Tag Archives: gender

The Future Is Non Binary in the Wild


You must provide your own attitude. Come on, you can do it. 

Here’s the world famous Ms. Kitty modeling my “The Future Is Non Binary and Intersectional” shirt at the world famous Tucson Bartending Academy, where I presume she is about to earn a degree in mixology. It really looks like a bar, but it turns out all those bottles are full of water and food coloring. The fruit is all plastic. She mixed me about 25 drinks in an hour but I left feeling very thirsty.

Anyway, this shirt! It looks good. You have to get it in black. The tiny spaceship is adorable. Also available as a sticker, a travel mug, a wall clock, a notebook, and much much more. Check out this design in my RedBubble shop.

Do You See How Ridiculous This Is?

LITTLE BEING_edited-1.png

And they all lived without the oppressive weight of the assumed binary ever after.

Wrote this little script last week but nothing visually stunning came to mind even after so many days, so the artwork doesn’t really hit any sort of meaningful level, for which I am sorry. We were at the Bear’s house and didn’t get home until after 11 and my energy level kind of started flagging before we even left the house.

I know some people feel very strongly about identifying on one end of the spectrum or the other, but I don’t, and I never have. But if you do, I support your right to express that in whatever way that works for you without letting it inform my sense of what you can and cannot do. Sorry there’s nothing more today. I should have done a comic about the 7 earth-like planets discovered by NASA. Maybe tomorrow. Although Google kind of already beat me to it.

Here’s an article I wrote on Book Riot about a new horror anthology called Sycorax’s Daughters.

Indifferential Equations


Him: We blinked at the same time! It’s definitely a signal that I should kiss her. Her: I wonder how many giant nuclear powered robots I would need to take over North America.

Three things: First, a few people indicated in a Facebook thread that they would enjoy being depicted in a QvD comic, so here’s the first one. You may recognize Laura from that one time she modeled my merchandise. Actually, she’s been featured in this blog twice, but the first time she was wearing a welding mask over her face, because she’s that kind of person, so you probably wouldn’t recognize her from that.

Second, I was thinking about gender, because that is something I think about. All. The. Time. Specifically, I was thinking about the interaction between heteronormative men and every kind of woman, and the Rabbit’s running commentary about the men who force her to interact with them on the Bart and the Oakland/San Francisco ferry, and about some of these dudes on Reddit who seem to willfully not to get it. So let me lay it out slowly: the odds that a woman with whom you briefly exchanged glances on public transit is very excited to meet you are low. Extremely low. This situation that I’ve drawn is a no-brainer. Note the woman’s posture: she is turned away from you AND leaning away from you AND she has her legs crossed away from you AND she has her arm protectively around her leg AND she clutching her purse on her lap AND she’s reading a book. She is doing this because she wants to reduce the number of times in a given day random strangers hit on her.

Your interest in her is not special;  more interesting men than you express interest in her. All. The. Time. She is overtly demonstrating her lack of interest in you, and her desire to maintain her perimeter. There is a 100% chance that if you try to talk to a woman with this posture, you are annoying her. There is a 50% chance that she finds you actually threatening. I don’t care that you’re a “nice guy.” If you can’t understand this, you’re not a nice guy. Like I tell my stepkids, just wanting something doesn’t mean you get it. No matter what you think, she is not playing hard to get or sending you magical brain signals about how much she wants you. This human being is interested in reading her book without being disturbed for her entire commute.

Which leads me to the third thing, which is that although Laura does some modeling work and often looks like a model when she’s dressed up, Laura is not a model. Laura’s profession is actually metallurgist. She has a degree, I think, in materials engineering. This is the thing that drives me crazy about men who address random strangers with the idea that if a girl is attractive to you, she must be interested in you: they almost never approach you with the idea that you might be smarter than them, and if they do, they usually don’t have any way to use that knowledge except as a compliment. So if random sweatsuit wearing subway guy plunks down next to lovely bookworm girl and asks about her book, he’s going to be way out of his league if she actually starts discussing differential equations.

