Cartoon: Some Things Straight People Can Stop Saying

This cartoon is by Becky Hawkins and I.

Quite a while ago, I did a cartoon like this about Cis people, and someone on Facebook (someone I knew at Oberlin in the late 80s, who is himself gay) commented “PLEASE do one of these but for straight people.” It went into the idea folder and sat there quite a while, gradually building up more scripted panels over the years, until there were enough panels I felt confident about to be a whole cartoon.

I offered this to Becky to draw, because I know she likes drawing what she calls the “bunch of jerks genre.” Becky also wrote panel seven (the “don’t want to look good” panel), which is now my favorite of these panels.

(“Wrote it?” says Becky. “I lived it!”)

Panel eight – the “what a waste” panel – went through the most redrawing after Becky had completed pencils. Here’s how Becky initially drew that panel:

As usual, Becky and I discussed the work in progress in chat. Here’s some of our conversation:

BARRY: My only critique is the “what a waste” panel. I feel that people usually say it as though it’s a compliment – “you’re so pretty/handsome, it’s a shame it’s being wasted” – rather than aggressively or angrily, like this guy. And also, his left arm looks WAY bigger than his right.

BECKY: This has nothing to do with any Lasso/transformation alternatives to redrawing on my part 😅

BECKY: I can turn “what a waste” hornier 😆

BARRY: Yes, “hornier'” was the word I should have said.  😛

(After Becky redrew the face a bit.)

BARRY: I feel like the eyebrows are moving the expression away from horny.

BECKY: Eyebrows updated.

(Barry pastes an image of a horny face into the chat.)

BARRY: “So what did you do at work today, son?”  “I google image searched for horny faces.”

BECKY: 😬 I don’t know if it feels better or worse that we needed to go outside our selves to get that face right.

BECKY: 😓 I’m an ACTOR! I can DO horny!

BARRY: LOL I can’t. When I was at summer camp, we were doing a sketch for a camp show, and my character was supposed to do a “oh my God she’s so hot I’m dying” comic reaction.

BARRY:  And I. Could. Not. Do. It.

BARRY: I remember Dave Wain, Craig Wedren and Stuart Blumberg – who all went on to successful show business careers – at rehearsal, demonstrating to me over and over what comically horny looked like, and I kept trying to imitate them and failing, until we finally gave up and rewrote the sketch.

As always, thanks for supporting these cartoons. It means a lot to me – it makes my life possible, it means I can pay awesome collaborators like Becky, and most of all it means that there are people out there who appreciate the work we do. Thank you!

Extra thanks this time to patron Aiko Bethea (who is also thanked in the sidebar). Aiko, if you’d like a digitally signed print of this cartoon (or any other cartoon you choose) mailed to you, let me know!


This cartoon has nine panels, arranged in a three by three grid, with nine different brightly-colored backgrounds making a sort of patchwork effect. Each panel shows a single character talking directly to the reader.

Below the bottom of the cartoon is an additional tiny “kicker” panel.


A smug-looking guy with a beard and curly hair is waving a miniature queer pride flag (specifically, the Intersex-Inclusive Progress Pride Flag, which has a circle on top of a series of triangles on top of colored stripes) as he speaks.

GUY: Look at what a great ally I am! I totally get what you people go through!


A blond guy with wide eyes is pointing back and forth at us (as if moving his pointing finger rapidly between two people), and is grinning past a hand held in front of his mouth.

BLOND: So who’s the man and who’s the woman?


A large man with spikey brown hair and a chin-only beard is waving a hand, his other hand on his hip, as he speaks with a somewhat aggrieved expression.

MAN: When’s straight pride? Huh?


A young woman with her brown hair in a high ponytail, and with a tattoo of a fairy (er, the magical creature) on her upper arm, sticks her tongue out and makes a disgusted expression.

WOMAN: That’s so gay.


This is the center panel, and a bit over half of it is taken up by large, friendly lettering which says: SOME THINGS STRAIGHT PEOPLE CAN STOP SAYING

Below that, an older woman with gray hair and glasses looks a little bit confused.

WOMAN: But you don’t look gay.


A young woman (or a teen) with blonde hair is talking to us with a big grin and pointing rapidly at three different off-panel people.

GIRL: Do you think he’s hot?

GIRL: How about him?

GIRL: How about him?


A woman sporting carefully done hair, cascading down to below her shoulders, a made-up face, and large earrings, looks confused as she speaks to us.

WOMAN: Can you explain to me why lesbians don’t want to look good?


A middle-aged man wearing a polo shirt grins lasciviously at us, one eyebrow raised, as he pulls at the side of his collar in a “wow it’s hot in here” gesture.

MAN: You’re a lesbian? Man, what a waste.


A woman with an annoyed expression is holding two children – a baby in one arm, and a toddler in the other. The baby’s onesie has “Heartbreaker” printed on the front, and the toddler’s t-shirt says “Ladies Man.” 

WOMAN: Why must you people flaunt it?


A man wearing glasses and a green shirt is talking to Barry. He’s pointing up and to the left (towards panel one). Barry is looking really nervous as he replies.

MAN: By making this cartoon, aren’t you like panel one?

BARRY: It’s different because… um…

Some Things Straight People Can Stop Saying | Patreon

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8 Responses to Cartoon: Some Things Straight People Can Stop Saying

  1. 1
    Grace Annam says:

    Among my favorites from my own lived experience was the [friendly and skilled!] professional who asked how my wife and I knew who made the decisions in our family…

    My wife told him that I was in charge of special tactics and she covered siege warfare. Oddly, that seemed to settle the question for him.


  2. 2
    Jacqueline Squid Onassis says:

    Is my guess that the professional was a man correct?

  3. 3
    Grace Annam says:


    Is my guess that the professional was a man correct?



  4. 4
    bcb says:

    In response to the kicker panel, I would think this is different because a gay person asked you to make it and another gay person drew it.

  5. 5
    Duncan says:

    Very nice. Now I’d like to see one about things gay people can stop saying to each other, like “You don’t like Lady Gaga? Honey, are you sure you’re gay?” (The specific diva has changed over the years, of course. It was Judy or Barbra when I first came out.) I’ve heard the one about why lesbians “don’t want to look good” from lesbians too, and in more overtly misogynist terms from other gay men. Maybe I’ll start compiling a script…

  6. 6
    Ampersand says:

    Duncan, the things gay people can stop saying to each other is DEFINITELY one I can’t write! :-p

    BCB, thanks. I agree with you that there’s a difference there, but I wanted to put in the kicker anyhow, partly to lampshade the issue, and partly because I thought it was funny. :-)

  7. 7
    Duncan says:

    Oh, I completely understand that, Barry. I’ll have to bell the cat myself, but then I’ve done it before. 8-P

    And I like the kicker! But you know, it’s perfectly proper for a straight person to tell other straight people what they shouldn’t say. I’ve often told other white people what they shouldn’t say, other men what they shouldn’t say, and so on.

  8. 8
    Ampersand says:

    Oh, I agree. Nearly all of my cartoons are basically about what too many white people, men, cis people, etc., believe. They’re really who most of my cartoons are about.