Transgender Characters In Comics part 2: The Call has been answered.

So a few months ago I created a blog entry complaining about the lack of trans characters with in comics.

I got a lot of examples of shapeshiters or people who can take over bodies, etc. But that isn't really trans that was just genderbent.

I did get a few ones such as Lord Fanny, and a few other characters from various indie comics, however not too many from the Big 2.

However today I shall discuss a few characters that I were left out of the discussion as well as two new characters that come from the the big 2 that have come out as Transgender from the big 2, as well as how I feel about the reveals.

I would also like to take this to remind everybody that I am in fact a Trans woman, and that does give me some representation of the community however I do not speak for all of the community and you may find other trans individuals to have different views on this subject from me. I would share some of those other opinions as well.

First off I would like to discuss a character who has already existed but sort of went under my radar in my last post. Sir Ystin from the Dc comics Demon Knights.He is implied to be intersex( a minority group that gets even less positive publicity than trans individuals) andI believes identifies as genderqueer but referring masculine pro nouns. From scans, he seems to be portrayed pretty great, being a total badass and even has some love interests.

I would also like to talk about Coagula from Doom Patrol. Her background is a little odd, but she was one of the first Trans Woman characters in comics and her creation was specifically to create a positive portrayal of a trans woman that was a lesbian. Although she was later retconned to be bisexual.

Next up I would like to discuss Xavin. Xavin is a Skrull who had appeared in the runaways series. She first met the group explaining that her and Karolina Deans family had an arranged marriage between the two. But seeing how the Karolina Dean was a lesbian, Xavin did not mind shapeshifting into a female form. She is different among other shapeshifters who I would not include as transgender because she actually shows discomfort in her gender at several points in the book, occasionally switching back and forth between the male and female. It's also unique to mention that the Skrulls see gender differently than humans ( well actually western civilization, because only in western civilization was there a strict binary, but that is a discussion that I will explore later on). Xavin was portrayed pretty well, she had her differences coming from another culture, but she genuinely did care for Karolina Dean and in the end made the ultimate sacrifice to save her, by impersonating her and being taken away to space. I bring her up, despite not being in a comic for awhile now, because her being an alien ties greatly in with the discussion I will have with my next character which is....

Tong is a moloid who appears in the Marvels Future Foundation series. In the most recent issue Tong told the other moloids who she calls her brothers, that there was a girl inside her, and she wasn't a boy like them. Sharing this info she asked her family if they were still in fact her family. The response was a heartfelt moment of the youngest Moloid hugging her, face in her dress saying " love my tong", the others moloids come and hug her too, as Tong rejoices. Later on you see the moloids walking around, and the adults of the cast seem supportive. I believe She-Hulks words were " Good for her." and Scott Lang's words were "Are we doing that now?" which at first sounds bad, but then you realize he is juts shocked and confused rather then having any actual problem with it. I noticed two concerns with this The first concern was that the moloids have so far been seen as a source of comedy, and that not a lot would come from this except for comedy. But I disagree, just because a character was used just for comedy or a gag-character doesn't mean they can't be expanded. And besides in their comedy the moloids have said some undelrying profound things and have been pretty accepting such as this little fun line " A date is for a Mens and Womens. Or Mens and Mens. Or Womens and Womens. And dates are for smooching." It might just be me, but there is a beauty in how simple they explained it. The second problem I noticed people are having is the fact that the Moloids are not Humans, and neither are the Skrulls which Xavin is a part of. And some criticize Marvel for using non-human characters to express these themes. I understand the criticism, but for me I absolutely love these characters and i think in a world where we have mutants, clones, angels, aliens, and demons that these characters are still people and can still be effected by these scenarios, and I am still able to connect with these people. Seeing Tongs family react with joy and acceptance brought tears to my eyes, wishing my own mother and sister would be as accepting. And this topic of Acceptance brings me to our next character.

Alysia Yeoh A.K.A Barbara Gordon's(Batgirl) roommate. It was in the most recent issue of Batgirls self title series that Alysia came out as Trans to Barbara. In the scene Barbara tells her about her encounter with the joker that had left her paralyzed. Alysia shares her own history and comes out as trans. The two bond over their secrets being revealed, and Babs even tells Aysia to call her " babs" because people she loves calls her Babs. The importance of coming out is a big deal to alot of individuals, whether they are Trans or gay, lesbian, pan, bi, etc. And a lot of people think that coming out is a one time thing but it's not. Everytime you encounter a new person you need to decide whether you are going to come out to them. You need to judge things like how comfortable you are around them, how often will you see them, and what type of relationship you have with that person. It is a continuous process that will go on for the rest of your life, something that straight and cisgender people do not have to deal with. It is something that can give major stress and anxiety to individuals, and any positive portrayal is important. People often discuss realism and think that it should appear in comics and I agree, however I disagree with the extent that realism should take effect. Especially when it comes to minorities, it is important to have positive portrayals of coming out, even if it is higher than the realistic average, because as a source of media comics should be striving to be greater than the realistic world and influencing it. The more positive portrayals of coming out the more okay people would feel about the subject, and the people who have to come out will feel like they have even more support.

Anyway this has been my discussion of trans individuals in comics. I hope you enjoyed, and you can discuss it too in my responses. I hoped you enjoy and i hope maybe you learned something from what I have said. I feel confident that comics are moving in the right direction, and hope to see even more trans characters come out of the wood works.

26 Comments
26 Comments
Posted by lykopis

Fantastic blog - really surprised no one has commented on it.