I should point out that I know nothing about differential equations, having barely passed my requisite math classes in high school. I copied this one from the internet because I liked its shape and its name: it’s the Anger Equation, and I carry a lot of anger. But I don’t enjoy talking with human beings in general, so I rarely start conversations with strangers in public and will not likely be embarrassed because someone wants to talk about differential equations.

I should also point out that this comic must have been in some way inspired by the classic Gary Larson strip, Same planet, different worlds.

Also, I hope Laura has a good sense of humor about me putting her head on someone else’s body to make a point about not objectifying attractive women. At least I’m not a random stranger.



Straight Lines and All Mandala


Every once in a while, I find myself accidentally in balance.

Change is in the air, lifting the wings of a paper crane as it floats over turbulence, rustling the unkempt spikes on a dragon’s back. Mesmerizing. This week, probably. For a lot of years–maybe 7 or so, I should think–the Fox and I kept up a daily correspondence about our creative output in the previous 24 hours. Then I got cranky and disillusioned with the industry and he met and fell in love with the Otter and that all got put on hold for 2 years. Then he married the Otter (I married the Otter and him, because that is something I am totally qualified to do in the state of Arizona, and he had kindly married The Man and me 3 years earlier) and I got my groove back and we have been writing each other emails again. This is very exciting.

Tomorrow I’ve been invited to participate in a panel on gender and sexuality at a near-ish college, and I’m really excited. I think this–adult sex ed–is something I want to get more involved in. I guess I’m suffering from a little chest cold (6 airplane flights in 5 weeks, not surprising) and I’m not feeling like much of a dragon, but I’m determined to put my heart into this, because it’s important to me that young adults see that the world is not 100% heteronormative and cis-gendered, that’s it’s OK to not fit into a false binary, that you can be happy and fabulous without conforming to arbitrary life expectations based on someone else’s perception of your genitals. I was lucky to attend Antioch College, so I heard these messages when I was 17, but even with the Internet, I guess a lot of kids still don’t know that they’re OK.

But if you’re reading this, and your gender and/or sexuality don’t match up with your community’s stereotypes of acceptable outcomes, know that you are OK.

Dragon Comics 110

dragon comics 110_edited-1

I mean, there are options, but not if you’re constructed entirely of pixels and whimsy.

It’s half past midnight and I’m sitting in my car, parked outside of the public library, because Cox Cable is far more vested in sending me almost daily dead-paper communications trying to sell me cable for the TV I don’t own and long distance for the hard wired phone line that’s not connected to my house than they are in maintaining the Internet connection for which I pay them nearly $70 a month. They’re just a massive bunch of Cox over there. It’s incredibly frustrating, how often our Internets simply disappear for no reason–sometimes it’s for 15 minutes, sometimes it’s for 2 hours–and you know they never reimburse us for that lost time, even though you can be sure I’ll be hearing from them if I forget to pay the bill.

Anyway, the library Internet is slow–it took 5 minutes to upload that image–but functional. I’m pretty sure it’s not illegal to park outside the public library and hop on their network at night. This is certainly not as terrible as it was for me to actually use my key (I worked there in the 90s and had to open on Sundays) to go into the library at midnight to use the network and also sometimes to borrow VHS cassettes without checking them out. I probably would have lost my job if I got caught doing that. Probably the worst thing that could happen to me here is a cop telling me to move along.

Not to brag, but The Man and I had a pretty raucous weekend, with multiple pool parties, a vision quest in the desert, and dinner for 16 at a revolving sushi restaurant with no revolving sushi. It was basically nonstop from Thursday night until he went to bed, and even then he kept getting up and eventually ate half my waffles, so I didn’t get to work until after 11. This is my lame explanation for the low quality artwork today. However, the Owl wanted a Dragon Comic, so here it is.

Dragon Comics 109

Seriously, Dragon isn't ever even wearing pants.

Seriously, Dragon isn’t ever even wearing any pants to begin with.

Two things: first of all, it’s problematic when discourse surrounding gender focuses on genitals, because obviously, there is no other situation wherein reasonable people consider it polite to speculate about the appearance of a stranger’s pubic region; and second, it’s dangerous when gender dictates activities, areas of expression, and appearance, because limiting behavior means limiting freedom.

