Okay…I need to be a human for a second.
There’s this whole thing with authors where you’re never supposed to respond to a negative review. It totally makes sense. You’re not going to change a reader’s mind once they’ve decided they don’t like your work. All responding to them is going to do is make you look unprofessional and open the flood gates to internet trolls.
But here’s the thing. I just got a review on a book that hasn’t even been released yet, and the reader thinks my book is “transphobic.”
Frist off, I’m not transphobic. I’m all for everyone’s right to live life as one’s truest self. Second, the character they think I’m misgendering isn’t transgender but rather a drag queen.
My first thought was that maybe I had somehow implied that said character was transgender, in which case my reference to her being occasionally and originally male would be terrible. I thought I had been clear that the character was a drag queen, but maybe I had missed something. Then I reread the book blurb. You know, the thing people read to see if they want to read a book in the first place…yeah, says seer drag queen in the blurb. I could be wrong, but that feels like enough of a clarification of drag vs. transgender to me.
I guess I could have made a bigger deal of it in the text, but over-emphasizing a person’s gender identity takes away from normalizing non-cisgender characters in fiction. She should be allowed to be a drag queen who occasionally lives life as male if she wants to be.
But (and this is the part that makes it really hard not to respond to the review), I think the problem may be that the reader doesn’t understand the huge difference between a drag queen and a person who is transgender. The LGBT-ally in me really wants to make sure that she is more informed about the community she feels she needs to defend. There is nothing wrong with being a drag queen; there is nothing wrong with being transgender. Saying that being a part of one community is belittling to another helps no one.
But I’m not allowed to respond to the review. I’m not allowed to point her in the direction of very interesting and important articles about each title and the history of each group.
So, I’m just going to keep planning for the Bryant Adams book release on Tuesday and pretend I never read it. Because I love my seer drag queen when she’s a she, a he, upside down, or saving the world.