It has come to my attention that my very first book — Seraphina, the one with all the good reviews and awards — relies on a trans-phobic trope. This is spoilery, but it can’t be helped: the villain is disguised as a person of another gender in order to fool people.
If you’ve read Seraphina and found this trope hurtful, my profound apologies to you. I love and value my trans readers, as I hope the better representation in Shadow Scale makes clear. I really did not understand that this trope could do harm, but a kind friend explained it to me yesterday.
I had assumed that because the character wasn’t actually trans, the trope could not be harmful to trans people. But apparently that’s exactly the problem: this trope erases trans people and reinforces the idea that they aren’t real, that anyone dressed as a member of a “wrong” gender is a villain who’s trying to deceive people. Young people — the people I write for! — need to see themselves depicted in all their multifarious beauty, not be continuously beaten over the head with the same old villainous parodies.
So. Friends. I am so sorry. Sorry I put it in there without examining it more closely, and sorry for pain and anxiety it has probably caused young trans readers. My friend tells me Shadow Scale makes up for it, but still. I had to say something. Writing for young people is a big responsibility and I take it seriously.
I just have to add: I’m looking for a sensitivity reader for my next book and had just been patting myself on the back for how awesomely diligent and empathetic I am, haha. It was probably inevitable that the world would immediately grab me by the lapels and whisper in my ear: Remember, you are mortal. Many thanks to my dear friend, yesterday’s lunch companion, for telling me.