Welcome to new collaborator R. E. Ryan!
R. E. Ryan is a history and comics enthusiast from Portland, Oregon who makes both fiction and nonfiction comics. (Oddly, although he and I live in the same city, we’ve never met outside of email. For all I know he’s my next door neighbor.)
I’m very happy with how this comic looks; if we’re lucky, we’ll get to see more from R.E. sometime. (He says he’s willing, if and when his schedule opens up…)
It’s a common trope, on the right, to complain that “trans activists are shoving their gender ideology down everyone’s throats!” (That the phrase is ugly and implies violence is presumably part of the appeal). And then if you talk to them further it turns out that they’re complaining about something entirely inoffensive, like someone having preferred pronouns or wearing a t-shirt or a trans actor doing a promotion for Bud Light. In effect, many of them are claiming that trans people are “forcing” their ideology onto them merely by existing.
The irony is that many of those transphobes (#NotAllTransphobes) are evangelical Christians – surely the most aggressive group in America for attempting to force their ideology onto other people.
I’ll be an atheist until God appears before me and pries my atheism out of my cold dead metaphor. But I’m not offended by proselytizing Christians doing any of the things shown in this cartoon (except the fliers do create a lot of litter). But the gall of any ideology that acts like that complaining about other people pushing beliefs is impressive.
I’ve often asked transphobes angry at incredibly inoffensive things – a city hall rewriting a form to be inclusive, an all-gender bathroom being made available, a trans actor having a small part in the Barbie movie – “how does this hurt you?” Generally they fumble around for a bit because, really, they’ve got nothing.
(It’s legally unimportant, but still telling, that in 303 Creative LLC v Elenis, in which the Supreme Court ruled that a website designer could refuse to design a website for a same-sex wedding, no same-sex couple had asked. They had to make up a conflict since no real one had happened.)
They say “trans activists are shoving their ideology down my throat” because they’re desperate to think of themselves as victims, when by any reasonable accounting they’re the aggressors.
TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON
This cartoon has four panels. The storyline focuses on two women; one with curly brown hair falling down her back, rectangular glasses, and a purple t-shirt which says “Jesus Saves” in large letters. I’ll call her “Curly.” The other woman has straight brown hair, cross-shaped earrings, and is wearing an orange t-shirt which also says “Jesus Saves.” I’ll call her “Straight.”
Straight and Curly are in a parking lot. Curly is cheerfully putting a yellow flier under a car’s windshield wiper, while Straight is holding a small pile of yellow fliers in her hands. We can read the top of a flier over Straight’s shoulder; it has a large heading which says “Jesus is the Answer.”
STRAIGHT: We’re gonna need more fliers!
On a city sidewalk, a man wearing a hoodie walks stiffly past Curly and Straight, purposely not engaging with them. Straight is wearing a signboard, decorated with flames painted coming up from the bottom, which says “Only JESUS can save you from the Lake of Fire.” She’s holding a flier towards the man walking away from her. Curly is talking to Straight, looking excited and happy, and holding up her smartphone with the screen facing Straight.
STRAIGHT: Excuse me, have you accepted Jesus Christ into your heart?
CURLY: Hey, look what just went up!
A close-up of the smartphone screen (we can also see a bit of Curly’s hand holding it). The screen shows a photo of a large billboard, with a central image of Jesus with a halo, and the words “JESUS is coming soon! Are YOU ready?”
STRAIGHT: Wow! Our new billboard looks AMAZING!
Curly and Straight (straight is still wearing her signboard) are standing on the sidewalk, watching a pedestrian walk by. Curly leans to the side to whisper something to Straight.
The pedestrian has pink/purple hair shaved on one side, and is wearing a t-shirt that says “Trans Pride” over an image of a heart in trans flag colors.
CURLY: You know what I hate about trans people? The way they shove their ideology down everybody’s throats!