Dragon is more genderqueer than I am, but some of the worst reflections of my childhood come to me when I see kids shoved this way or that, told not to be who they are. My whole life I’ve bristled at the suggestion that my lack of a Y chromosome should mean that I’m meant to be demure, modest, or deferential. I have none of those qualities, and whenever I see a Buzzfeed list with a title like “69 Things All 80s/90s Girls Remember,” I never remember any of those things, despite being, ostensibly, a “girl” in the 80s and 90s. Between the ages of 5 and 15, the suggestion that I put on a dress for any reason would inspire a screaming match between my mother and me. People were constantly telling me to do things I couldn’t do, like lower my voice and act like a lady.

It’s taken a long time to come to a place of comfort with my gender expression and acceptance of my physical body, but I don’t forget how hard it was to get here, and my journey was much easier than others’.

So, however you feel about people being transgendered in any way, try to separate your feelings about it from the feelings of the person living it. Other people should get to do what they like with their bodies. The way you feel about their face, or their hair, or their pubic region has no bearing on their autonomy to live in a way that’s comfortable to them. You don’t get to tell other people how to be themselves.

And seriously, stop judging people’s genitals. Just stop.

Dragon Comics 108

I'm not even going to say anything about the shoes, but where do you even get a headband like that?

I’m not even going to say anything about the shoes, but where do you even get a headband like that?

You hear a lot of noise about the children. Think about the children. How will we explain this to the children?

Children are a lot more open-minded than adults, and a lot better able to assimilate information that diverges from their previously held worldview. Children like to be initiated into the secrets of the world.

So, you know how we explain this to the children? With simple unbiased, age-appropriate words, providing additional information as appropriate, because there aren’t any important conversations we have with our kids just once. We communicate our values through word and action, and if we show the children that it’s OK to be who you are, even if you’re different, then we raise children who learn to be kind and accepting of themselves and others. We teach that the world requires many different ways, and that it would be dull and flavorless if we were all exactly alike. We celebrate diversity wherever it can enrich our understanding of our condition.

If we communicate fear and hatred, we raise children who learn to loath their own uniqueness and torment those who dare to express their uniqueness honestly. We teach them to police themselves, to ridicule divergence and lack of conformity. We drive everything that doesn’t fit within our rigid boundaries underground and then we congratulate ourselves on keeping things orderly, of proving to ourselves that clearly, ours is the only perspective, because we’ve silenced all the other voices.

Mostly, though, we have to trust kids to know who they are. Our labels and our perception can’t get at their inner truth; they have to get at their own insides themselves. We have to let them know that we trust them to tell us who they are, even if they are something we do not yet understand. That’s what we tell the children.

Dragon Comics 107

If you've been paying attention, you've noticed that the appropriate pronoun for Dragon is "dragon."

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve noticed that the appropriate pronoun for Dragon is “dragon.”

This story arc has been brewing almost since the beginning of the comic, which is why it has never happened, in 107 comics, that Dragon has been referred to with a gender pronoun.. For a while it seemed like I was going to chicken out and not go with it, but it’s been on my mind for a long time. As is true for most of my comics, I have some person stuff to work out. The time is right. Everyone’s talking about gender right now. Of course, some of us have been talking about it for decades, but now your granny is talking about it.

To start, I think most open-minded human beings can admit that gender behavior occurs along a spectrum. We really meet comparatively few men who, say, don’t think puppies and kitties are adorable. We rarely find women embracing the quality of weakness. And since gender is expressed through choices and behavior, if its expression takes place on a continuum, then gender itself can’t truly be a binary either. You could describe it as a quaternity (one, the other, both, neither) but even that doesn’t get at the nuances of who we feel like inside.

Little kids are taught the binary, which leads some of us to hide the parts that don’t fit, or else to be become saddled with derogatory tags. But why does a kid’s gender matter? We don’t want kids pairing off and mating in our society, and we no longer force adults into rigid gender roles for their entire lives to reinforce a social order for which they must begin relentlessly training at a young age. So, frankly, why should we care about little kids’ gender at all? Why shouldn’t we let them be who they feel they are?