11 thoughts on “March 28, 2017

  1. Dan, Dan please stop talking about trans people until you do more research I’m begging you. Trans women are NOT men in drags, you’re killing me here

    • I get your point, Derek, but comics can’t always be literally, historically, scientifically true. The point is still made that people who are not white, wealthy, straight and male are getting steamrolled in our current situation.

    • My message is that people other than white, male, heterosexuals should enjoy equal rights in modern America. What message did you think I was sending?

  2. I’m with Derek on this one- your point that we need a more inclusive reading of rights, and who has them, is well-taken. But it gets pretty muddied when you incorporate misunderstandings about transgender people into your comic. (And it only stings this much because you do such a consistently wonderful job of discussing marginalized people in your comics!)

    • I understand that the language isn’t exactly accurate, but the point is made, many thousands of people enjoyed the political message, and it is a cartoon, not a documentary or text book. Of course, it’s impossible to please everyone.

  3. Dan, I’m a transgender woman, and I’m generally a fan of your cartoons. This one misses the mark in a way that hurts me more than it helps. The reason is the context.

    If you look at the rhetoric around transgender rights– specifically about public accommodations like bathrooms– the opposition invariably frames people like me as “men in women’s clothing”. That’s not who we are, of course, though you’ll never convince the opposition of it. We are women, and unlike the scene you portray here, our transgression against social gender norms comes not out of what we wear, but who we are. The analog you’ve suggested does not hold true.

    I sincerely hope you consider the feedback I and others have given. (And thanks for the many laughs.)

  4. Well, Dan, we seem to have stepped in it this time. (Just to orient you, I used to live a couple blocks away from you at the corner of Edgefield & Kings Hwy in Oak Cliff, and then had you sing a book during a tour that took you to Durham.)

    I shared this comic, which I found very funny, and got immediate push-back from a friend with DID, some of whose idents are trans. I then asked a couple of trans friends for comment, and both found the thing offensive in some way. I’m copying and pasting the thread below.

    Sorry. As a middle-aged cis-het white male, I found it funny, but apparently you will be getting a lot of “so wrong” comments from the trans community.


    Hawthorne Sauerwein
    I’m really uncomfortable with this, and I think it promotes a really dangerous misunderstanding of trans people — like, for example, that trans women are just men in drag. This is one of the most common ways that these women are discredited, made out to be predators and sexual deviants and all kinds of awful things when they’re trying to just exist as women in this world. As a non gender conforming person, seeing that makes me sick — here go the cis people, laughing again at how my gender is fake and wrong, just the butt of a joke.
    We’re meant to find an incongruence between the idea of masculinity and this fashion which has been somewhat arbitrarily declared feminine. It certainly wasn’t then, and the joke relies on the unspoken assumption that there’s something “weird” about men wearing heels or wigs. That’s just reinforcing a rigid gender binary and once again making people whose gender expression doesn’t conform to that the butt of the joke.
    And besides all of that — we all know those rights were absolutely not intended for trans people. Erasing the fact that the founding fathers were deeply bigoted in many ways doesn’t make a case for trans rights — it just once again sweeps the bigotry built into the systems of this country under the rug. Not only does it not do justice to the harm that’s come to trans people in the US, it also is irresponsible in issues of race and sexism outside the trans community. If we refuse to acknowledge that these biases are old and well woven into the fabric of this country, socially and legally, then we can never address them at their root and try to make them better.
    I ask that you consider the trans people in your life when posting things like this — those you know about and those you don’t. Because I promise that for every person like me who says “hey, this isn’t cool” there are plenty of people who are too hurt or afraid to speak up, who see that and feel a little less safe in this world.

    Michael Myer
    Ray & Kari, what do y’all say? Is this supportive or is it a misguided attempt that ends up being negative?

    Kari Lebby
    It’s a bit transphobic, but this happens when people “mean well” but don’t quite have the view. i would hope that the artist would be perceptive to anyone’s concerns.

    Ray Boone
    I agree with Kari. It depicts transgender people as people who dress in drag (an action) while the entire concept of being transgender is an identity. It’s important to recognize that being trans isn’t something people put on, but something they are inside.

  5. As a trans woman, I enjoyed this largely because of Conservatives frequently making a big deal out of the believed intent of the Founding Fathers – and often they are quite wrong about their intent. Or they’ll claim that the Constitution is not a living document that is supposed to be static – shouldn’t those people be asked about slavery and blacks being considered 60% of a person?

    Anyway, I can see why some transgender people are offended – after all, no one considers any of the Founding Fathers as being transgender, although we really don’t know. Personally, I prefer to think of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution being written, although history shows this wasn’t the case, that everyone is supposed to be treated equally under the laws of the nation.

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