People have a fascination with trans people's bodies; it's an unhealthy fascination, and one that often results in them writing one-dimensional trans characters who are focused only on transition. How they cannot have any other goals outside of completing their transition. Perhaps it is a way for cisgender people to better understand us, but no matter the motivation, it is aggravating to find yet another story that makes the trans character only about their gender identity. It is possible to write a trans person as a complex human being with flaws, strengths, complex motivations, and interesting storylines that may or may not relate to their gender identity. It just takes research and a willingness to approach this topic with care and respect. The following information may help you on this journey, and over time, I will try my best to provide more research in follow-up posts in this thread.
Note: cisgender means a person whose gender identity aligns with the gender assigned at birth. It's essentially a non-trans person, and a term coined to make it easier to discuss trans issues within the larger frame of our society.
This explains the problems with "the gender novel:" http://thewalrus.ca/...e-gender-novel/
A Great Primer on the basics: The Gender Book
Inclusion's importance: http://www.themarysu...gton-inclusion/
The biggest takeaway I can give you is that transition has no end point. Transition is a process not a procedure. No matter what surgeries that trans people decide is best for them, that is not the only component to a transition, and it's only steps in the process. Another important point is that trans people will always be on hormones for the rest of their lives.
Also, take into account that we live in a highly transphobic culture. Examples of this include numerous states across the US recently put forth bills making it harder for trans people to pee in public. Where trans people's care often isn't covered by insurance. Where numerous employment, housing, and every day life discrimination is often rampant. Where our society doesn't bat an eyelash when trans women are murdered, and their attackers are often let off with a light (if any) sentence. All this discrimination and hostility has a heavy impact on our health and mental well being; it's why trans people have the highest rate of suicide of any group: 41%. Keep this in mind if you set your characters on present day Earth.
A trans person's life is complex as any human being. It is full of ups and downs. Although yes, for a lot of trans people it can be full of great hardship, but it is also riddled with beauty and joy. We have goals and dreams outside of transition (for those of us that can afford and want to transition). And we try to strive for those goals and dreams. We are not one-dimensional stick figures; our bodies are not to be gawked at by the public, and our identities are just as legitimate and important as any cisgender person.
So when you write a trans character, stop and consider the above. Did you make their storyline only about their gender identity? If so, consider revising. Give them more nuances. Give them goals and motivations that extend beyond their gender identity. In fact, why not write a story where their gender identity isn't the central focus. Let us do more than just transition in your stories. Don't make us into a spectacle to challenge or disturb readers. We aren't speculative fiction; we exist and we are fully realized, multi-dimensional people with all the flaws, strengths, goals, motivations that come with being human. Write us with depth and nuance, with complexities.
If you have questions, feel free to ask. (Just remember, to stay respectful. If trans people cannot answer your detailed question about their body or any surgeries they may or may not have done, respect that. Discussing transition is a hard and difficult topic, and my body and all other trans people's bodies are not in the public domain.)
Do you still feel like you can't write trans people? Then challenge yourself to try to do it anyway. Research is often a necessary component to writing anything well, and so do your research. Read about trans people's experiences from them, ask questions respectfully, read the above links, and try your best to create a multi-dimensional character that is full of flaws and strengths just like any other character you would write. It is possible to write a trans person well; it just takes effort and dedication to writing them well. Also, adding in more diverse characters into your story will help improve your story arcs, for it adds interesting complexities that may influence character interactions, plot lines, and climaxes.