Trans Representation in Literature.

Trans literature is not new; it has been a subject for a long time through works such as Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Virginia Woolf’s Orlando. Then came the biographies and memoirs, Man into Woman by Lili Elbe, Kate Bornstein’s Gender Outlaw, Casey Plett’s A Safe Girl to Love, and many more that I could easily enumerate, but the list would be lengthy.

Suffice it to say that there is representation in the world of literature, from biographies and memoirs to fiction and children’s books and scientific and sociological books written by trans people. I come into this world of trans literature, standing upon the shoulders of those who came before me.

For me, the journey as a writer began years ago when I decided to write my thoughts and memories as notes, not thinking that one day I would gather them up and put together my memoirs “Breaking Free: 45 Years in the wrong body”. I would like to acknowledge other writers of trans experience such as Vivian Namaste, Trish Salah, Ivan Coyote, Alec Butler, Kai Cheng Thom, Charlie Jane Anders, Dharma Kelleher, Renee James and Robyn Gigi. The last three because I view them as precursors in the genre I have now chosen to play in, the thriller novel. Dharma Kelleher has mentored me and has made herself available when I get stuck in feeling like an impostor or when in need of a boost of reality. 

As a youngster, I was also inspired by the dark poets; Émile Nelligan, Arthur Rimbaud, e.e. Cummings, Charles Baudelaire, and authors such as Poe and Mary Shelly. Where am I going with this, you may ask?

I suppose I try to convey to you, dear reader, that my influences come from various sources, that the fact that I am of trans origin and queer are parts of a whole which make me who I am. My path as an author followed in step with my identity when I used to paint professionally. I have been at my best when I listen to my inner voice. To be clear, I write as I once painted topics that I deem of value and wish to share with you. 

My memoir “Breaking free: 45 Years in the wrong body” was the beginning, dealing with how it was for me to live all those years in the wrong body and all that came along with it. Today, I find that the psychological thriller genre calls to me, and it’s in this genre that I will bring you my next novel. So today, I join the greater trans body of literature with pride.

A special shout-out to Sister In Crime and the Guppies group, Crime Writers of Canada, and all my dear friends who I abuse with my story, I am deeply indebted to you. Tara, our weekly Zooms are like gold to me, more to the point, your insights, feedback and friendship. Mimi, thank you for your continued help. My wife Dany, you allow for my flights of fancy, of daydreaming and absent-mindedness; you are my heroine always!


Joelle Circé

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