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This cartoon is pretty autobiographical for me, enough so that I’ve drawn myself into it. (And it’s kind of fun to draw my 1990s self. I miss that hair!)
I’ve had evangelical Christian friends for most of my life. The Evangelical Christians I’ve known, as a group, are chatty and friendly. A whole bunch of them enjoy discussing ideas and musicals, which makes them an ideal friends group for me, if they’re willing to be friendly with an atheist Jew and not try to convert.
But there’s always that lurking question – are they going to turn out to have attitudes I can’t tolerate in a friend? Are they hateful towards LGBT people? My awareness of that issue is always hovering over me anytime I meet an evangelical.
And nowadays, that same awareness hovers when I meet a radical feminist.
I don’t mean to say that all radical feminists are transphobes – that’s obviously not the case. Similarly, not all Christians are transphobes, or homophobes. (And plenty of lgbt people are themselves Christians).
But there’s a significant correlation there. The possibility of someone being a homophobe, or a transphobe, is much higher if that person is an avowed Christian. And, nowadays, the possibility of being a transphobe is much higher if a person is an avowed radical feminist.
It’s a really sucky change, and one that I hope isn’t permanent.
This one was more fun to draw than I expected. I didn’t want any big body language or any big changes in layout from panel to panel – but I also didn’t want it to look like I photocopied the same panel four times. So the challenge was to provide enough visual variety so that the cartoon is pleasing to look at even though it is, basically, the same panel four times in a row.
TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON
This cartoon has four panels. Every panel shows a caricature of me, Barry, meeting a different person in each panel.
CAPTION: Meeting a Christian, 1990
Barry – a fat guy with glasses and long, big, curly hair – is shaking hands with a somewhat conservatively dressed (long sleeves, long skirt) woman with long, straight blonde hair. She’s wearing a necklace with a cross on it and is carrying a purse. Both people are smiling.
BARRY (thought balloon): A Christian? Hope she’s not a homophobe.
CAPTION: Meeting a Radical Feminist, 1990
Barry, looking the same as in panel 1 but wearing a different outfit, is making a small wave towards a woman with short hair and a buttoned-up shirt. Barry has a backpack and the woman is carrying a book.
BARRY (thought balloon): A radical feminist? Cool!
CAPTION: Meeting a Christian Today
Barry now has much less hair, tied back in a tiny little ponytail, and his beard is shorter and more salt-and-pepper than black. He'[s listening to cheerful-looking man with a full beard. The man is carrying a cell phone.
BARRY (thought): A Christian? I hope he’s not a transphobe.
CAPTION: Meeting a Radical Feminist Today
Barry, looking the same age as in panel three, is facing a woman who is wearing a blazer over a striped shirt and is carrying an umbrella. She has short, slightly spiky hair on top, buzzed on the sides.
BARRY (thought balloon): A radical feminist? Hope she’s not a transphobe.