and self harm even in extreme cases. It is often worsened by:
- not wearing a binder
- Hearing their voice (pre hormones)
- taking showers
- swimsuits
- getting dead named/ misgendered
- anything really which reminds them of their feminine/masculine body/voice
It's a mental health disorder to be honest, so... similar rules apply. They could be happy and fine and then suddenly get hit with a wave of dysphoria which leaves them feeling depressed, reactions to it could be ways to get rid of it (below) or it could be they start to be self conscious, put on layers, or any reaction to depression.

On a happier note- things that alleviate dysphoria! (this is just for FTM characters, tell me if you can help me with MTF or non-binary)

- everyone has an adams apple, pressing down on it can help
- the centre of their chest is flat, they can feel that
- shaving peach fuzz
- not shaving legs/armpits
- voice training
- getting correctly gendered!
Getting correctly gendered is a real big deal so it wouldn't be unrealistic for a character to cheer up or be very happy after something like that happens

Transitioning/coming out
Oh boy. This is different for everyone, no one experiences it the same way, no one goes about it the same way, but some rough help-
there is no one "surgery" Theres a lot, but in the community we use the terms "top surgery" and "bottom surgery". Top surgery leaves you with scars, two lines just underneath the pectoral muscles. thats pretty much all you should need to know about that- top surgery is visible

The other main thing trans guys do is go on "T", testosterone, it:
- lowers your voice
- helps you build muscle mass
- stops periods
- causes hair to grow on the face, chest, pretty much everywhere!
- shifts fat from the thighs and hips to mostly on the stomach
- sharpens the jawline
- causes agression and mood swings
- effectively you go through puberty again
You take a shot (injection) once a week

transitioning is a slow process, it takes years, your character is not going to fully transition in a few weeks. Theres name changes, officially changing your gender, therapist and doctors referrals to get surgery and hormones and then surgery takes a while to recover from, and hormones are slow acting, changing slowly over a few months or years

coming out is a big deal and shouldn't be downplayed. being "outed" is pretty much the worst nightmare for any LGBT person and should not be brushed off or quickly forgiven.

General notes
- trans guys tend to look young for their age
- your character may not pass, that's fine, that doesn't make them less trans
- public bathrooms really are hell, so your character will probably be very nervous using them, or avoid them all together
- same as above for everything involving a binary gendered space or situation
- Many trans people don't want to be trans/ identify as trans, they just want to be male or female

ok, that's everything I can think of right now, if there's anything you have questions on that I haven't mentioned or if you want to add to this thread, reply below or PM me and I'll add it, this is a WIP so I'll update it as I think of more things to add
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spreadsheet overlord
i'm actually nb myself but i recently wrote a trans character in a roleplay i was in.

i found these sources useful when i was researching:

stuff about hormones
stuff about surgery

as a nb person, i would just add that what pronouns people use can vary depending on personal choice.

for example, i identify exclusively with they/them. but some people will use more uncommon pronouns (such as xe/xem), use multiple pronouns (such as she OR they), or don't feel particularly bothered about what pronouns people use for them. it really does depend on the person.
Yeah I'd also be interested on adding more about nonbinary identities and the variety of ways presentation can interact with identity; medical / legal transition and how it doesn't always work the same way for everyone, maybe social effects? I'm totally available for any info along the line of trans/nonbinary shit so feel free to hmu for that

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