Cis Writer, Non-Binary and Queer Characters

Chances are, none of you read my author blog on Goodreads. I wonder realistically if anyone does. Anyway, here is my recent entry. Feedback is welcome.

My first novel, Atmosphere, is very cis, as is to be expected, since I am. There are gay characters in both Atmosphere, and the followup, Ocean, but, even though the aliens in my world are intersex, I didn’t explore gender in depth. One minor character towards the end of Ocean uses they/them pronouns, but that’s about it. With my new book, Moon, third in the series, I’m diving in. The challenge, as a cis man, is to write evocatively and approach issues I have no first-hand knowledge of without presuming to speak for trans and queer people today. I’m doing this by having the experience of the character, born intersex, distinct from the experience of present day queer and trans people, but at the same time, identifiable. This is my goal, anyway. here is a brief excerpt from an early chapter:

Sonu bounded from the skiff as soon as it touched the shore, turning to catch Ryne as xe followed. They spun around in one another’s arms. “We did it!” Sonu cried. “We are free!”

“Free from what?”

The voice froze them mid-spin. Sonu’s exuberance deflated, xe knew that voice. Sure enough, there was xir brother Bren standing at the edge of the woods, a flight suit folded under his arm.

“Free from a family who love you? Free from people who have cared for you and taught you for your entire life? Free from resp…”

“No!” Sonu interrupted furiously. “Free from having to become half a person, like you!”

Bren flushed, but said nothing. “Thank you, Lander,” he said, handing the boatman some money. “We will be going back now.”

“No, Bren, you don’t get to decide for me.” Sonu backed away, holding Ryne’s hand tightly. “Nobody does. That is why I left. Why we left. Everyone wants me to become someone I’m not. I’m not male, I’m not female. I’m me. I’m Sonu, and I don’t want to change!”