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Reminder that community involvement correlates to increased depression in trans women.
In other words: people hate trans women so much that community involvement wears us down. Communities that regenerate and heal trans women are outliers. Trans women that get enough social esteem in other communities to make those communities good for them are against the grain.
This is true even though social interaction and acceptance is, for many people, a basic need.
Communities (any community) fail trans women so utterly that it is less depressing to go without community involvement than to try to involve yourself in one.
Holy shit you’re all dialoguing about this. I have a handful of stories throughout my career like the one I shared and I was told for so long that it was my fault and it was normal and I had to be more aware and I am here now, older, wiser and I have felt so isolated in my efforts to talk to my fans/followers. Like I was the only one seeing it. The only one speaking out.
The day I took the teenage girl out of the bar in Phoenix and told her to dial her mother’s number I knew she would hate me but the bar was full of grown goddamn men and they refused to protect her. I know now that one of them (a VERY popular artist) slept with her while his longtime girlfriend was at home and now that artist is known for being drunk and off the rails and GODDAMNIT I tried. I tried to help her. I talked to her mother. I talked to the pro who brought her in. I fought. I have always been fighting it feels like.
My first con one of my heroes offered to let me stay in his room so I wouldn’t have to ride the train back and forth to my sister’s and he then told a line of his fans what he was going to do to me that night. Graphic descriptions. The wife of another artist at the booth I was working took me aside and gave me a talking to about how this industry is full of dogs. And how best to be vigilant and avoid them. She told me all these men would ever see in me was the chance to take advantage of me. Unless I wisened up. She talked about me having stars in my eyes. But she also talked to me about my skills I look back now on that day almost 10 years ago and I realize that it is because of those men that I eventually stopped pursuing major publishers.
The editor that stood there, drunk, denying me my box of comps at a show and asking me to keep talking because watching my lips move turned him on. That was the day I cracked, and I left the road for the dirt path less traveled. I still have heroes who’s work I admire. But I stopped wishing to meet them. I stopped feeling like I could be a part of this world I yearned for since childhood.
I live in my cave and I make my comics and I do it for ME. Independent. I will make it alone, or not at all. I just felt like no one cared about change. I fought to hone my craft so I could compete with the boys and then I realized most of the boys don’t like girls so I made my own sandbox. Now, after the BC article, I hear so many voices and my heart hurts, people. I’ve fought from my little corner for quite awhile now and I really felt like I’d be talking about these issues alone FOREVER. Then the cavalry came in. Holy hell.
I don’t hate men in comics as a whole. I met some awesome pros along my journey. #1 on the list of men who have always looked after the womenfolk? Tony Parker. Kevin Eastman brought me in, gave me my foot in the door and took care of me. Lorenzo Sperlonga, too. Craig Hamilton is another awesome guy. Joe Phillips too. I’ve met some awful men. But I’ve met some random gems too. George Perez is one. Joshua Dysart is another. Good men. Strong men all. And madly skilled.
If you’re male and a comic book pro I’m asking you to listen now. It’s just you and me here. I don’t want a job. I make my own way in the world and now that I’m free I don’t know if I’ll ever go back. This isn’t about my career. This is about the fact that the world is watching. The boom has happened. The industry isn’t what it was in the golden years or even in the Image renaissance. This is big, brother. And more and more little girls are growing up believing in the medium. I’m asking you (Yes YOU) to make a point of not being quiet. I know you’re worried about job security, especially with the economy being what it is.I get it. But you’re paving the way for the kids of tomorrow my friend. Do something drastic. Use your imagination. That’s what it’s there for. Be the change you want to see. Don’t just sit there being thankful you’re not “That Guy”. And if you ARE “That Guy”, I don’t hate you. I know you far too well for that. I understand you. You were most every man I knew as a child. You are that which causes so many of us to doubt ourselves. You are the reason I fought for so long to win the game. Only to realize your game isn’t for me. So enjoy your time while it lasts. Comic Book Society won’t look the same once I’m done here. =) I’m not going to be quiet anymore.
I commented on Brandon’s thread because he was being called out for speaking openly about a misogynistic creator who I knew was misogynistic. I’ve told the story before. This time it just happened to be reposted for a larger audience and has sparked debate. I’m not asking anyone to boycott the creator in question. I just agree that the books leave a bad taste in my mouth when they are touted as being the “breath of feminist fresh air” in comics. Irony= misogynist man making comics for women. It’s funny. It’s sad. And don’t you dare call out Brandon or anyone else for speaking truth.
I’m being asked a lot of questions. So here are more answers: Why didn’t I take to social media immediately? I was afraid of being THAT GIRL. I’d been warned it was my responsibility to watch my own back. And I believed it. Why am I willing to talk about it now? Because a MAN in the industry spoke his name first, and was attacked for it. Every time I have talked about it to any of my followers I never revealed his name. Brandon’s tweets made me think twice. Especially now that I am independent. Again, I don’t hate said creator. I never did. It made me feel dehumanized at the time. Even worse was his half hearted apology AFTER giving me a ration of shit, and only because I requested it. Is he a good writer? Of course. Does it make me ill when I see a book of his on the shelf? Indeed. But look at it this way. He is a part of what I had to overcome to find my true path. I’m who I am in part because one of my heroes pretended to like me and tried to trick me into the sack. It took me years to figure out why that situation made me so upset.
