A Trans encounter
Posted January 29, 2014 at 01:21 am

I’ve been asked many, many times over the past few years when I’m going to “introduce a trans character” to Girls With Slingshots.

I never introduce a character with the sole intent of exploring - or exploiting - the label that they most likely represent to their acquaintances, but if a character happens to fit into a label, it'll be expressed eventually. Darren likes dudes, so he's gay. Thea and Mimi like chicks, so they're lesbians. Erin's not interested in sex, so she's asexual. Jamie is whatever (my personal favorite, but I'm biased).

That said, I haven't felt driven to purposefully write about a trans character, for a multitude of reasons:

I don’t know much about trans issues, and I’m not going to write about a topic so massively underrepresented (or worse, misrepresented and mocked) in popular culture if I don’t feel competent enough to do so properly.

I only know one or two trans people in real life; I’ve had very little real-life experience with trans issues.

I’m extremely cis-gendered; it’s hard for me to understand the emotions that are caused by being born one sex and feeling another, beyond a few fleeting desires. (“God DAMN where can a girl get sneakers her size that don’t have fucking PASTELS in them??” “It would be so much easier to jerk off if I had a dick.” - you know, the usual cis tomboy woes.)

Some of my characters *COUGH*HAZEL*COUGH*CANDY*COUGH* can be a little insensitive, and I don’t want to avoid putting a trans character in the same room with them solely to keep from offending everyone and giving us all migraines by way of violent facepalms. (I shudder to imagine the ignorant questions Hazel would ask a trans character, considering her past.)

For that matter, I can be a little insensitive myself (as my closest friends, the most patient and tolerant humans on earth, would confirm). Particularly when it's my job to make people laugh.

But, most importantly, I don’t want to add a trans character for the sole purpose of adding a trans character. They’d have to have their place in the GWS universe first, be added as a human being, and just HAPPEN to be trans.

(For a good example of trans characters done well, see Questionable Content’s character Claire. Jeph is good people.) 

That said, I got a few kind strangers to volunteer their faces for cameos in Monday's strip, and it turns out Ms. Rainbowhair happens to be - to my surprise - openly trans. 

I included a trans character in GWS by accident, because I included a human being. 

If I’m ever going to include a trans character in the strip, it’ll happen like that. :)

It just so happens that Lydia is also cool as heck, AND writes queer romance stories to boot. You should check her out!

I had a lot more written for today's post, but it was all fueled by the comments under the blog the other day, and Lydia replied to everything exactly the way I would've, like I asked her to borrow my brain while I slept or something. So, if you want more answers to related questions, you can peruse these comments, if you promise to play nice. :)


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2024 Schedule

May 18-19

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June 15, 11-4:30 (bonus hang from 6-9!)

at Ciders from Mars in Staunton, Virginia

GWS 20th Anniversary
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September 14-15

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November 9-10

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Danielle likes to read...

New faves!!

Underpants and Overbites
My Giant Nerd Boyfriend
Up and Out
Alison and her Rock Awesome Robot
Kevin Budnik's autobio comics


Questionable Content
Something Positive
Dumbing of Age
Diesel Sweeties
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
Johnny Wander
Octopus Pie
That Deaf Guy
Sufficiently Remarkable
Blaster Nation
Ramen Empire
Jump Rope
Outlander Man

Too Sexy For Work!
Chester 5000 (too sexy for work!)

Oh Joy Sex Toy (also too sexy!)
The Rock Cocks (careful: sexy!)

Finished, but worth re-reading!
The Bad Chemicals
Cul de Sac 

I also love the podcast My Brother My Brother And Me!

My old pal R. Stevens and I used to do a podcast called Coffee and Cider! It was mostly about being work-obsessed idiots and human beings who like beverages and have cats.