What Writing an Extremely Violent Book Taught Me About Transgender Acceptance

I had a lot of time in Spain after leaving South Korea, and I took that time to reflect on my time in East Asia. For the most part, Korea consisted of working 12+ hour days and then drinking afterwards until bedtime. Adjusting to the culture was extremely difficult since I wasn't a big fan of drinking, but eventually the extreme tedium and boredom led me to blend into the large community of expats there. 

Most everyone with whom I'd socialize on a given weekend was a citizen of an English-speaking county, had a college degree and was well-traveled, specially in South East Asia where transgenderism is far more visible than in East Asia. 

That such a diverse group of people could casually live in Korea was something that I recognized was new to the global experience, and it naturally inspired a book. To prevent this article from coming off as a pitch for my book, I shall neglect to mention its title; it was downloaded more than 10,000 times on Bittorrent and netted me a couple of thousand bucks on Amazon and a couple more from live sales, so I think I've already got what I was going to get out of it, specially since I'm now older and my writing has evolved. 

Every single character in the book is essentially a degenerate gambler or alcoholic and most of the characters have no qualms about visiting a fictional underground knife fighting club where Syrian refugees and undocumented African immigrants rip each other to pieces for financial scraps. 

The head of this ruthless underground club, Joaquin, hacks a guy's hand in half in order to protect the flow of cash to the carnage machine which he builds with help from his army buddies. 

Beyond recruiting the destitute and most desperate in Korean society for fights, Joaquin profited from paying them in spice, a dangerous synthetic drug. Joaquin's intentions are never made quite clear until near the end of the book, when we learn that he has been engaging in all of these heartless activities in order to fund his Brazilian girlfriend's sex change. 

The book, naturally, was fiction, but since it was set in Korea and the fictional characters are also expats, many people naturally saw Joaquin as my alter ego. 

No one expressed shock at the scenes of brutality in the book, the drug use, the exploitation of refugees and undocumented immigrants; instead friends wrote to me asking me if I had actually "fucked a tranny."

I learned that people think a cisman loving a transwoman is more scandalous and schocking than that same cisman hacking a Kuwaiti refugee's hand in half for money and cheers.