Trans Fail

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A kerfluffle, much along the lines of Race Fail 09 and its progeny, dealing with writing transgender characters for original fiction--in this case, romantic fiction before the novel itself had been released, based on the promotional materials provided by the publisher and the authors' blog posts.


A new novel, Heart of the Forest, by Angelia Sparrow and Naomi Brooks, was promoted in valarltd's Live Journal the week of its release on July 24, 2009. The novel is a retelling of the Robin Hood story, with Maid Marian cast as a transgender woman. The novel's back cover text engendered controversy started around July 22, 2009. Some transgender women found it questionable that a cis woman had co-written and published a romance novel featuring a trans character. [1]

A line in the book's blurb drew kynn into valarltd's journal to ask if the original author is transgender, which she is not. The responses given were personally interpreted by one community member to echo those of white Race Fail authors. Accusations of cis-priveledge were made, valarltd's standing as an LBGT "ally" was challenged by kynn as she took up the matter in her own journal.

A subsequent entry in valarltd's journal was made in response to the accusations, and then valarltd locked the entry, stating that she chose not to engage with those critical of the novel. Criticism was also raised against the book's co-author Naomi Brooks and others who posted in defense of the book and its authors. Brooks offered to send a review copy of the book to kynn, who had not read the book, but did not do so.

By late July 22, 2009, valarltd had dubbed the situation Trans Fail in the comments on a LiveJournal post she had written. [2] [citation is locked] kynn has since referred to the argument as "Maid Marian Has A Schlong."

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