Being cis myself, I don't have any first-hand experience of what it's like to feel a disjunct between body and gender identity, nor to live the desired gender identity when it doesn't match one's body. I would be grateful to anyone who is willing to share their experiences, whether in the comment thread or by e-mail (marie -dot- brennan -at- gmail -dot- com). When did you first become consciously aware of that difference? How did you feel about it, and how have your feelings changed over time? Have you taken any transitional steps, and if so, how have they affected you? What reactions have you gotten from people when they discover you're trans? Aside from the more FTM-oriented questions, I'd especially love to hear from anyone who identifies as neither male nor female, as I think that might provide another useful way of thinking about this character. Basically, I'm trying to get a sense of the pyschological aspect, so I can try to do it justice. (The story being fantasy, the modern medical side won't figure into it.)
Alongside that: are there any books, movies, blogs, etc, that you would say do a good job of representing that experience? So far I've had Boys Don't Cry recommended to me, by a MTF friend, but I'd love to have more.
Finally, are there any things you would really, really hope to see a story like this avoid? What pitfalls, bad phrasings, and overused tropes would make you cringe? And is there anything the story could do that would make you very happy to see?
Thanks in advance to anyone willing to talk about these matters. I know it's personal, and very open-ended. E-mail is welcome, at the address I gave above, and I promise not to share anything without permission.