I get it a lot about Declan’s character. “Why would you give Dex male pronouns if he’s trans?”
So allow me to go through the very conscious decisions I made as a storyteller.
He isn’t trans. Or at least not that said in the strict definition. When the book begins, Declan is confused and believes he may be non-binary, or “in between” he sees himself as a divided person. The female costume being something he wears to express a portion of his identity. He feels comfortable in it because it is new and allows him to be a more complete version of himself. But as he experiences a relationship with Carter as a girl, lying to Carter, he realizes that his identity isn’t that simple. That he can’t divide his mind like that. In a way, that female version of him becomes a kind of mask. He thought she was from within, but she was actually another projection.
It’s by easing into intimacy with Carter and being accepted no matter what he puts forward that he begins to see that he doesn’t have to be a girl or a boy. He can be whatever he wants in the moment. He can be fluid. Which is what he chooses to be: fluid. So I guess that makes him trans, doesn’t it?
So why did I leave him with male pronouns and not they/them? Two very good reasons. Firstly, the transition between pronouns can be technically jarring. To switch back and forth from others saying “he” to the narrator saying “they” is confusing to people who aren’t familiar with the concept of pronoun changes and frankly to lots of other people. It is one limitation of the written word, and while I’d love to apologize for the limitations of English, I’m not going to.
Secondly, he is a he. By the end he has come to realize that his gender is somewhat fluid, but that he is comfortable being “he”, which I felt was completely transparent given that the omniscient narrator (yeah that asshole) continued to refer to him as “he”. Not all trans people change their pronouns. Not all of them want to change them. Especially not ones who, on the spectrum, lean more toward their biological sex.
TL:DR the book opens with a confused person who believes they might be trans or completely non-binary, but ends with someone who considers themselves to be a somewhat gender fluid gay transvestite, so yeah, trans. He doesn’t change his pronouns because he is comfortable, which becomes clear when you read the book and actually have an idea of who Alex is as a person. Human sexuality and gender identity is complex and should be, and please stop oversimplifying or pigeon-holing people. Please stop asserting that every gender fluid, non-binary, or otherwise character or person should have to trade out pronouns.
Do you have a problem with that? Does that bother you that the character grows and changes? That they become comfortable? That they realize that they don’t want to change pronouns?
I cannot do a thing about that.
I hate pronouns.
But honestly, in my opinion, I thought that the handling of them in Cinderella Boy was perfectly clear and understandable.
Just noticed my rant had typos. Thanks for not correcting them. You’re snarky but at least not when I’m enraged.