With all of the recent hoopla with the ‘updated’ ‘version’ of Twilight swapping the genders of the two main characters
in a strange attempt to make more money on a series that should be allowed to die, I had a quick think about my first book and what impact it would have if I switched the genders of my protagonist and the supporting cast.
While The Line is not my best writing and there are definitely changes I would make, much of the reason Lucy struggles throughout the book is because of her gender. In a male dominated section (the drumline), there are situations where she doesn’t feel comfortable — where leaders within the group respond to her differently than they would if she was a male. In a male dominated section, her gender instantly sets her apart. It is her relationship with a rival drumline Captain that sets off tension within the entire group. Hypothetically, if another member of her section were to date a young woman in another (fictional) band, I’m certain it wouldn’t cause as much controversy.
Also, while percussion sections are definitely making progress, the idea of an all female drumline with only two young men in it would be an interesting book to read. An all lady line would certainly change all the usual dynamics – in how the section interacted with not only each other, but also the rest of the Forrest Hills marching band and other competitors. A predominantly female drumline would certainly draw fierce scrutiny and extra attention, simply because of their unusual gender balance in a traditionally male biased section.
I sort of looked into exploring this type of scenario in a novel that never was finished — one that put one of my other characters, Bronwyn (a very talented drummer) in an all female drum corps (the elite or ‘music’s major league‘). Unfortunately, I didn’t get that far with the manuscript and I fear poor Bronwyn will be stuck at the beginning of her season forever.
If anything, I think the bigger change and more interesting ‘gender’ swap, would be to have Lucy as a young man and in love with the same rival Captain. How would the Forrest Hills drumline respond to ‘Lucy’ coming out and falling for someone of the same sex? (They are a pretty evolved group, so I can tell you it would be less about the gender of the person and more about where her loyalties lie).
As a reality of being around fanfiction for so long, genderbending has been around for a long time, but until now, I had never considered it for my characters.