SDCC Does Trans, Badly

San Diego ComicCon is taking place this weekend and Tor.com has lots of reports from the event. Yesterday I was alerted to a post about a panel on trans themes in comics. This is, of course, something I know a bit about. I had a read of the article. Head, meet desk, repeatedly.

It is hard to tell where the fault lies, because I wasn’t at the panel so I don’t know whether it was badly done, or badly reported, but the overall effect was not good. The starting point appears to be that there were no trans people on the panel, and the article was not written by a trans person. Did any of them have a clue what they were talking about? I know it is really bad to make comparisons with race, but so often articles by cis people about trans issues remind me of a white person trying to write about race by talking about Al Jolson.

Obviously Michelle Nolan is a comics historian and I’m just an amateur who has been diagnosed insane, and it could be the article writer at fault, but anyone who is researching trans characters in comics and manages to miss Madam Fatal, Wanda in Sandman, and Rachel Pollack’s run on Doom Patrol isn’t really trying.

There’s also quite a bit to say about how you interrogate cis people’s portrayals of gender switching. I have a lot to say about that Superboy Becomes A Girl story in my LGBT Superheoes talk. Nolan, and again this may be the fault of the article, appears to have missed all of the nuances.

I suspect that quite a lot of people in the audience will have challenged what was said by the panel. The article certainly suggests that robust discussion took place (even if some of it did come from Ashley Love — *sigh*). But can we just let trans people talk about themselves for once?

Oops, sorry, I forgot. I’m a Dupe of the Patriarchy who is causing division within the trans community with my out-moded views of what being trans is all about. I shall put on a fake beard and go and read some Judith Butler as penance.

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