My art, for me, is pure. Yes I know I sound crazy. I was young, naive, and got hit on a lot. But to use my work and my hopes for a career against me? That shit left a mark. I didn’t have anyone to look up to as a shining example of how to handle those situations. I knew how to deal with regular guys making passes or being weird. But a man I respected, who worked in the magical industry I thought was full of rebels and freaks like me? The fact that he went out of his way to let me know he thought I was talented and then when he met me and hunted me, and then wrote his room number ON A PIECE OF MY ART?
It still burns, people. I’m allowed to be mad. I’m allowed to talk about it. No matter when it happened. Talking about it is healing. I was hoping to defend a creator by telling my truth. I tripped and found some really awesome folks who fight their own good fights daily. For those worried about him hurting me: He can’t. I’m in my own sandbox, and he’s just some comics guy. What’s he going to do? Tell his friends not to hire me? I’m nobody to him. He made sure to let me know that I was supposed to be grateful for his attention. That I was nothing. He claimed he wanted us to be cool afterwards. I actually tried (oh the stupidity of youth). But he promptly ignored me after that. I picked up. I moved on. I grew up. I met many more of his kind. I got stronger, quicker, bigger and meaner. Now I’m Brienne instead of Book 1 Sansa.
I am the subject of 4Chan threads now. But not only do I have sensible defenders there…the first comments were about how they don’t care what I said because they love my art. Then they shared my art. Repeatedly. #mustbedoingsomethingright No. I don’t hate the creator in question. I just think he’s an asshole. I’m NOT the only woman he’s done this to. But that doesn’t mean I’m asking you to boycott him. If you enjoy his books, more power to you. I don’t. Because he is using women in the industry and female characters as tools for his own gain. He’s a faux feminist. And he smells like butt. And his mama dresses him funny. :) Okay, I might have some minor resentment about his track record of female abuse. Dude. Come on. I’m a free agent. I make comics about a monster, a kid and a drunk cat that are about gender spectrums, old people and muffins. No one can touch me. I’m so far out in left field I can’t even see the stands."
I originally wrote this as part of a response to Tess Fowler’s brave-as-hell decision to name Brian Wood as the dude who’d harassed her at a convention. Posting it again, on its own, because there are some things I want to expand on…
Every time I have a conversation with another woman about which conventions or pros to be careful of; every time we discreetly pass around names and tips for staying safe (safer) (safeish), I get angrier and angrier that dudes are not, as far as I know, having parallel conversations about NOT DOING THAT SHIT IN THE FIRST PLACE. Certainly not with the frequency and volume and routine that we recommend wearing heavy shoes and not letting yourself end up alone in a corner with that one guy. Certainly not enough to make a goddamn dent.
I’m putting this firmly on the men in comics, because, you know what? Men are the overwhelming majority of the people in the industry with institutional and hiring power. Even most of the most senior women in editorial departments answer to one or more male boss, usually a dude who has been in the industry long enough and played its games effectively enough to be pretty solidly entrenched in the existing power structure; and, even if he is basically a decent human being, to have capitulated to and internalized and regurgitated and privileged appeals to tradition and status quo over things like personal dignity and safety and minimal motherfucking professionalism.
Men in comics, especially men in positions of institutional power and popular visibility, you need to step the fuck up. It has been going on for so, so, so goddamn long. And the women who speak up get written off as squeaky wheels and malcontents and difficult, and patronized and blacklisted and quietly driven off, and everyone is fucking terrified to go public because the worst perpetrators are the most entrenched and protected.
So: If you’re in a position to speak up, and you’re not doing it; if you’re a boss who looks the other way while your male employees edge out and harass and sometimes even flat-out assault female colleagues and fans; if you’re a professional with enough of a name to command attention; and you see this and don’t speak up long and loud, fuck you. Fuck you so much, for standing by while shitheads poison the well because you were too afraid or apathetic to rock the boat when you were the only one with an oar. Fuck you for throwing your colleagues and people who could and should have been your colleagues under the bus, or standing by quietly while someone else did; for sitting on evidence and documentation; for not speaking up when you have the credibility and platform to make an actual goddamn difference.
When you see harassment and abuse, and you are in a position to call it out and effect actual consequences, and you don’t, you don’t get to be a good guy anymore. You have become part of the problem. You are why this shit persists—every fucking bit as much as the people perpetrating it.
I mean: When I said that one guy in the first paragraph, you knew who I was talking about, didn’t you? Doesn’t matter if we were thinking of the same names (and oh, you adorable, naive children who assumed that there could only have been one). What matters is that you knew and you didn’t do a fucking thing.
Reblogging because this Brian Wood shit got swept under the rug way too fast the last time it reared it’s head. I’ve spread Fowler’s harassment story to a few collaborators, I just wish I was enough of a somebody in this industry to spread it further.
Wood aside, this is a good message to internalize for us in comics and as people in general.
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