The 5th Reason I Make Comics

christian beranek photography of kelci crawford
Photography by Christian Beranek.

To see the other four reasons, check out this post.

So this post is being written one day after the US Election results, saying Trump is the new president. My thoughts on the matter are summed up in this pledge I posted on Tumblr.

Here’s the thing – I make LGBT+ comics. I have no intention to change that. And here’s why.

I am genderqueer. I’ve already written posts about this, so read this and this if you haven’t yet.

Being genderqueer, I saw no protagonists like me. The closest it got was seeing tomboy girls or more feminine boys, neither of which were treated well in stories. They were usually teased, bullied, and beaten. Also, by the end of the story, the tomboy or the feminine boy would change their ways and conform to gender norms, and magically get accepted by their peers.

I didn’t even know genderqueer identities were a thing until I started working on Validation two years ago, and came across the term. And then I realized that there was a word to my feelings I felt for years. Of not wanting to be confined to the “male” or “female” box and their perks and drawbacks, but to be solid in my own name.

At the same time, while making these comics and realizing my identity, I noticed something about Validation readers – Christian and I would get (usually private) messages from them saying how much they appreciated the story. Not just because of the trans lead, Ally, but to see Ally be happy and enjoying her life as a trans girl was huge to these readers. More than once we’ve been told by readers that the story has saved their lives.

Is Validation huge in scope? No. It’s deliberately kept small-scale and everyday, because our lives are small-scale and everyday (usually).

But Validation is resonating with readers because Christian and I keep it real. We are telling the story in our own way because we’ve lived this shit, to one degree or another. We didn’t go into making the comic thinking “this is going to change lives.” That consequence just happened because readers took the time to read it and connect to it.

So the 5th reason I make comics? It’s that connection. It’s the chance to see the comics I make and the work I do make a difference in people’s lives. Even if that difference is just a chance to smile and put their stresses aside for a bit. If I can do that with my work, I’m pleased. If I can change lives, then holy banana pants.

Thank you for reading.

Be Strong. Be Kind. Be Awesome.

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