The Dos and Don’ts of Writing a Transgender or Non-Binary Character

The Story and its Writer

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Terms to Know

  • Trans: an inclusive term that includes all who are transgender, non-binary, or otherwise gender-nonconforming
  • Cis/Cisgender: someone who is not trans
  • AMAB: Assigned male at birth – someone who was marked as male on their original birth certificate
  • AFAB: Assigned female at birth – someone who was marked as female on their original birth certificate
  • Gender Binary: the one-or-the-other way that most Western societies view gender; one is either a girl, or a boy
  • Non-Binary: Someone who doesn’t identify as either male or female. They can identify as both, neither, fluctuating, or somewhere in between
  • To Pass/Passing: Appearing outwardly as the gender one identifies with. This can include clothing, voice, and mannerisms, and it implies that any stranger who comes across them will see them as the gender they identify with without question.
  • Misgendering: Calling someone by the pronouns (he/she/they/etc) of the gender that they do not identify…

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