When I first started coming to terms with being trans, I didn’t really know what to do next. I was isolated in a conservative country in the “developing world”, had no idea how to talk to my folks about this stuff, didn’t have a clue how one actually transitioned. So I started surfing the web, carefully covering my tracks as I went along. And I started finding the stuff I needed in personal blogs and on information sites and the like … but yeah, I was still feeling very much alone, and did not yet have the guts to start posting on forums or in chatrooms.
So it was that I came across Venus Envy. VE is a webcomic about a young transwoman named Zoe who moves to a new town with her parents and goes full-time there, and it was kinda like I was reading a friend’s journal, somebody who knew me and understood what I was going through, somebody who had walked the path I was about to take and could show me the way. I know it must seem silly, but that comic became my best friend for a while, and I’ll always be grateful to Erin, the author, for putting it out there for me to find.
Webcomics are a very personal, very intimate way of communicating with other people, because webcomic authors often use their own lives or that of people close to them as a basis for their stories. It made me feel connected at a time when I was very isolated, and hopefully they can do the same for you.
the really transie ones
These feature transgender characters as main or supporting cast and focusses primarily on the issues these characters deal with.
VE was the first webcomic I ever read that dealt with trans issues, and remains one that I love to bits. It follows a young transwomen named Zoe who moves to a new town with her parents and goes full-time there. Nothing flashy, just life and how she deals … or sometimes doesn’t deal, but it’s well written, has a cast of great characters and is lovingly drawn. Absolutely recommended.
Khaos is a teen drama/comedy following the lives of a group of kids in a British high school who all deviate from “accepted in some way”. It deals with same sex relationships in school, unrequited love, the difficulties and dangers of transitioning, and a host of other stuff. It’s a soap, but it’s a really good one.
Please Note that Khaos contains some nudity, sex and profanity, so be responsible in your viewing of or referral to it.
Between the lines is a new comic I’ve recently started reading, and I’m really enjoying it. It follows, so far anyway, the lives of two young trans kids, Shay and Dani. It’s a serious look at the stuff trans kids so often go through, dealing with abuse and drug addiction, abandonment and many other issues.
The scene opens with a group of Miss Popular wannabes gossiping about Yun, who dresses in girl’s clothes and has long hair, and is not exactly in the running for popular. Then JJ, a mousie, quiet girl goes to sit with Yun, and so begins a friendship that eventually turns into love. It’s a lovely, quiet little story that always makes me hopeful when I read it.
the kinda transie ones
These feature trans characters in minor roles, and either their issues aren’t really touched on or only feature as minor plot lines. I also include the ever popular magickal or sciency gender/body swap stories here, even where these gender swap stories really have very little to do with gender variance. The characters might not deal with alot of what we deal with, but the situations they get into are often very similar.
The Wotch follows the exploits of Anne Onymous and her friends as she learns what it means to be The Wotch, the most important and powerful witch in existence. It’s full of weird transformations, extra-dimensional antics and really deadpan humour. Lotsa fun.
At one point during the Wotch, Anne changes these four hunky football players into girls and just … forgets about them – If I remember correctly she was amnesiac or something in that storyline. Anyways, Cheer follows the lives of these four happily changed (Their memories and apparently gender identities and stuff also got altered) people as they try to finish school in the same town as where Anne lives … easier said than done.
EGS follows the lives of a group of high school kids that just so happen to include a mad scientist, a martial arts master and his female clone, and an alien squirrel girl, amongst others. Very much in the same vein as The Wotch, EGS is just good, clean, weird fun.
What if a doped-up angel accidentally misfiled your entire life in a filing cabinet up in heaven somewhere and couldn’t find it again? This is what to Ash, who wakes up one day and he’s inexplicably turned into a girl. Worse, everybody else remembers him as a girl growing up, and he gets more than a few odd looks when he insists somebody made a major mistake somewhere. Ash finds a girl called Emily, who was also misfiled, one year younger than she is supposed to be, and together they try and figure out how to fix things, the idiot angel in tow. Misfile is by Chris Hazelton and well worth reading.
the almost transie ones
These have characters that MIGHT be trans, or else deal with same-sex relationships, intersex or other related matters.
Breath is similar to Khaos in its subject matter, focussing on a group of highschool kids of whom some are gay, one might be trans (I think … maybe) but all are outside of the mainstream. It deals with issues in a more serious way though, focussing on bullying and homophobia, rape and other touchy subjects. It’s really good reading, though it’s recently taken a decidedly darker turn and is probably the least appropriate for kids.
Please Note that Breath contains some nudity, sex and profanity, so be responsible in your viewing of or referral to it.