This cartoon is drawn by Nadine Scholtes.
People online who hate nonbinary people are strikingly bitter about it, and for no reason I can understand. “What’s wrong with these people?” they growl, and go on and on about how “narcissistic” they think nonbinaries are. Ask them for an example of how nonbinaries being more open these days has caused actual harm and they flounder.
Although I made up the name “Big Doug,” the tweets in this cartoon are taken almost word-for-word from real tweets – including pretentious sign-off line “that is all,” which is so cringeworthy I just had to use it here.
The non-binary folks I’ve met – many of whom are really young – are on the whole a cheerful and relaxed bunch, and their willingness to play around with their gender presentations is not only fun, it’s exactly the way I was hoping gender would go if you’d asked me thirty years ago. Gender presentation as a plaything, and a way of expressing creativity, is infinitely better than gender presentation as obligation or jail cell.
I’m very happy with the art in this strip – and especially with the contrast between the desaturated colors of the first three panels (meant to reflect the emptiness of bitterly sneering at other people for their gender presentations) versus the much happier and more vivid colors in panel four. (And that cat-bag in panel four is so great!)
TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON
This cartoon has four panels. The first three panels show a man sitting on a sofa in front of his coffee table, and with a laptop on his, er, lap. Let’s call him “Big Doug.” He has his blonde hair combed back neatly, and is wearing a dark button-down shirt over blue jeans. A carton of take-out Chinese food, a soda, and a TV remote sit on the coffee table. His home, or what we can see of it, is large and nice, but also severely underdecorated (there are no pictures on the walls) and the lighting is desaturated and dull.
In each of the first three panels, the top of the panel is taken up by an image of the tweet Big Doug has just posted. (We can see on the tweets that “Big Doug” is the name he uses for his Twitter account.)
Big Doug leans forward with an eager expression as he types on his laptop. Big Doug has just posted a tweet which says…
TWEET: There is no such thing as “non-binary.” It is a recent invention by people who want to identify as “Look at me.” That is all.
BIG DOUG: Hah! That’ll really piss the little freaks off!
Big Doug leans back with his arms folded and an expression of someone who is happy with the job he’s done. He winks.
TWEET: Non-binary is the way ‘normies’ get to include themselves in the alphabet soup. That is all.
BIG DOUG: Maybe I “triggered” them and they’re too sad to reply. Ha! I bet the non-binaries are crying!
A long shot shows Big Doug dwarfed by his high-ceilinged den. He looks puzzled.
TWEET: ‘Non-binary people must be respected.’ No, they do not. Reality must be respected, not delusions. That is all.
BIG DOUG (thought): Still nothing? Where are the non-binaries?
We are outdoors; the sky is a bright blue with some small fluffy white clouds, and green trees frame the panel. Two young people are seated on a park bench, and a third, with pink hair peeking out from under a brown cap, leans over from behind the bench to show them something on their smartphone. All of them are dressed in bright colors (tending towards pastels in the case of one of them), and seem engaged and cheerful.
PINK HAIR: There’s a new k-pop dance. Wanna learn it?
PURPLE JACKET: Yes!