I especially agree with one of your closing points:

"Especially when it comes to minorities, it is important to have positive portrayals of coming out, even if it is higher than the realistic average, because as a source of media comics should be striving to be greater than the realistic world and influencing it. The more positive portrayals of coming out the more okay people would feel about the subject, and the people who have to come out will feel like they have even more support."

There are various ways to go about it, and a little ignorance can be revealed to add to the story, but it should be dealt with harshly (the ignorance). Positive portrayals are the way to go -- it really does go a long way in making people feel comfortable with themselves and also, help them along in their life's journey - in choosing to come out or not.

Thank you for your insights and for this blog. Very enjoyable. :)

Posted by ShadowX

@lykopis: thank you for your time and response. And I agree ignorance and agreement can be shown as long as its shown to be wrong and corrected/challenged quickly. I might make this a series of blogs where I go indepth with various characters and subjects. ( such as do shapeshifters count as trans? And.etc..)

Posted by MyNameWasDeleted

Having only recently come out as Trans here on ComicVine, I concur whole-heartedly about that issue of needing to continue to come out to everyone for the rest of my life. I have recently started a new job and no one there knows yet that I was born a boy. I'm not sure if I will ever tell them as passing for female is 2nd nature for me now, though I might one day reveal my past. I do like to drop hints now and again, but that's just playful banter.

as an aside shadowx I was hoping you could add a link to your original transgendered in comics post so it's easier to have a more thorough discussion, or at least list off those characters you have already written about

oh, and ps. thanks for this blog, you rock

Posted by lykopis

@shadowx:

That would be bloody fantastic! Awesome blog idea -- :)

Posted by ShadowX

@mynamewasdeleted: thanks and no problem. And yeah I know what you mean. And sure i'll post the link now.

http://www.comicvine.com/profile/shadowx/blog/transgender-characters-in-comics/85837/

Posted by MyNameWasDeleted
Posted by ShadowX
Posted by MyNameWasDeleted

Hey, I linked that part one over here so the discussion can continue here in these comments, hope you're ok with that.

There are so many examples of transgendered people in comics that you've missed though... some who chose to alter their gender, some who had it done without their consent, and others who have de-transitioned for various reasons and some who were simply retconned out of their gender dysphoric states. Possibly the earliest of them, and mind you this one was an offering from DC comics in 1978, was Shvaughn Erin. The love interest of Element Lad.

Posted by ShadowX

@mynamewasdeleted: thank you so much for letting me know. I'm still learning about trans characters in comics myself so I do plan on researching more for sure, and I do plan on doing further blog posts on the subject so I shall add more in the future!

Edited by MyNameWasDeleted

Here are a couple of lists of characters to explore for future installments

on Comic~Vine

on Wikipedia

edit: one of the more true to form Transsexual characters was Dagmar in Black Kiss

Posted by ShadowX
Posted by The_Titan_Lord

Nice blog.

Posted by ShadowX
Posted by Nerx

@shadowx: Don't forget danny the street

transgenderism is not limited to merely puny humans

Posted by ShadowX

@nerx: wouldnt he be more of a transvestite then a transgendr character?

Edited by Nerx

@shadowx: Danny can assign its gender, being a moving/living location

Edited by BaneStrokeLoboGrundyBatArrow

Is Xavin transgender or just confused about his/ her gender? Which wouldent that be transgender??? So confused... Sorry.

Posted by ShadowX

@banestrokelobogrundybatarrow: don't need to be sorry. Xavin's gender status can be a complicated one, since the skrulls have there own understanding of gender. However Xavin does seem to have evidence to being transgender in the human american sense of the term, she seems to suffer from some type of dyaphoria and confusion about her gender. I personally see her as a trans woman or a gender fluid individual.

And sometimes some people are confused about their gender but may end up not being trans, they can simply like to crossdress, or be more feminine or masculine then their assigned gender.

@nerx: Alright. So bigender or genderfluid then?

Posted by BaneStrokeLoboGrundyBatArrow

@shadowx said:

@banestrokelobogrundybatarrow: don't need to be sorry. Xavin's gender status can be a complicated one, since the skrulls have there own understanding of gender. However Xavin does seem to have evidence to being transgender in the human american sense of the term, she seems to suffer from some type of dyaphoria and confusion about her gender. I personally see her as a trans woman or a gender fluid individual.

And sometimes some people are confused about their gender but may end up not being trans, they can simply like to crossdress, or be more feminine or masculine then their assigned gender.

@nerx: Alright. So bigender or genderfluid then?

Thank you! I now understand good thread!

Posted by Nerx

@shadowx: Just say multi/pan/ or omni

shapeshifters get the good package, they are formless

Take mystique for example

Posted by ShadowX

@banestrokelobogrundybatarrow: im glad i could help

@nerx: you see. I don't think that all shapeshiters are trans. I think you can make a case for Mystique being genderfluid since she was going to use her powers to impregnate Destiny, until that origin foe nightcrawler was scrapped.

But there is a difference of identifying as a certain gender and shapeshifting. I'm sure many shapeahifters simply identify as one gender and may use there powers for disguises. Than there are ones who don't identify as a peticular one, or maybe even some who identify as none or " above/beyond" gender. But schemantics i guess.

Edited by Nerx

@shadowx:

Not all are, but in a certain regard they hold an advantage over regulars.

Some shifters tend to get lost and even 'forget' their initial identity

Posted by ShadowX
Edited by Jonny_Anonymous

Tong is clearly the best trans character ever created

Online
Posted by AlexandraTheGreat

Black Kiss was a superb comic, sadly I only have a few and have to hunt down the entire series.

Posted by fodigg

I think that because the Moloids are considered to be joke characters, when they're not being silly it has more impact. So Tong's acceptance is one example, but another is the hate they display toward Mole Man, wishing him dead.