Own Voices Have Many Voices

Since publishing Starting from Scratch, I’ve been blown away by the positive response from readers in the gay romance genre. Many of the people who have read and reviewed have told me it was their first trans story, which is great (and I hope they go on to read more of the trans stories that are out there).

I’ve also had a lot of comments from people who feel that the book has opened their eyes and given them some insight into the experience of a gay trans guy. While this may be true, I feel it’s important to point out that Ben’s story is only one trans narrative written by one trans author.


For a start, Ben isn’t me (although I wish I was twenty-five again). Some of the things he thinks and feels are true for me, but some of them aren’t. At the time of writing Ben’s story, not all of what I wrote was from experience because I hadn’t even started T back then. It was based partly on experience, partly on research, and partly on my imagination.

Maybe this is stating the obvious… But all trans men are different, just like all people are different. While there is of course some overlap of experience, there is still a huge amount of diversity within the FTM community.

For example:

Dysphoria is different for everyone. It can be more social or more physical or a combination of both (or neither). Physical dysphoria can centre on different parts of our bodies, and that can change over time.

The process of transition is different. Some trans men take hormones, some don’t. Some have surgery/surgeries, some don’t.

Some trans men choose to disclose their trans status and be very open about it, others prefer not to tell people unless it’s absolutely necessary (so with a sexual partner, or in a medical situation where it’s relevant).

Not all trans men are gay 😉


So while I’m thrilled that readers have embraced Ben’s story — thank you! — please don’t assume that all trans guys will agree with everything Ben thinks/feels/does. And if you want to keep learning more about trans people, go forth and read more stories with trans characters. There are some great ones out there.


startingfromscratchStarting over isn’t easy, but Ben is ready to live his life as the man he was always meant to be.

Ben is transgender and back at university after hormone treatment and chest surgery. His new housemates have no idea about his history and Ben would prefer to keep it that way. He’s starting from scratch and his life is finally on track, except in the romance department. The idea of dating guys as a guy is exhilarating but terrifying, because if Ben wants a boyfriend he’ll have to disclose his secret.

Sid is drawn to Ben from the moment they meet. He normally gets what he wants—in the short term at least. Ben’s guarded at first, and Sid’s not used to guys rejecting his advances. He eventually charms his way through Ben’s defences and helps Ben on his journey of sexual awakening.

It doesn’t matter to Sid that Ben is trans. He’s attracted to the whole person, and isn’t worried about what is—or isn’t—in Ben’s pants. They’re good together, and both of them are falling hard and fast, but Ben’s insecurities keep getting in the way. If Sid can convince Ben he’s committed, will Ben finally be able to put his heart on the line?

Although this book is part of the Housemates series, it has new main characters, a satisfying happy ending, and can be read as a standalone.
Length: 57,000 words approx.

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About Jay Northcote

Author of LGBT romance. Trans (he/him), Parent, cat herder, professional procrastinator.
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6 Responses to Own Voices Have Many Voices

  1. Tamara Henry says:


    Thanks for this and thanks for stating it publicly.

    I’ve often found you to be a “voice of reason” in this interesting world we live in.

    While I absolutely think that own voices are important and diversity is key, we/everyone needs to be reminded that EVERYONE is different and while there are similarities in us all everyone’s story is different. So in the quest of having our “identity” written on a page it might only be the identity for 1 person. Whether that’s good or bad is an interesting debate but it seems people cannot understand or accept that everyone’s story in LIFE is different.

    I’m female, black, and from the Caribbean. Do I demand a story to be written about me or for me? No because only I can tell my story BUT I do celebrate when I see black (or non black) Caribbean people represented in a story and guess what? The Caribbean is super diverse as well so it’s a melting pot. Would everything be accurate? Again, another interesting debate because my accuracy doesn’t have to be someone else’s! So I smile and I do feel the joy of seeing a bit of me or my country etc represented and I get the fact that it’s a big deal to many people.

    Sorry to go off topic and ranty on you but as usual I keep saying sometimes “we” fight and we lose perspective of what’s important and what we’re fighting for.

    So, thanks for your wonderful story – which I’ll read soon – and thanks for reminding people that one story doesn’t mean all people.

    Much love to you.


    • Thank you! I guess the more representation we get of all different types of people in all different types of stories, the better. As you say, we will never see ourselves reflected back exactly unless we write our autobiography. But it’s good to see aspects of our own experiences.

  2. Mirrigold says:

    Lovely insight as always Jay.

  3. Sadonna says:

    Great post. I’ve read a few really good stories in the last year where the MCs are trans men. I’ve been really impressed with these stories and the authors’ ability to communicate that these stories are just that – the stories of those particular characters. The writing has been compelling and opened my eyes to situations I wouldn’t have even thought of previously. I very much look forward to reading Ben’s story as well 🙂

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