By Mike Malpiedi
Earlier today, Trump dealt a significant blow to the transgender community and the hard, tireless work they have been doing toward gaining basic human rights in America. Trump casually tweeted that trans people would no longer be allowed to serve and fight for their country. This statement will be followed by reversing a policy put in place by the Obama administration to allow the people of the trans community to join the armed services. Trump’s sentiment today is that having trans people in the military is too costly in terms of their needed healthcare and would be detrimental to the military’s overall effectiveness. This is all said in spite of their being no plausible evidence that this is accurate by any means.
In fact, a 2016 Rand Corporation study found that the overall cost for providing healthcare to trans people that serve in the military is quite minimal and is significantly less than what the military spends on providing Viagra. While no true action has been put into effect by the Trump administration, the statements made today clearly express the mindset of our current government and is reflective of the types of actions against the trans community that we can expect to see moving forward. It also reinforces the stigma that supporting trans people as employees, and general human beings, is an unnecessary burden.
This idea of being trans as a burden is not only unfounded, but continues to feed into the prejudice, aggression, oppressive violence, and fear that is put upon this community on a daily basis. The people of the trans community are profoundly brave, beautiful, and inspiring individuals that deserve to have respect, love, and the basic human rights that we, as Americans, are all suppose to have.
Last month I wrote an article for Pride that highlighted some examples of great queer media, and in that vain I would like to highlight several trans comic writers and game developers that you should be supporting and paying attention to. Just because our administration is failing to be decent human beings doesn’t mean we have to do the same. We need more positive and true representations of trans people in our media in order to promote better empathy and thwart these every growing stigmas. We also need to support the trans people that have been working in comics and gaming for years, but never get the praise and representation they actually should.
With that being said, please check out these incredible artists and developers who all deserve your time, love, and appreciation…
Kylie is a webcomic creator who runs the Tumblr site, transgirlnextdoor.com. Her comic of the same name gives a fantastic and hilarious view of what it is like living as a trans woman in her 20s. The strips she writes highlight and discuss everything from feelings of gender dysphoria to how to confide in others when trans to lamenting about why Laverne Cox doesn’t have more scenes in OITNB. Her comics are honest, genuine, heartfelt, and, more often than not, absolutely hysterical. You can check out more of her comics by clicking the website link provided previously.
Donate here: https://www.patreon.com/transgirlnextdoor
Tara Avery and Jeanne Thornton
This wonderful pair of editors are currently working on a 55 comic anthology called We’re Still Here that details the varying lives of trans people. The anthology includes both fiction and non-fiction comics that are all written and drawn by trans artists and writers. The anthology is being published by Stacked Deck Press and is currently slated for a late 2017/early 2018 release. The editors are still seeking donations on Kickstarter to help finance the printing of the anthology, pay the actual artists, and cover the cost of distribution. Some of the proceeds from the anthology’s sales will go toward supporting the Trans Assistance Project and the Sylvia Rivera Project.
Anna is a DIY game developer who develops games that speak to the experience of being trans. Anthropy has developed such titles as Lesbian Spider Queens of Mars, Mighty Jill Off, Calamity Annie, and the autobiographical Dsy4ia. These games present trans queer and trans experiences such as what it is like to undergo hormone replacement treatment and what it means to be a part of the BDSM community. She has produced more than 70 games using a program called Game Maker and has even published a book entitled Rise of the Videogame Zinesters: How Freaks, Normals, Amateurs, Artists, Dreamers, Drop-outs, Queers, Housewives, and People Like You Are Taking Back an Art Form through Seven Stories Press.
Where to play: https://w.itch.io/
Edwards is a queer trans comic writer and artist who has created such works as Valley of the Silk Sky, Transpose, and Outfield. He has also been published in the award winning comic anthology Qu33R (which I highlighted in my previous Pride article). Edwards was honored with the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association’s 2016 Award for Excellence in Transgender Coverage for his comic “How I Told My Grandma I’m Transgender.” His work covers the difficulties of coming out as trans, being a queer athlete, and what it is like living as trans and genderqueer. Edwards creates fantastic and funny anti-Valentine’s Day cards through his Etsy shop as well.
How to Support: http://www.studiondr.com/buy-stuff/
Baker is a trans artist, musician, illustrator and game developer who has created titles such as Death Sword, Never Go to Work, and Lithium. Besides being developing games, Baker is the front person for Destroyed for Comfort, has written for numerous sites such as Harlot Media and Transadvocate, and currently writes the comic Why I’m Not an Artist. Their work focuses on needing to move forward and forego conformity, rejecting trans 101 education, and being as incredible weird and unexpected as possible. Baker’s work has received much negative flack and prejudice, as the Twitter posts they utilize on their Patreon would indicate, so this particular artist could truly use the positive support.
Donate Here: https://www.patreon.com/destroyed4com4t
Where to Play: https://destroyed4com4t.itch.io/
If you have not already, please take a moment to check out the powerful and brilliant work being produced by these artists and developers. The more support that we can give to trans art, the more opportunity for these individuals, and others, to get the respect and recognition they rightfully deserve. While the current administration does its best to undermine the incredible work of the LGBTQIA community and their validity as human beings, we need to fight as much as we can to show that we will have none of it. One of the best ways to show appreciation and love is by supporting these artists who are doing what they can to accurately, effectively, and boldly tell the stories that the mainstream will not. As well as donating and purchasing the media that these trans artists and developers are creating, please talk to your friends and let them know about these games and comics.
To push cisgender allies further, continue to educate your cisgender peers on why this work is important, why the transgender community is in no way a burden, and why these unfathomable acts of oppression and violence against trans people need to stop.
The more that we can give trans art, media, and voices a strong platform, the better we can protect their rights and their lives well into the future.
* Featured image is from the upcoming comic anthology, We’re Still Here.