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.
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.
Starting 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.